Light Reading

Four Ways Cable Is Saving The Coax

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

While some of the nation's major telcos continue to give less love to DSL and their copper plants, particularly in rural areas of the country, the cable industry continues to plow more R&D cash and engineering power into technologies and techniques that will extend the life of their hybrid fiber/coax networks.

Sure, cable will pull fiber all the way to the home or business in a targeted fashion when the need demands it, but the industry has gone to great lengths to prolong having to take that last, super-expensive step on a broad basis.

That day will come when the capacity demands and upgrade costs align, but, in the meantime, HFC's still got legs and, with apologies to ZZ Top, cable knows how to use them. Here are four ways cable is trying to save the coax (And if we missed one, don't keep it to yourself. Speak up on the message board!).

Docsis 3.1
The next-gen version of Docsis aims to give cable a pipe capable of delivering max downstreams of 10Gbit/s alongside a 1Gbit/s upstream, removing the need to perform massive fiber-to-the-home upgrades. To get within reach of those numbers, Docsis 3.1 will replace 6MHz-wide channels with superwide channels made of smaller subcarriers based on orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) -- a technology that's done wonders for the wireless world. That will be paired with a less bandwidth-intensive Forward Error Correction scheme called low density parity-check (LDPC). Cable will need to carve out some new spectrum to accommodate 3.1 traffic, but modems will be made to work with both 3.0 and 3.1 traffic. Expect CableLabs to publish the first specs in 2013 so the vendors can get cracking on products.

EPON Protocol over Coax (EPoC)
Like Docsis 3.1, EPoC will use OFDM to get fiber-like speeds on the HFC plant. It's destined to become an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) standard, and it will tap into the much broader EPON vendor ecosystem rather than limit itself to the smaller village of Docsis CPE, silicon and headend suppliers. And it's thinking bigger, shooting for 10Gbit/s symmetrically, rather than just in the downstream direction. There's still a debate about whether the Docsis 3.1 and EPoC projects will butt heads, though some already see EPoC as a better fit for high-end business services delivered over the HFC network.

Ethernet Over Coax (EoC)
Several cable operators are already delivering Ethernet services over Docsis to serve businesses. While most started with Ethernet-over-Docsis 2.0 to deliver a cheaper T1 equivalent, others have started using their faster Docsis 3.0 networks so they can accommodate more cloud services and applications. Though those approaches don't offer the speeds of fiber-fed MetroE services that cable's already using to deliver business-class services, the Docsis flavor does give MSOs a way to greatly expand their Ethernet-capable service footprints. And heading into 2013, keep your eye on China, which is poised to be a hotbed for EoC platforms that help operators deliver two-way voice and broadband services to residential customers and take on China's mighty telcos.

Docsis Provisioning of EPON (DPoE)
This one is not a perfect fit for the list, but it is about preserving the Docsis provisioning system as operators ramp up EPON deployments for business services. CableLabs developed the specs almost two years ago, but only now are we starting to see products emerge that bring true automation to the DPoE process. After a slow start, expect DPoE to factor into cable business services strategies more prominently in 2013 and beyond.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:12 AM
re: Four Ways Cable Is Saving The Coax

Charter Business in the LA Long Beach market already is offering 3.0 service with up to 100Mbps of service in most of our footprint, and we just lowered the pricing as well. 

Charter is the best company (2012) to work for in any of the other MSO's in the area.

From The Founder
Light Reading's conference in November will attempt to answer all of the big questions around white box networks. No pressure...
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE in Budapest ITU 2015

10|13|15   |   03:26   |   (0) comments

ZTE Chief Architect David Huo discusses the company's progress on the 5G front.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Close-up on ConfD

10|12|15   |   10.21   |   (0) comments

Tail-f's Renée Robinson-Stromberg tells Steve Saunders about the powerful ConfD management interface.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Women in Comms: Highlights From Dallas

10|12|15   |   2:23   |   (1) comment

The best soundbites, quotes and words of wisdom from leading women from Intel, AT&T, Verizon and Genband at our recent WiC breakfast in Dallas.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
NetNumber Founder on Managing Signaling Control

10|12|15   |   6:36   |   (0) comments

NetNumber Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Doug Ranalli describes the essential complexity of real-world signaling-control and how NetNumber enables carriers to bring signaling-control "under-control". Learn why virtualization alone isn't the answer.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon Gets Proactive on App Performance

10|12|15   |   04:50   |   (0) comments

SDN is turning traditional service models around to allow Verizon to measure and deliver performance at the application layer. As Shawn Hakl, VP of enterprise networking and managed solutions for Verizon, explains, the carrier had to develop new skill sets and change some of its internal operations, but the payoff was happier enterprise customers.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Tail-f, Cisco & What the Future Holds

10|9|15   |   8:17   |   (0) comments

Steve Saunders meets with Tail-f's Director of Technology, Carl Moberg, in Stockholm to discuss becoming part of Cisco, ETSI MANO, virtualization and the need to combine science and business in order to create opportunities for service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Broadband Forum Embraces SDN & NFV

10|9|15   |   02:42   |   (1) comment

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Robin Mersh and Kevin Foster from the Broadband Forum explain how the industry body is adapting to meet the SDN, NFV and cloud needs of the access network sector.
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
Dell Buys EMC for $67B in Biggest Tech Deal Ever
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/12/2015
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cord Cutting? 'Fraid so.
Brett Sappington, 10/7/2015
Cisco Makes 'Martian' Connection
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/9/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Think NFV is just about virtualization? Think again!

Network architects are learning that there's a lot more to the technology than first thought – more complexity, that is; but also, more potential benefits.

On May 29th 1 PM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM, HP Communications Solutions Business at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!