R-PHY vs R-MACPHY debate is over: Nokia leapfrogs competition with cable industry's first virtualized Distributed Access Architecture | Nokia Skip to main content

R-PHY vs R-MACPHY debate is over: Nokia leapfrogs competition with cable industry's first virtualized Distributed Access Architecture


  • Nokia's vDAA virtualizes the CMTS - vCMTS Anywhere - and enables cable operators to flexibly and cost effectively upgrade their DOCSIS network
  • Nokia's universal cable access node is configurable as either a R-PHY device (RPD) or R-MACPHY device (RMD) at the push of a button

October 9, 2017

Espoo, Finland - Nokia today announced the next generation of its Unified Cable Access solution that will fundamentally change the way cable operators implement a Distributed Access Architecture (DAA). The enhanced, virtualized solution gives cable operators the flexibility to deploy both R-PHY and R-MACPHY devices within the same network and easily switch from one to the other based on their network requirements and strategic direction.

Cable operators are leveraging DAA to increase throughput, reduce costs and accelerate the delivery of new services by moving cable access layer functions that are traditionally placed in the headend and hub sites to the access nodes. To date, cable operators have had to choose between two DAA approaches: R-PHY, which moves only the DOCSIS signal generation (PHY) to the access node; and R-MACPHY, which moves both the PHY and DOCSIS processing (MAC) to the access node.

Having to choose one option or the other greatly limits the flexibility to deploy the best technology for each use case. This has forced many operators to lock in a decision before fully understanding the potential impact on their network. With Nokia's next-generation Unified Cable Access solution, operators are no longer forced to choose between R-PHY and R-MACPHY.  Features of Nokia's new vDAA include:

  • vCMTS Anywhere - Nokia has virtualized a cable modem termination system (CMTS), which includes the DOCSIS MAC, as a virtual network function (VNF). This provides the flexibility to run the vCMTS anywhere in the network: on the node, or on an off-the-shelf server in the outside plant, hub, headend or data center. 

  •  Universal Node - Cable operators can convert a Gainspeed cable access node from R-PHY to R-MACHPHY, or vice versa, on the fly. This capability lets operators choose the best approach to a node for a given use case. It also enables an operator to seamlessly evolve from an R-PHY to R-MACPHY deployment.

  •  Unified Control - The Gainspeed access controller can simultaneously support both R-PHY and R-MACPHY nodes, expanding its current cable and fiber unified control capabilities. This helps operators reduce costs and simplify network design by using the same controller to manage all types of Nokia access nodes deployed across HFC and fiber networks 

  • Interoperability - Nokia is committed to full solution interoperability and will support any R-PHY or R-MACPHY node as part of its solution.

Liliane Offredo-Zreik, principal analyst at ACG, said: "The industry has been consumed with the R-PHY vs R-MACPHY debate. However, operators' networks are far from homogeneous. Operators need the flexibility to deploy the right solution in each market. Nokia's virtualized Distributed Access Architecture offers operators this flexibility by virtualizing the CMTS function, enabling them to place it in the most optimal location - data center, headend, hub, OSP cabinet, or access node. This will enable operators to deploy R-PHY, R-MACPHY, or a combination of both. With the CCAP market projected to exceed $2B in 2021 - largely driven by DAA implementations starting in 2018 - Nokia's innovative solution will help position the company as a key player in this fast-growing market."

Cash Hagen, chief operations officer of WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone, said: "Nokia is revolutionizing the cable industry with an innovative new cable solution that gives operators the flexibility to implement a distributed access architecture without being handcuffed to a specific approach. Virtualizing the DAA not only simplifies the network and drives cost savings, it also allows us to accelerate the delivery of new services that ultimately provide a better customer experience."

Federico Guillén, president of Nokia's Fixed Networks Business Group, said: "Nokia is changing the game in the cable industry with a vDAA solution that gives operators the flexibility to support both Remote-PHY and Remote-MACPHY approaches. While running the vCMTS on the node as part of a Remote-MACPHY deployment will garner the most significant savings in cost, space and power, there is no such thing as one size fits all. Nokia's enhanced cable solution gives operators the flexibility to choose from a full range of options across both fiber and cable to meet their unique network needs."

Nokia's Gainspeed product family offers cable operators a Unified Cable Access solution that provides industry-leading fiber, HFC and cable technology products and innovations. The Nokia Gainspeed portfolio of cable access products includes:

The new enhancements to Nokia's Unified Cable Access solution leverage the company's expertise in virtualization, and are part of its Intelligent Access approach to fixed access, helping make broadband operations faster, better and smarter.

Join Nokia at SCTE 2017, booth 387, to see a demo of the new enhanced solution and discover how we can help you navigate the possibilities of the connected world to enable new experiences in people's lives each day.

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