Cable MSOs Need a Flexible Network Edge

Next Generation Communications Blog

Cable MSOs Need a Flexible Network Edge

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

It seems these days that no matter how much bandwidth and services multiple systems operators (MSOs) it is not enough. Subscribers want higher quality user experiences not just for their televisions but for the exploding number of other network connected devices they possess which are multiple media bandwidth hungry. 

Even if cable MSOs can meet current demands the pressure to go faster is intense, especially when the competition is only a click and a quick connection away.  This need for speed to the market and in the market is placing increasing strains on cable system architectures and creating a need to accelerate cable network IP transformation.

As Time Warner Cable senior director and chief network architect Michael S. Kelsen has written: “Cable operators are seeing their network capacity requirements double approximately every 24 months to keep up with customer demand and the launch of new services.”

One way to cope with increasing capacity demands is ensuring cable operators have a flexible network edge. A flexible network edge helps maintain growth but reduces costs at the edge of the network by supporting the evolution of residential, commercial and even mobile services.

This simplified, flexible cable hub architecture at the edge can help in a number of ways, including the simplification of multiple routers and protocols that make deployment more complex and rigid. It also can remove dependence on less-capable IP routing platforms such as today’s cable modem termination system that limits the cable operator’s ability to effectively leverage the benefits of IP, scaling and service functionality at the cable edge.

A flexible edge means that cable MSOs will have an IP service routing plane that can be deployed behind multiple technology access networks including current and future DOCSIS, point-to-point Fiber, PON and Carrier Wi-Fi, and deliver a converged service network while also enabling cable operators to transition their access networks for the latest requirements.

“In my opinion the flexible cable edge hub architecture will provide a number of benefits that help solve the challenges cable operators face today,” noted Nicholas Cadwgan in a recent TechZine posting, Cable Operators Get the Edge on Capacity & Cost.

These benefits include a simplified cable hub that also allows for a migration from existing network architecture to a future mode of operation, the introduction of new technologies that can evolve independently, and the delivery of common personalized and differentiated services consistently across multiple access technologies. It also can accelerate service innovation, and it provides a platform for future migration towards new network paradigms such as network personal video recorder, virtual customer premises equipment and cloud applications.

There’s never enough for subscribers. Cable operators will just have to get used to it and make sure they have the cable architecture to support continued growth.

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