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Sifting Through the RFOG

Alan Breznick

Guess what, folks? The cable industry may have just gained another new acronym, courtesy of the tech gang at Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS).

It's called RFOG (for RF over Glass). Speaking late last week at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) 's Business Services conference in Atlanta, Mike Emmendorfer, senior director of solution architecture and strategy at Arris, suggested the technology as one option for cable operators to deliver bandwidth-rich services to commercial customers. He argued that offering Docsis 3.0 features over RFOG lines rather than conventional cable HFC plant could resolve any lingering concerns about coax capacity.

So exactly what is RFOG? Turns out it's simply fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP), dressed up under a different name. In a technical white paper submitted for the conference, Emmendorfer proposes using fiber overlays and extensions to the customer premise as a good way to offer the up-to-100-Mbit/s symmetrical data speeds that Docsis 3.0 promises.

Emmendorfer also sees RFOG as a way to combine the best of RF and passive optical network (PON) technologies, enabling cable operators to use their existing headend infrastructure while removing all active network plant elements. And he contends that MSOs could use the combo to cut their service group size to just 32 homes per optical segment. "It's all future-proof," he said.

Will the new acronym make the cut? Too soon to tell. But Glenn Russell, director of business services for Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) , seems to like it. Following Emmendorfer to the podium, Russell termed it "one of the better acronyms I've heard this year."

Which leaves one to wonder... What were the real losers like?

— Alan Breznick, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

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12/5/2012 | 4:43:39 PM
re: Sifting Through the RFOG

Actually I think the RFoG name was coined by people inside Time Warner.  RFoG makes a lot of sense.  it gives fiber to the home at a lower cost than HFC and it does it without changing any infrastructure

Steve Richey www.rfog.net

12/5/2012 | 4:43:35 PM
re: Sifting Through the RFOG

Yep, Steve. you're right. it was actually Paul Brooks, a Time Warner Cable senior engineer, who coined the phrase several years ago. He mentions it in his bio. But he now calls it "an unfortunate choice of name." Go figure.



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