Euromedia May June - Page 14

cover story2105v4_cover story 21/05/2016 10:56 Page 1 With 4K likely to become mainstream and OTTenabled TV Everywhere now a basic part of service provision, how will networks cope? Which players are ahead of the game with FTTH, DOCSIS and advanced DSL? What technologies can be brought to bear to help challenged networks cope? Colin Mann investigates. or cable operators, DOCSIS 3.1 has been heralded as the means to offer high-speed, bandwidthhungry services without the need for extensive and expensive network upgrades, but to what extent can the deployment of new technologies and DOCSIS 3.1 ensure these are minimised? “DOCSIS 3.1 allows operators to extract more out of the existing network,” explains Cornel Ciocirlan, CTO, EMEA, ARRIS. “Whereas DOCSIS 3.0 was not developed beyond 32 single carrier QAM channels, DOCSIS 3.1 breaks that barrier and adds the ability for operators to offer speeds that go beyond 1Gbps and even 2Gbps. The ability to do that with the existing network is going to help reduce investment overall and the amount of network upgrades required.” “However, in order to unlock the full potential of DOCSIS 3.1 operators have to invest in the network to some degree. They are already doing that on an ongoing basis with targeted node splits and capacity improvements as required. DOCSIS 3.1 allows operators to F extract more out of the existing spectrum but also to opening new areas of the spectrum with increased spectral efficiency. So if operators want to remain competitive, the deployment of DOCSIS 3.1 really goes hand in hand with continued investments in the network. Moving to DOCSIS 3.1 isn’t driven by a need to reduce investment – it’s about being able to offer better services for subscribers and staying competitive into the next decade.” TRUE. According to Ian Trow, senior director, emerging technology and strategy at Harmonic, DOCSIS 3.1 includes capabilities that allow cable operators to deploy true Gigabit services. “However, in order to take advantage of the technology, operators must find enough free spectrum in their networks to deploy new DOCSIS 3.1 channels. This is a problem for many operators that also have requirements to deploy an increased amount of TV channels as well as provide more ondemand services, all requiring more spectrum to be allocated.” “To help with this issue, DOCSIS 3.1 allows operators to utilise more spectrum —an additional 200 MHz, taking the network up to 1.2 Ghz. While this enables DOCSIS 3.1 technology to be deployed in the extended spectrum, it does, however, require some element of network rebuild. Other solutions include deploying more aggressive compression schemes, such as HEVC, in 14 EUROMEDIA order to reduce the proportion of spectrum consumed by digital video services, or turning off analogue services. New network architectures can also be supported with DOCSIS 3.1 via remote-PHY technology, where the RF modulation and demodulation components sit much deeper in the network, allowing for better RF performance to support higher data rates. Again, this will r