NFV Strategies

CableLabs Sets Up NFV Interop Lab

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- NFV World Congress -- CableLabs CEO Phil McKinney announced the organization will open an SDN/NFV interoperability laboratory open to all network operators and equipment vendors, not just cable companies and their suppliers.

He also announced that CableLabs will host an OPNFV Plugfest, May 9-13. This might be the first mention from CableLabs, but the OPNFV organization previously spoke about this event, which already has nearly full participation from vendors.

The cable industry isn't particularly well-known for participating in the SDN/NFV trend, but many companies are openly pursuing the technologies, including (but hardly limited to) Comcast, Charter Communications and Bright House Networks.

"CableLabs and the cable industry are very focused on SDN/NFV. It's part of our core strategies for driving agility, speed and responsiveness for introducing new applications," CableLabs CEO Phil McKinney said. "I can tell you right now, with every conversation I have with the CTOs of the cable vendors, this is not a question of if, it's a question of when."

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CableLabs' new interoperability lab will be an independent for-profit operation, and will be run as part of the organization's for-profit subsidiary, Kyrio. McKinney said the lab already has several members who have signed up, though he did not identify them.

It will be run on a sandbox model, where any single company or group of companies can come in and test their products. Results from testing will remain private.

McKinney noted that CableLabs has been running interops for cable equipment for decades, and that the lab can stand in for nearly any network type.

The new lab is in the process of being stood up, and will open shortly, according to Wylie Nelson, who CableLabs recently hired to run it.

Cable has been a particularly insular industry, going its own way on technology with its hybrid-fiber coaxial (HFC) network architecture and DOCSIS protocol (which were good choices at the time), but the establishment of Kyrio, and the interoperability lab, and hosting the OPNFV Plugfest are indicative of an industry looking to open up a little.

McKinney and Nelson were both adamant that the NFV interoperability lab be available to any and all. It's part of the rationale for establishing Kyrio and running the interoperability lab as part of Kyrio.

"No industry can do it alone. We need to do it collaboratively," McKinney said in his keynote, later adding, "We are not getting stuck on [the issue of] 'which industry do you serve?'"

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

This article has been edited. It originally stated that the interoperability lab would be a non-profit; that is incorrect. The interop lab is a for-profit endeavor.

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