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DOCSIS 3.1 Networks with MODULO HFC

DEV Systemtechnik Presents a Modular Cable Headend Platform

With the growing use of streaming services and IPTV, as well as the increased bandwidths of media content, the demand for higher transfer speeds is also increasing. In the future, data traffic will go up, in particular through the intensified use of cloud services, the growing importance of Industry 4.0 and new technologies such as Blockchain, IoT, E-Health and Smart Cities. In the battle for the highest transmission rates and network capabilities, the competition between DSL and cable operators is intensifying.

Competitive Advantage for Cable Operators

Cable operators have a competitive advantage: new standards that enable higher data rates within the existing network infrastructure, instead of requiring a re-build or over-build. A total replacement of the existing coaxial cables with fiber optic cables is out of the question for many network operators due to the enormous investment costs. Typically, today’s cable plant can consist of an HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coax) network – a network within both fiber optic and coaxial cables. Cable network operators now face a critical challenge: how to significantly enhance the efficiency and capacity of their existing infrastructure to support growing bandwidth demands.

Upgrade Begins at the Cable Headend

The DOCSIS 3.1 standard and the related use of the frequency range up to 1218 MHz (and in the future up to 1794 MHz) makes it possible to increase the speed of existing networks up to 10 Gbps downstream and 1-2 Gbps upstream without having to replace the existing coaxial cables. In order to make these higher transfer rates available to subscribers, network operators have to upgrade the infrastructure. Upgrades are required at hubs and POPs between CMTS / CCAP and the cable modems before operators can start delivering DOCSIS 3.1 compatible modems to customers.

DOCSIS 3.1

The DOCSIS 3.1 standard was established 2013. In a first step, the frequency spectrum was extended to 1218 MHz for downstream and 204 MHz for upstream. In the future, frequencies up to 1794 MHz will also become usable. DOCSIS 3.1 uses a multi-carrier modulation technique and reduces the effects of radiation, interference and impulse noise. At the same time more and more analogue TV and radio stations are switched off in order to organize the frequency ranges optimally for broadband use.

Modular Headend Platform for TV, QAM and CMTS Signals

Unfortunately most headends are not currently equipped to support these higher DOCSIS 3.1 frequencies. Fortunately, DEV Systemtechnik offers a unique solution allowing operators to exploit more bandwidth from their existing HFC plant. Called MODULO HFC, it handles and distributes high-frequency TV, QAM and CMTS signals up to 1218 MHz and sends them via optical outputs to the fiber node. The upstream channel towards the CMTS is also supported and managed in the same housing.

MODULO HFC Supports Network Operators

MODULO HFC by DEV Systemtechnik in a 5 RU Chassis.
MODULO HFC for Cable Headends

"Cable network operators are faced with the challenge of significantly increasing the efficiency and capacity of their existing HFC networks to meet their customers' growing bandwidth demands," explains Norbert Reiss, Engineering Manager of DEV Systemtechnik. "To support network operators in the transition to the DOCSIS 3.1 Standard we have developed our MODULO HFC product line. This lets us offer universal components with various configuration options that can be easily integrated into an existing infrastructure."

Space-Saving Signal Management for Hubs and POPs

The modular cable headend platform, MODULO HFC, combines a large number of functions in a small space and fully supports the DOCSIS 3.1 standard. All functions - electrical or optical, active or passive - are combined in a space-saving 5 RU chassis. Thanks to the optimized module density of MODULO HFC, the cable network operator saves space in both headends and POPs. Smaller solutions in 1, 2 or 3 RU are possible as well.

Extensive Signal Management

Passive modules which can function as both splitters and combiners provide highly flexible and easy-to-use RF signal management. The A/B Auto Sensing Switch module is designed for redundancy applications. If a main signal falls below a previously defined threshold of signal level, the module switches automatically to a backup signal if this one is above the defined threshold level. This ensures the constant availability of the RF signals as long as at least one of the two redundant signals is available. In addition, there are three different amplifiers for electrical and optical signals in the MODULO HFC portfolio.

MODULO HFC in the network topology. Broadcast and narrowcast signals, upstream and downstream can be flexibly combined, split, amplified, switched and transmitted within MODULO HFC.
MODULO HFC in the network topology

Optimized Investment Costs for Cable Network Operators

All active MODULO HFC components can be centrally managed by a controller using a local screen or remotely via the intuitive DEV Web Interface. Easy integration into existing management and control systems is easily done by using the SNMP protocol. It also allows for broad freedom of design in selecting modules: the system can be used flexibly in cable headends and as an optical transmitter between hub and fiber node. Thanks to the modular structure of the platform, DEV can offer individual solutions for DOCSIS 3.1 compatible cable headends of any size and adapt and scale them even after installation. This approach optimizes the investment costs, so as a cable operator, you can buys exactly the functions you need.