Looking for a little light reading this holiday season? Here’s an excerpt from our recently published paper on CCAP and the cable industry’s migration to IP. If it piques your interest, you can find the complete paper on our Gate M site.
Excerpt from the introduction to “Bridging the Gap to CCAP and Beyond”
The popularity of new cable TV and Internet services – particularly Internet video – has changed the requirements for cable infrastructure and the cable network as we once knew it. Today, a single DOCSIS channel isn’t enough to support data demand, and legacy analog video channels are rapidly losing ground to narrowcast video QAMs. Bandwidth is at a premium, and the fine balance between subscriber demand and capacity constraints is growing more difficult to sustain.
Parallel pressure from data and video is driving an entirely new vision for the next generation of cable infrastructure. Issues of overall bandwidth availability are being managed near term with strategies like switched digital video and analog-to-digital conversion. However, there are also new challenges springing up thanks to limited rack space in the headend, and increasing expenses driven by power and cooling needs. Given finite resources, cable providers are struggling to add on DOCSIS and QAM channels without straining budgets or available pace. It’s not a matter of just building on top of old equipment, but of finding innovative new ways to increase channel density and reduce costs.
Beyond driving greater density through the network, the industry as a whole is also exploring the potential of a future Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP). The goal of CCAP is to bring data and video delivery together in one integrated system. This should result in greater resource efficiency and create a useful transition to all-IP delivery. The only problem is that cable providers have to manage the day-to-day growth of existing systems while planning for the possibility of a CCAP migration. For both data and video delivery, there are conflicting imperatives between the demand for immediate upgrades, and the demand for convergence. To be successful, the cable industry needs new strategies for extending the life and value of today’s systems, while preparing for the converged platform of the future.