The market has essentially dictated fiber as the de facto networking cable choice and it is becoming a backbone for global networks as operators race to increase throughput and efficiencies. So called “greenfield” cable installations, where coaxial cable isn’t already installed, are being built through pure fiber deployments while some operators are deploying fiber all the way to the home to meet consumer demands.
Now it’s time for cable operators with “brownfield” networks, comprised of a mix of coaxial and fiber cables, to upgrade to digital fiber to increase throughput and capacity, handle traffic more efficiently and reduce the size of service groups. According to optical networking specialists Ciena, pushing fiber to the customer offers a host of advantages, from meeting customer demands for faster bandwidth to increasing overall operational efficiencies.
Beyond that, many cable multiple systems operators (MSOs) need to look at the fiber infrastructure between their headend and their optical node. This part of the network is typically the most constrained, and also the most expensive to upgrade. However, aging analog infrastructure simply cannot keep up with the traffic demands of the cloud, high-speed data and IP video services, and a pure digital connection is required to enable adequate capacity and throughput.
Making the move to digital optics offers a variety of advantages, including a migration path for Fiber-to-the-Node (FTTN) technologies. Operators also need not dismantle their converged cable access platform (CCAP) networks to upgrade to digital optics as they can leverage existing coaxial cable and Ethernet to reduce costs. By pushing IP and Ethernet to the fiber network, residential and business customer traffic may share the same node thanks to multiplexing technology at the wavelength, Ethernet, MPLS or IP layers.
Upgrading the infrastructure between the headend and optical node to digital optics also simplifies the headend or hub, since RF-centric functions are no longer required. The upgrade process also extends IP and Ethernet from the core to the node for a pure digital transformation. The result is better and more efficient capabilities in handling overall data load sizes, as well as in increase in pipe throughput and available network capacity. The number of users sharing the pipe, the serving group size, is also reduced through upgrades.
Cable MSOs are scrambling to remain competitive and offer the fastest and highest qualities of service in an increasingly crowded marketplace. By upgrading their brownfield networks to greenfield/digital fiber from the core to the node, as well as to the customer, they can offer increased efficiencies and an overall higher standard of service.
Edited by Alicia Young