The Evolution of Cable MSOs Must Continue

Next Generation Communications Blog

The Evolution of Cable MSOs Must Continue

By: Mae Kowallke, TMCnet Contributor

Triple play was a good start. But Cable multiple-system operators (MSOs) must continue their evolution.

Cable MSOs have been leading the residential entertainment and communication services segment for years. The expansion of their service offerings from broadcast video to video-on-demand, high-speed Internet and voice has enabled MSOs to expand their market share in the face of changing technology and viewing preferences. But to stay competitive, cable MSOs cannot rest on their laurels.

The explosion of connected devices, competition building Gigabit networks over fiber, the expansion of over-the-top applications such as Skype and the evolution of higher quality video such as 4K resolution are demanding that cable MSOs continue to beef up their access networks.

The access technology of choice for most cable MSOs is some form of passive optical network (PON) technology. There are four leading PON variants.

First, there is Ethernet PON (EPON). This delivers 1 Gbps symmetrical bandwidth, which is good for speeds of multiple 100 Mbps. Being symetrical, this technology is best suited for commercial services.

Second, there is 10G EPON. It provides 10 Gbps symmetrical bandwidth to cover the needs of multiple 1 Gbps.

The third option is GPON. GPON delivers bandwidth of 2.5 Gbps downstream and 1.25 Gbps upstream, and is the most widely deployed PON technology in fiber networks worldwide, according to a recent blog TechZine post by Els Baert , Fixed Networks Product Manager, Alcatel-Lucent, Cable MSOs—Full speed ahead with PON

Then there is TWDM PON, the newest evolution of PON technologies. TWDM PON stacks multiple wavelengths on the same fiber, and each wavelength provides a variety of upstream and downstream bandwidths: 2.5G/1.25G, 10G/1G and 10G/10G.

“Considering these options, our recommendation is a combination of 10G EPON and DPoE [CableLabs’ DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON],” noted Baert. She added that: “Together they allow cable MSOs to extend their reach into the mid-market and large enterprise segments while preparing for the Gigabit needs of residential customers.”

Whatever PON technology cable MSOs choose, however, they can scarcely afford to stop evolving and growing their IP networks.

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