Cable Tech

The Case for EPON-Over-Coax & CCAP Coexistence

DENVER -- Cable Next-Gen Broadband Strategies -- Cable's access network may be taking different angles on how to address the future demands of residential and business services, but cable engineers insist that those efforts -- Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) and EPON Protocol Over Coax (EPoC) -- will be complementary, not competitive.

EPoC is "definitely complementary" to CCAP, said Jorge Salinger, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s VP of access network architecture, last week. "EPoC gives us an alternative to having to deploy fiber to every premises." His remarks come at the 1:49 mark in the video below.

While CCAP is a super-dense device that combines the functions of the cable modem termination system (CMTS) and edge QAM to help put all of cable's residential services under the IP umbrella, EPoC is a budding IEEE Communications Society standard that aims to bring PON speeds to hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) and primarily target business-class services. (See EPON-Over-Coax Starts Its Standards Journey .)

Comcast has already issued a request for proposal for CCAP equipment as it prepares for some small-scale deployments later this year. (See Comcast Issues CCAP RFP .)

John Chapman, a Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) fellow and CTO of the company's cable access business unit, said during his keynote that Docsis still has plenty of gas in the tank and uses different components, but agrees that EPoC and CCAP should play nice together because they addresses different market opportunities although they will live in different neighborhoods on the cable frequency spectrum. "It's really a usage scenario," he said. (See Does Docsis Have a 5-Gig Future? )

A CCAP device will be capable of taking in Ethernet and outputting Docsis or PON. "EPoC gives us a simplistic view on how to approach the network at the edge," Cox Communications Inc. Senior Director of Network Architecture Jeff Finkelstein said in a panel last week.

Bright House Networks has been deploying EPON for business services since 2006, and is hopeful that EPoC will give that decision some extra legs as the MSO looks to deliver big bandwidth in areas not served by fiber.

"We are already doing EPON, so it makes sense to have options there," said John Dickinson, senior director of network strategy and architecture at Bright House. "EPoC lets you place fiber where you need it, and leave coax in other areas."

Dickinson is also keen on EPoC because its goal is to become a worldwide standard that will help drive equipment prices down as volumes ramp up.

But it's still early days. While CCAP is nearing its first deployment cycle, the same for EPoC likely won't be said for at least a couple of years. [Ed. note: We'll have an update on EPoC's progress at the IEEE soon.]

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies – Making cable faster, broader, deeper, better

If you want to know where the cable tech space is heading, we've got you covered. Join the biggest names in the industry in Denver, CO on March 14 & 15 for the latest edition of Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference.

Back for a record 16th consecutive year, Cable Next-Gen is the premier independent conference covering the broadband technology market. This year's edition will tackle all the top tech topics, including 10G, DOCSIS 4.0, Distributed Access Architecture, next-gen PON, fixed wireless access, network virtualization, the Digital Divide and more

Get your free operator pass here.

Sign In