Part 1: You Say You Want an Evolution?

Operating 1.8 GHz CommScope® ESD amplifiers in a 1.2 GHz network

DOCSIS® 4.0 Extended Spectrum DOCSIS (ESD) provides an efficient and cost-effective path for cable operators to deliver 10G services. Operators upgrading their plants to take full advantage of the extended upstream and downstream bandwidths provided by ESD may wish to implement these changes incrementally over time to better manage the costs involved in upgrading their networks for ESD operation.

For those operators, CommScope has designed our DOCSIS 4.0 STARLINE® ESD BLE® 180 Line Extender and MB180 MiniBridger® 1.8 GHz amplifiers to support this incremental approach while simultaneously minimizing the impact on existing services. Cable operators can install a STARLINE ESD amplifier in their current mid- or high-split 1.2 GHz network and configure the amplifier to support the gain and tilt required for 1.2 GHz operation.

For cable operators who do not anticipate operating above 1.2 GHz immediately, CommScope has designed a simple, 1.2 GHz Enhancer plug-in that enables the increased gain required to upgrade high-loss spans that would otherwise require the installation of a booster amplifier, implementation of cable and passive upgrades, and relocation of amplifiers within the network. This eliminates the costs and service interruptions associated with such upgrades and improvements.

When needed, the 1.2 GHz Enhancer plug-in is installed in the Universal plug-in slot located in the amplifier’s RF module. It enables the STARLINE ESD amplifier to utilize the Enhancer plug-in’s lower hinge point to achieve additional gain for optimal performance at 1.2 GHz operation. Using this approach, a cable operator can continue to operate a 1.2 GHz network without the added costs of wholesale passive upgrades and booster amplifier installations. The cost of product and labor associated with the installation of the 1.2 GHz Enhancer plug-in in a STARLINE ESD amplifier is significantly lower than that of a booster amplifier installation and dramatically reduces overall network downtime.

By installing an ESD amplifier in their current 1.2 GHz networks, cable operators can:

  • Operate the amplifier at 1.2 GHz while still supporting existing amplifier spans
  • Defer the timing and cost required to install booster amplifiers
  • Delay the costs of upgrading the network for full 1.8 GHz operation (including the costs of upgrading current 1.2 GHz taps and passives) while still offering mid- and high-split upstream services
  • Maximize network uptime and customer satisfaction

Installing and operating a STARLINE ESD amplifier at 1.2 GHz has several advantages. First and foremost, it protects the capital investment in active outside plant products. Rather than installing a 1.2 GHz amplifier that has limited bandwidth, installing a STARLINE ESD amplifier allows a cable operator to continue to meet today’s current network requirements, while adding the additional operational flexibility to increase capacity, quickly and easily, in either the downstream or the upstream when needed.

Installing a STARLINE ESD amplifier in a 1.2 GHz network provides a path for transitioning to full ESD operation by enabling cable operators to upgrade their networks at a pace that supports their business objectives. Using this approach, cable operators can selectively plan network upgrades by targeting areas of their network that have the heaviest bandwidth traffic. Areas of the network with lesser traffic can transition to ESD operation only as needed. This flexibility ensures cable operators can allocate capital resources to the areas of the network that will provide the greatest return on investment.

By initially configuring and operating a STARLINE ESD amplifier at 1.2 GHz, cable operators can incrementally replace their installed base of 1.2 GHz taps, passives, and nodes with 1.8 GHz models based on their regular maintenance schedules. This strategy is another way of deferring the costs of ESD network upgrades over time.

For operators who have already deployed earlier generations of STARLINE amplifiers across their networks, CommScope offers a full range of upgrade kits and 1.8 GHz modules and accessories that can be used to convert legacy STARLINE amplifiers, quickly and cost-effectively, for full 1.8 GHz ESD operation.

STARLINE ESD amplifiers have the added benefit of cutting-edge, “smart” configuration features that are not available in earlier amplifier models. These features include electronic attenuation and equalization, which eliminates the need for field technicians to install traditional plug-in attenuator pads and equalizers, and electronic set-up and configuration that makes it easier to activate and maintain the amplifier. These new features greatly simplify the process of activating, configuring and maintaining STARLINE ESD amplifiers, saving time and labor.

STARLINE ESD amplifiers also feature field-swappable, plug-in diplex filters that support the full range of ESD splits, from 85/102 MHz mid-split up to 684/834 MHz ultra-high split. The diplex filters are accessible through the amplifier’s RF module cover and do not require a field technician to remove the cover to replace them. This feature allows cable operators to upgrade their ESD amplifiers for 1.8 GHz operation on an as needed basis to further support an incremental approach to ESD network upgrades.

CommScope offers a full, end-to-end portfolio of ESD products and solutions for both inside and outside plant operation. For further information about STARLINE ESD amplifiers, contact your CommScope Sales Representative.


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