A Look Back at ANGA: DOCSIS 3.1 Takes Europe

DOCSIS 3.1 looks set to play a significant role in the development of a Gigabit Europe broadband market and provide fertile ground for vendors that have developed next-generation cable network products.

That's the key takeaway from the recent ANGA COM event in Cologne, Germany, which attracted about 18,000 attendees (up 6% year-on-year) and featured multiple DOCSIS 3.1 developments from key suppliers and network operators.

"ANGA COM felt like cable shows in the US used to," stated Alan Breznick, Light Reading's cable/video practice leader. "The show floor was crowded for hours, booths were jammed, deals were getting done, there was a buzz in the air and folks seemed excited to be there."

Having spent a few days at ANGA, he noted that, unlike many cable shows in the US, which are either dwindling in size or just holding steady, ANGA is growing at a healthy clip and attracted attendees from 89 countries. "It's more than just a German cable show now," noted the industry analyst.

At the heart of the buzz was DOCSIS 3.1, which dominated the show floor and news announcements from the show:

  • Altice announced a field trial of a DOCSIS 3.1 service in France using the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) cBR-8 CCAP device, which has already been widely deployed by Altice in France and which the operator is now planning to deploy in the US. Altice boasted that it achieved a record trial speed of more than 3 Gbit/s per subscriber using Cisco's gear. See this press release for more details.

  • Having completed successful Gigabit trials, Belgian cable operator VOO is also putting its faith in Cisco's cBR-8 CCAP platform. It is deploying DOCSIS 3.1-ready technology to deliver faster broadband services to its residential and business customers. See this press release for further details.

  • Finland's leading cable operator DNA Oy has commissioned partners Casa Systems Inc. and Teleste Corp. for its DOCSIS 3.1 deployment, which will result in an initial 300,000 subscribers being offered Gigabit services in the Helsinki area. (See Finnish Cableco DNA Takes Casa's CCAP and this Teleste press release.)

  • Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) announced a deal with German cable operator NetCologne to deploy the vendor's Touchstone TG2492 Gateway to deliver gigabit speeds and wireless broadband coverage to subscribers.

  • At its DOCSIS 3.1 Forum on the first day of the show, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. staged a special D3.1 launch event with its first European CCAP customer, TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC) of Denmark. Although the rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 has already started in Denmark, senior Huawei, TDC and Cable Europe Labs executives pulled a virtual lever to launch the service, setting off fireworks on the screen behind them. (See TDC Targets Enterprise Market With Its Gigabit Upgrade.)

  • Two of the leading cable test equipment vendors also contributed to the D3.1 action. VeEX Inc. showed off a network sweep system that's been upgraded to support DOCSIS 3.1 and added extra capabilities to its CX300 Analyzers, while Viavi Solutions Inc. unveiled a range of new capabilities, including support for the new cable broadband spec. (See VeEX Enhances Sweep System for D3.1 Deployments, VeEX Adds D3.1 Test Capabilities to CX300 CaTV Analyzers and Viavi D3.1 Testing Tool Expands Reach to 1.2GHz.)

  • Related to DOCSIS 3.1, the major vendors displayed their latest Distributed Access Architecture gear as well. Arris, Casa and Cisco showed off their new Remote PHY modules, while Huawei displayed its Distributed CCAP system (Remote MAC + PHY).

  • In addition, Huawei announced it has launched the industry's first HFC access network solution capable of delivering speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s. The solution supports DOCSIS 3.1 for cable using a distributed CCAP platform, and 10G PON for fiber. Huawei demonstrated its solution and other equipment at a massive booth that dominated one of the convention’s two main halls. (See Huawei Launches Industry’s First 10Gbit/s HFC Access Platform.)

    Want to know more about DOCSIS? Check out our dedicated DOCSIS content channel here on Light Reading.

    "The rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 appears to be just as high a priority in Europe as in North America," noted Breznick. "Even without Google Fiber driving them on here, cable operators are pushing ahead with Gigabit speeds because of fiber buildouts by the incumbent telcos and the desire to seize greater market share."

    Cyrille Morelle, CEO of test vendor VeEX, has certainly noticed a marked uptick in D3.1 activity, noting that every operator he talks to is looking for some sort of DOCSIS 3.1 capability. He adds that the new technology is not just about speed but about "technology that works better and can reduce opex. If an operator deploys DOCSIS 3.1 on existing plant, and they can do this, then the benefits can be seen immediately," he notes.

    The VeEX chief also notes that there's more to the Gigabit revolution than DOCSIS 3.1, though, citing the deployment of a 10G EPON (Ethernet Passive Optical Network) system by Estonian cable operator Starman, which is sourcing technology from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) for the alternative access network deployment.

    — Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

  • PaulERainford 6/22/2016 | 7:05:46 AM
    Puntastic The headline on this takes me back to the (possibly apocryphal) reference to a headline on a story about the closure of a library due to industrial action in the Essex town of Ongar: yes, 'Book Lack in Ongar'. For younger readers, libraries are state-funded places where you used to be able to go and borrow books in the UK for free. 
    [email protected] 6/21/2016 | 7:11:42 AM
    The Gigabit landscape - FTTX + D3.1 There's little doubt that DOCSIS 3.1 will play a role in the introduction of Gigabit services wherever cable operators are playing a role in the fixed broadband market.

    What will be interetsing to see is how long DOCSIS 3.1 is deployed before cable operators migrate to Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) -- the driver for that will likely be the applications/services that become popular once Gigabit speeds are broadly available. ANy application that demands symmetrical Gigabit+ bandwidth might drive cable operators more quickly towards fiber... unless there is some development with D 3.1 that will enable more symmetrical bandwidth provisioning? 
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