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The HFC network is evolving to meet the increasing demands of our digital lives, society, and economy. Virtualization of the Cable Head End and HFC network components is key to providing greater capacity, upstream, and flexibility. This approach allows service providers to adapt and evolve existing hardware, software and architectures into a software-defined network, to deliver ultimate versatility and resilience.
At current growth rates, 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and services such as OTT HD video, digital TV, IoT, cloud applications, immersive experiences and e-gaming will be using up the entire capacity of today’s HFC networks in a few years. Networks must evolve now to survive. That requires solutions for flexible and adaptable network deployments. Virtualization helps operators meet these requirements by providing elastic scaling, flexible deployment models, automation, and improved feature velocity.
CommScope is uniquely qualified to cover all parts of this complex virtualization process. That’s why service providers across the globe trust CommScope to optimize network performance and investments to deliver more. Our decades of experience with networks and HFC allow us to bring data, video and access networks know-how to intelligently evolve your network – without overspecifying or overspending.
Virtualization is the process of consolidating hardware and software resources into a software-based, virtual network. This helps create flexible solutions that work on widely available, highly standardized common computing platforms. Instead of purpose-built hardware, commercial off-the-shelf hardware (COTS) servers are used, driving cost down while boosting flexibility. Tasks performed by the virtualized head end solution are dynamically optimized with virtualization techniques, such as microservices and software containerization. Virtualization isn’t limited to any part of the network - you can virtualize your control plane, management plane, or data plane by consolidating resources into a standards-based software architecture.
Service providers want to optimize their networks to prepare for the next step in their service evolution, meeting today’s demands and be ready for tomorrow’s. In order to deliver the service and operations flexibility required for gigabit, multi-access connectivity, the design and management of networks needs to evolve from ‘hardware’ systems to more flexible virtualized solutions, where software management platforms monitor, configure, and manage network operations.
The challenge is to evolve design and management of fixed broadband networks from ‘hardware’ systems to more flexible virtualized solutions. HFC networks will need more fiber, deeper in the network. In the resulting fiber deep distributed access architecture (DAA), analog fiber connections are replaced with IP connections to create software-controllable connections that become part of a software-defined network. Tasks traditionally performed by operation engineering resources can be executed as a software-based platform that enables automation and highly efficient management of demand, by finding and instantly adding available resources elsewhere in the network when required.
Integrating new virtual elements into the existing network represents a massive change that requires careful planning and involves new strategic and organizational considerations.
Until recently, functions in network head ends were performed by dedicated, expensive, and resource-intensive equipment. Each device needed to be procured, deployed, and maintained throughout its service lifetime, and over-dimensioning was used to accommodate more traffic, all of which resulted in significant cost. Today, CommScope Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) solutions make it possible to build future-ready network head ends without worrying about these issues! The combination of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) allows providers to break through the ‘service silo’ model and lowers the relative cost of capital assets by using of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software, resource pooling, network visibility and analytics. Service changes (such as VUE-RPD changes) can be implemented more rapidly and repeatable, automated management methods enhance stability as well as predictability. These factors support cost optimization. Our vCore and vManager Virtualization platform is fully optimized for scalable broadband and video service delivery.
CommScope’s vCore virtual headend solution with its unique 3D Scaling architecture leverages field-proven, widely deployed software elements to help operators make smart decisions and build a future-ready network—fast—while managing costs and investments. The vCore platform control and management functions are derived from CommScope’s industry-leading E6000® CER. This software only, COTS-based deployment ensures efficient use of resources. A single service group (SG) can be elastically scaled up to hundreds, and scaled back down to any size. Other benefits include seamless scaling with CPU cores, clock speed and Mac Domain Scaling with Multiple SGs per vCore.
vManager saves time and money through network function and software-defined network (SDN) virtualization through more efficient network management and by reducing the chance of human error. Designed in accordance with CableLabs specifications and supporting open standards SDN-based interfaces, vManager offers a flexible, fast and easy way of configuring network components: securing, managing and configuring devices accurately and quickly throughout their system lifetime.. A significant operational advantage when automating the provisioning of new cores and nodes in the network.
Video Unified Edge (VUE) is a suite of modular software functions that can be deployed in the Service Provider's cloud environment to virtualize the legacy video headend network, replacing traditional appliance products, simplifying the video network by automating configuration and improving uptime. The VUE is a video auxiliary core in the CommScope dual core DAA architecture, for Remote PHY and Remote MACPHY devices and SCTE 55-1 ‘Aloha’ and supports the video data and control planes.
For the video data plane, the VUE builds broadcast and narrowcast video multiplexes and sends them to operator-defined user subsets via IPv6 multicast. For the video control plane, the VUE is responsible for provisioning the RPDs (Remote PHY Devices) for all video related parameters, including mapping multicast groups to RF frequencies. VUE works with the VTM (Video Topology Manager) which serves as the operator dashboard (UI) to manage the video DAA network. The VTM enables the operator to allocate RPDs to defined video groups to manage the video content received.
VUE is part of the CommScope next generation ad insertion system (NGI), which unifies ad insertion for set-top box and IP clients, eliminating the need to maintain two separate ad insertion systems.
CommScope ServAssure® NXT combines enterprise-class software with our deep expertise in broadband, video and video service delivery to help service providers unleash the power of data to prevent and solve performance issues. The automated collection and analytics platform provides critical insights into service performance, capacity, and delivery patterns, allowing operators to proactively identify and manage risk so anomalies can be resolved before the subscriber is impacted.
Network intelligence and automation provide end-to-end visibility across the service delivery environment, and works within physical and virtualized environments allowing operators to make the virtualization journey with confidence. Beyond the resulting customer experience improvements, a platform such as ServAssure is the only way operators can manage the complexity of today’s heterogeneous networks without support from numerous highly-paid experts.
The CommScope Pro Services team can help audit and assess your current infrastructure and its readiness for virtualization. We can recommend the best path forward, develop custom software to virtualize key network functions across CommScope as well as other vendors’ products and help manage and execute the transition to a virtualized environment
Our extensive portfolio, flexible architecture, and professional service capabilities enable service providers to optimally evolve their broadband network. Built upon 20+ years of field hardened code and a vast installed base, CommScope’s Virtualization platform is specifically optimized for broadband and video service delivery and designed with growth and scalability in mind.
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Bandwidth usage continues to grow year-on-year, driven by consumer consumption of internet video services. Service providers are looking to extend their service offerings to deliver IP video, 4K video, and business services. Meeting network demand—as well as managing practical constraints in their network operations, including physical space, power consumption and cooling in head-end locations—is driving the evolution of the network..
CommScope’s Virtualization platform is specially optimized for broadband and video service delivery. Flexible and elastic, this virtual platform is designed with growth and scalability in mind.