The cable industry is growing at a rapid clip across various segments, including broadband internet service providers, telephone network operators, communication equipment manufacturers, etc. In 2015, triple and quadruple-play offers of broadband Internet, telephony, and TV helped drive a solid growth rate of 6.2% in the USA and 7.1% across the European cable industry. Over the past few years, cable television a broadband has emerged as the pivotal source of revenue, accounting for 50% of the €22.9 billion profit while the internet accounted for 31% of the industry’s income in the European market.
Competitive boundaries are shifting as demand for bi-directional high-speed data services, IP video products, teleconferencing, and services such as nPVR/VoD, HDTV, and interactive DTV continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Cable operators face a one-two punch of catering to this overwhelming demand while trying to enhance user experience before new players enter the market. This means they will need to rapidly move towards next-generation cable networks with careful rearrangement of frequency plans, focus on upstream RF spectrum, and adopting new modulation schemes. From the business and services viewpoint, they need to adopt different service platforms or offer diverse technical solutions while gaining the benefits out of existing infrastructure.
The challenges don’t end there. The growing popularity of Over-The-Top (OTT) providers such as Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu, and Amazon further complicates matters. As a cable company, how can you successfully convert these threats into opportunities to create innovative offerings for customers, improve user experience (QoE), and maintain your market position? Let’s look into some fresh ways to do it.
Three Ways to Build Scalable Cable Networks
- Get the best out of Inheritance: The strength of HFC is not only the current performance but the opportunity to continue to leverage existing infrastructure to provide faster speeds without the high costs of a full FTTP build. Start enhancing your network capacity by reconciling existing HFC cable infrastructure with node re-designs to meet specific requirements including fixing current spectrum challenges and network extensions. You should also consider to accommodate retrofitting high-rise buildings (MDUs/HRBs) or upgrading the taps to enhance power requirements by leveraging simple yet efficient migration options to reach consistent network performance levels. The advantage of adopting such simplified methods speed up services to market rapidly, while maintaining low capital investments.
- The Future is now—influence it: Your current strategy for your future should leverage the evolution of cable broadband standards that allow you to enhance your gigabit services further. You should plan to design the network for improved upstream speeds and symmetrical full-duplex DOCSIS 3.1 Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) Services to accommodate IPv6 data products, seamless bi-directional teleconferencing, and interactive multiple video devices in the home that can allow you to expand up to 10 Gbps downstream. Build scalable networks and service platforms by leveraging emerging DOCSIS 3.1 and Remote PHY (R-PHY/RPD) technologies.
- Build cost effective, first-time-right solutions: Your future investment roadmap should accommodate to build the digital fiber architecture that is deep into the network moving from Remote PHY to Remote Tap, even more closely to the end-user reducing the number of network elements for dedicated full-duplex symmetrical spectrum for each user ultimately. Also, plan to build your future cable networks to welcome competing technologies of xPON by capturing DOCSIS over GPON (DPoG). This will allow you to cut down power maintenance and node split re-design challenges while enhancing user experience with high quality of service (QoS). In addition, your strategy should leverage the benefits by contemplating Software Defined Networks (SDN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV) as additional solutions to manage the distribution of 4K/8K UHD content.
Collaborate with Industry Experts to Create Future Ready Cable Networks
You can fulfil all these business needs and even exceed expectations by joining the hands with an experienced partner who can assist you in implementing end-to-end cable network solutions from plan-to-build and build-to-manage. They will not only help you assess your existing network for infrastructure optimisation but also support in maintaining the network proactively with advanced analytics solutions to meet the ever-growing demand and enrich user experience while focusing on what additional services can be delivered. You also get to choose the best-fit skillset, processes, and tools that will help you optimise network elements through their extensive expertise and automation technologies. What is more, an experienced partner can help you drive real-time resolution of network issues while reducing capital and operational investments.
How ready is your company to cater to the burgeoning demand for high-speed data and services? Share your thoughts with us
About the Author
Kiran Solipuram has varied experience of 19 years in consulting, network planning, design, installation, configurations, service fulfilment, and assurance of network infrastructure with various multinational telecom operators. He is highly skilled in Cable Networks – DOCSIS, HFC, CATV, IPTV & CDN, Copper Networks – ADSL, ADSL2/2+, VDSL, VDSL2, FTTN, FTTdp/G.Fast, Fibre Networks – FTTH, FTTP, FTT-MDU, GPON, GE-PON, and Metro Ethernet (MEN). Kiran is a globally recognized consultant in implementing best practices from field to back-end systems for the operators to address specific challenges or adopt turnkey solutions while innovating to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO). Kiran is a regular speaker and thought leadership contributor for various global communications events and magazines, presenting/publishing innovative solutions on end-to-end FTTx and HFC/DOCSIS networks throughout his career. Kiran is certified with DOCSIS Engineering Professional (DEP) from SCTE, USA and Certified Fibre-To-The-Home Professional (CFHP) from FTTH Council, North America.
- Ovum report on HFC delivering Gigabit Broadband
- Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), Australasia
- CISCO presentation in Australasia SCTE meeting group on advanced cable and DOCSIS evolution