The Benefits of Virtualization

David Grubb III October 6, 2020

The world’s leading service providers are quickly virtualizing key network components to capitalize on opportunities in 5G and Wi-Fi 6 as well as high-bandwidth, cloud-native, and video-driven applications.

The headend represents one of the largest legacy investments in an HFC network and one of the leading candidates for virtualization. A virtualized headend can yield significant performance gains, cost savings, and service agility.

CLICK TO TWEET: Do you know the benefits of virtualization? David Grubb explains how CommScope’s portfolio offers a range of starting points for virtualization.

Benefits of Virtualization

CommScope’s new Virtual Headend portfolio offers a complete range of solutions to virtualize a network’s management plane, video delivery infrastructure, and CMTS core. By using software functions to replace hardware in these elements of the physical network, this functionality can be relocated to operator private cloud environments, reducing operational expenditures and taking advantage of elastic, 3D scaling and a highly-dense footprint.

Our virtualized software can operate on Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) x86 server platforms. It can also be isolated and operated within a Virtual Machine (VM) environment and within container-based environments. This not only improves cost structures but offers service providers a new level of service agility. For example, features that historically were defined by manual device configurations and even the way boxes were wired (think RF combining network) can now be modified via a simple API call.

Additionally, service providers can leverage both horizontal and vertical processor scaling techniques to expand network capacity with new servers and benefit from performance advances in server platforms.

Finally, the analytics and automation capabilities possible with virtualized networks will facilitate a new era of software-defined networking that improves QoE for subscribers and opens the door to full headend automation in the future.

Road to Virtualization

Virtualization solves many of the scalability challenges facing operators today but navigating the transition from traditional HFC networks remains one of the largest barriers to entry.

CommScope Professional Services provides a unique service in this regard. Our team has end-to-end expertise in the design, implementation, integration, and management of networks of all sizes, all over the world. Beyond offering an incredible range of virtualized solutions, we’re able to customize each deployment to help individual providers navigate their unique path to virtualization.

Our global expertise in HFC networks, including DAA, FTTx, DOCSIS, and IP video allows us to guide our customers in prioritizing which parts of their network to virtualize first. We maximize existing investments with pay-as-you-go planning, and we work with each customer to customize software and interoperate with network components from all vendors. 

From day one, our customers take advantage of our 20 years of field-hardened code and vast installed base, ensuring the highest level of reliability in transitioning to virtualized components. Our platform is made specifically for broadband and video service delivery, and our portfolio offers a range of starting points for virtualization.

Virtualization portfolio


About the Author

David Grubb III

David Grubb III is SVP of Architecture & Strategy at CommScope. In this role, he is responsible for driving the technology strategy and overall solution architecture for CommScope’s Converged Network Solutions business.  The scope of the portfolio includes DOCSIS, PON and Video infrastructure solutions for Cable, Telco, and Programmer markets, as well as a range of security technologies that support the broader CommScope portfolio.  Grubb manages a team of engineers distributed across multiple sites in the U.S. and Mexico.

Grubb previously served as SVP, Video Systems Engineering for CommScope.  Grubb was responsible for the company’s video solution architecture and product development.

Previously, Grubb was CTO, Cloud Solutions for ARRIS where he was responsible for driving the technology strategy and architecture ARRIS’s video delivery and television advertising solutions. 

Grubb originally joined General Instrument in 1982. Over the last 38 years, Grubb has held roles in research, development, product management, strategy and business development as the organization has evolved from General Instrument to Motorola to Google to ARRIS and now to CommScope.

Grubb holds eleven patents and has published numerous papers on fiber optics and HFC network technology.  He has also published and presented at numerous industry conferences and was recognized in 2020 by CableLabs and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as a significant individual contributor to the development of the HFC network architecture. 

He holds a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from Drexel University and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rose Hulman Institute of Technology.