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Going Fiber Deep: Don’t Ignore Your Metro Core

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Hybrid Fiber Coax, known as “HFC”, is the well-established cable access network architecture.  As the name suggests, HFC consists of two separate media connecting a cable head-end to the subscriber.  While the coax portion that connects to the subscriber gets most of the attention, the heavy lifting is actually done by the fiber portion of the network that provides the massive capacity necessary to deliver the content from and between cable head ends, data centers, Internet PoPs and video server farms.

Today, cable MSOs are migrating to a “fiber deep” approach that pushes fiber all the way to the local access node.  They’re doing this to support the next-generation distributed access architecture (DAA) in which the PHY function is distributed from its traditional location in the head-end out to the local access point, a process known as Remote PHY, or RPHY.  With RPHY comes the ability to increase the capacity in the access network and, since 2016, MSOs both large and small have been doing this using new technologies such as DOCSIS 3.1 and full duplex DOCSIS (FDX).  These technologies enable higher data rates and, in the case of FDX, symmetric downstream and upstream connectivity speeds up to 10Gbps.

With these technologies, MSOs can continue to leverage the installed coax network making it more economical to compete with the high-speed services offered by fiber-based providers.  However, these kinds of connections in the access (i.e., coax) network put enormous pressure on the metro core because at these higher capacities, it means that each subscriber is capable of consuming an entire wavelength, a situation that quickly exhausts capacity. 

Considering that most metro core networks were built using 10G technology, MSOs need to migrate to a scalable, high-capacity infrastructure capable of providing the connectivity from the head-end to the content hubs located deeper in the core of the network.  In a recent survey published jointly by Light Reading and the SCTE, more than one-third of MSOs saw the need for 100G transport in their network over the next five years while 18% believe they will need 200G and nearly 30% believe they will need 400G!  Unfortunately for MSOs, time and experience have shown that forecasting bandwidth is a highly inexact science and many of them will likely end up needing more capacity than they anticipate so they need a way to mitigate the risk of making the wrong choice when selecting their optical transport solution.

Fortunately for the MSOs, the optical transport equipment industry has once again responded to the needs of the market.  Today, the next generation of flexible transport systems are capable of tuning their performance depending on service demand -.  Based on third-generation digital signal processors (DSP), these platforms not only allow the network operator to decide what level of bandwidth to provision, but also to adjust that level to a higher (or lower) data rate as demand grows (or shrinks).  With this level of functionality, these next-gen systems now provide the risk mitigation MSOs need so that if the 100G network the MSO was forecasting now needs to be a 200G or even a 400G network, they can simply make the adjustment in software, there’s no need to replace cards or overbuild a whole new network. 

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EKINOPS helps to bring optical transport a step closer to SDN

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Guillaume Crenn, EKINOPS Product line & Marketing Director, recounts a recent technical breakthrough enabling legacy optical equipment to function in tomorrow’s virtualized networks.

Interoperability remains one of the biggest challenges facing operators seeking to software define their networks. Powerful new frameworks, like OpenDaylight (ODL), are needed to disaggregate and rearchitect the network and enable the level of automation and programmability that will, eventually, deliver virtualization’s ‘new age’ of flexibility.

Designed by the Open Daylight Project - a global, collaborative community of vendor and user organizations, of which EKINOPS is a part - ODL is a modular, open framework designed to enable commercial solutions to address a variety of virtualized network use cases, such as automated service delivery, Cloud and NFV, resource optimization and network visibility and control.

A critical hurdle to overcome on the road to enabling such uses cases is how to establish the level of interoperability between the network’s newly separated components and functions in such a way that they can be managed and orchestrated. This is a complex task that requires utilizing controllers for both northbound and southbound communication throughout the virtualized network.

In the world of optical transport, enabling this controller-based communication in ODL is the job of OpenDaylight TransportPCE, a collaborative project led by Orange, EKINOPS and Orange Labs whose work describes an open-source application running on top of the OpenDaylight controller. Its primary function is to control an optical transport infrastructure using a non-proprietary South Bound Interface (SBI).

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Latest News

  • EKINOPS Celebrates MEF Technology Solutions Award Win

    EKINOPS (Euronext Paris - FR0011466069 – EKI),a leading provider of open, future-proof and flexible network solutions to service providers, has been recognised with a Technology Solutions Award at the 2019 MEF Awards, which took place during the leading industry conference, MEF19 in Los Angeles.

     
  • EKINOPS and IEC Telecom Group deliver next-generation maritime satellite communication solution

    EKINOPS (Euronext Paris - FR0011466069 – EKI), a leading supplier of optical transport equipment and router solutions for network operators, has launched with IEC Telecom Group, one of the leading global providers of managed network communication solutions, OneGate, an agile solution that protects the critical communications functions of maritime vessels.

     
  • EKINOPS to showcase joint SD-WAN Proof of Concept at MEF 2019 together with TELUS and Inmanta

    EKINOPS (Euronext Paris - FR0011466069 – EKI),a leading provider of open, future-proof and  fully flexible network solutions to service providers, has been selected by MEF to participate in the sixth annual MEF 3.0 PoC Showcase at leading industry conference, MEF19, which is taking place from 18 to 22 November 2019 in Los Angeles.

     

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