Huawei Plugs Distributed CCAP
Staking its claim in the rapidly evolving market for Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) and related next-gen gear, Huawei is promoting a remote CCAP product that moves many of the traditional data and video processing functions from the cable headend to the access network.
In particular, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is playing up its capabilities to shift the traditional functions of the cable modem termination system (CMTS) from the headend to the fiber access network. Its new product, known as Distributed CCAP (D-CCAP), builds on the Distributed CMTS (D-CMTS) approach that the big Chinese equipment vendor has already been pursuing with cable operators and telcos in the Asia-Pacific market and elsewhere.
Huawei, which showcased its D-CCAP solution to European cable operators at the ANGA COM show in Cologne, Germany last month, is not yet offering many details on how the product works. But the company claims that its solution can save headend space and slash energy consumption and costs by removing the CMTS device from the headend. Specifically, it estimates that cable operators can cut the amount of headend room needed by 70% and the amount of power needed by 50%, thereby cutting their capital expenditures by 30%, compared to a traditional CMTS architecture.
Further, Huawei contends that cable operators can cut costs even more by deploying GPON over the fiber portion of their hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) plant. With the use of GPON, the company notes, four fiber nodes can share the same trunk fiber, cutting the amount of trunk fiber required by up to 80%. In addition, it says operators can use this "digital fiber" approach to enhance the carrier-to-noise ratio (CNR) of their network and increase QAM modulation, producing greater efficiencies.
Huawei's D-CCAP solution also calls for cable operators to switch out their analog fiber nodes for digital fiber nodes. With digital fiber nodes in place, the company says, operators can simplify their plant engineering and maintenance, as well as remotely monitor and manage the devices in the node.
Finally, Huawei says its D-CCAP architecture, which supports the cable industry's current DOCSIS 3.0 broadband spec, can "smoothly evolve" to support the industry's next-gen DOCSIS 3.1 spec and the much higher data speeds that the spec will enable. Equipment vendors are now designing and building cable modems, wireless gateways, CMTS and CCAP devices, set-top boxes, and other gear that complies with that spec, which CableLabs finished crafting late last year.
The push by Huawei comes at a same time when other major equipment vendors are making noises about Distributed CCAP, also known as Remote or Virtualized CCAP, and Distributed Access Architectures (DAA). In one recent move, for example, Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) unveiled its new NGG Exo product at ANGA COM last month. Like Huawei's new product, the NSG Exo shifts the traditional functions of the CMTS device out of the cable headend and into the fiber access network. (See Harmonic Pushes CCAP Into the Network and Distributed CCAP Debuts in Europe.)
Such other major cable equipment manufacturers as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Pace Micro Technology , Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) are also staking claims to this space by moving at least some traditional CMTS functions out of the headend and deep into the access network, as are such relatively new startups as Gainspeed and Casa Systems Inc. .
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading