“The Times They Are A Changin”
The days of appointment-based broadcast television are rapidly fading. The way we interact with entertainment and communications services today is nothing like it was 10 years ago. We are in control. We watch what we want, where we want it, when we want it, and choose a variety of devices – computers, tablets, smart phones, even smart TVs – to do so.
This poses new challenges for cable operators. Their networks are being overwhelmed by a flood of IP video traffic, cloud computing, and high-bandwidth business services – and cable operators are increasingly challenged to deliver the capacity required. Traditional Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) networks cannot easily cope with the increasing demands and it looks like cable networks may have reached their tipping point. Hence, new network infrastructure and architectures are going to be required. Following several recent investments, Nokia is poised to help cable operators successfully – and cost effectively - navigate the transition to this new world.
String of game-changing announcements mark new era
In what is clearly a game-changing move, Nokia last week announced its intention to acquire Gainspeed, a Silicon-Valley based startup, which is considered a true pioneer in redefining how cable networks are built. Gainspeed specializes in what is called Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) technologies. This brings numerous benefits to cable operators, such as potential savings in space and power, providing a more efficient network and improved operating costs. It is generally accepted as the preferred next-generation architecture to address capacity demands in traditional Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS)/HFC cable networks. Gainspeed’s solution, called Virtual CCAP (Virtual Converged Cable Access Platform), is purpose-built to address this huge capacity need resulting from the radical increase in IP video and other bandwidth-hungry services.
The planned Gainspeed acquisition perfectly complements another next generation technology advancement recently announced by Nokia Bell Labs, XG-CABLE.
In what was a world’s first, Nokia Bell Labs validated the viability of having a symmetrical service over traditional HFC cable networks, delivering 10 Gbps download and upload speeds, using the same spectrum for the upstream and downstream traffic. While XG-CABLE is still at the proof-of-concept stage, it clearly shows that multi-Gigabit symmetrical speeds over HFC are achievable.
In addition to these two innovations announced, Nokia’s 10G EPON fiber solution also seems to be an increasingly interesting option for cable operators. Starman, the largest cable operator in the Baltics, will be rolling out a 10-gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) with Nokia following lab and field trials later this year. For them, the business case was clear: the combination of 10-gigabit Ethernet PON (EPON) and DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON ensures that the fiber network seamlessly integrates into their existing cable network and DOCSIS back-end systems.
Will this be the start of a 10G EPON wave in Europe?
“The Times They Are A Changin” indeed, and Nokia is stepping up to the challenge, determined to be at the forefront of creating and licensing the technologies that are increasingly at the heart of our connected lives.
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