Unified cable access

Solving the capacity challenge with unified cable access

Nokia wins Leading Lights Award for Most Innovative Cable/Video Product

This award recognizes the company that has developed a potentially market-leading product, application or strategy that has enabled the launch, deployment or creation of innovative, profitable cable, video, TV or multimedia services during the past year. Nokia has won the award for its virtualized Distributed Access Architecture (vDAA), which has been winning business and attracting attention for its broad range of next-generation and practical capabilities.

Read the full article on the 2018 Leading Lights Winners here >

Unlock capacity and cost savings in your cable access networks!

Built on the Nokia Gainspeed portfolio of products, Nokia’s solution for Unified Cable Access creates a Distributed Access Architecture (DAA), but it goes further by applying the principles of network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) to the cable headend. The result is a virtualized DAA (vDAA) that eliminates cable-specific equipment in the headend provides unmatched flexibility for your network architecture. The virtualized CMTS enables you to deploy a Nokia Gainspeed access node as either a remote-PHY or remote-MACPHY device to best meet your business needs.

Nokia’s virtualized DAA dramatically reduces the amount of equipment required in the headend, enabling you to cost-effectively install more capacity and extend IP/Ethernet closer to customers to improve service quality.

Comparing Nokia's unified cable access solution and a traditional CCAP solution, based on a typical head-end supporting 800 service groups:

  • 8-fold reduction in power consumption.
  • 7-fold reduction in rack space.
  • 0 transmission distance limitations.

Furthermore, the architecture provides unified access, delivering any service across any access media – fiber or coaxial cable – in a single solution with central, transparent control of everything. The result is a simplified, unified and future-proof cable access network.

The cable capacity challenge

Cable networks - like their telco network counterparts - are facing a major challenge in the form of exploding data traffic. Cable operators are being forced to invest heavily just to maintain performance levels. The hybrid fiber-coaxial network has substantial latent capacity. However, legacy video and analog/RF transmission in the access network severely limits capacity and network flexibility. Additionally, the cable-specific equipment in the head-end is expensive, occupies a lot of space and consumes a lot of power.

Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) was designed to alleviate some of these problems by integrating the physical EQAM and CMTS functions into a single device. However, that was before demand for over-the-top (OTT) and IP video exploded and legacy video stagnated. Cable operators have sufficient edge quadrature amplitude modulation (EQAM) infrastructure and don’t typically want to rip and replace it with CCAP, thus rendering CCAP a big CMTS and negating one of its main benefits. Perhaps most importantly, CCAP is only a stop-gap: the analog/RF constraints remain, and you leave power-hungry, cable-specific big iron devices in the headend. As you split your networks into smaller service groups, you are likely to face space limitations in your headends once again.

You need a solution that improves network capacity and performance while relieving the headend space and power burden; increases agility and simplifies operations while enabling new services; gives you the flexibility to adjust your architecture to your business and network needs; and leverages and unifies existing cable access networks while facilitating an elegant evolution to an all-fiber, all-IP future.

Nokia Unified Cable Access

The Nokia Unified Cable Access solution delivers all of these benefits to you. Built on the Nokia Gainspeed portfolio of products, Nokia’s Unified Cable Access solution creates a distributed access architecture, but goes further by applying the principles of network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) to the cable headend. The result is a virtualized DAA that distributes headend functionality to other parts of the network while preserving all legacy EQAM video assets and the existing coax connection to subscribers.

  • Analog (RF) transcoding, transmission and aggregation (DOCSIS PHY) are distributed to the Access Node.
  • DOCSIS processing (DOCSIS MAC) is virtualized and can be distributed to the Access Node in the neighborhood or run on a server anywhere else in the network.
  • IP/MPLS transport and subscriber management are distributed to the packet engine.
  • Legacy video infrastructure is left in place and adapted to IP by the Video Engine.

Nokia’s next-generation Unified Cable Access solution eliminates the constraint for you to choose between R-PHY and R-MACPHY approaches. Nokia’s virtual cable modem termination system (vCMTS), which includes the DOCSIS MAC, runs as an independent process anywhere in the network: on the node, or on an off-the-shelf server in the outside plant, hub, headend or data center. You can even convert a Gainspeed cable access node from R-PHY to R-MACPHY, or vice versa, with a simple software configuration.

A central Access Controller in the data center manages the whole system and ensures that the new architecture is easily deployable in your existing network environment. Within the network, the controller looks like a CCAP in the headend/hub, but seamlessly integrates with into the existing OSS/BSS. In this way, IP/Ethernet is extended all the way to the optical node, and the headend is digitized, shortening the analog/RF transmission length to only the “last mile” between the Access Node and the customer premises (in reality, often the last few hundred meters).

Related products


Related products

Gainspeed Access Controller

​​​The Access Controller, which uses SDN concepts, virtualizes the solution and manages all the components. The controller runs on a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) x86 system and interfaces into existing OSS/BSS without any modifications.

Gainspeed Video Engine

The Video Engine sits with the legacy video infrastructure, converts the legacy video to Ethernet and provides digital combining and distribution. The Video Engine supports both analog and digital video, as well as set top box out of band (STB OOB) signal

Gainspeed Access Node SC-2D

The Access Node SC-2D provides the last mile connection from the fiber trunk to coax. The SC-2D provides RF transcoding and support for full-spectrum DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1.

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