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All of the applications supported on the platform are based on open standards and together provide new levels of performance, capacity, power consumption, ease of management, and scalability.
The Cisco RF Gateway 10, Figure 1, is part of the Cisco Cable Ecosystem and has been fully integrated and tested as part of the Cisco Digital Broadband Delivery System (DBDS) video solution, Cisco uBR10012 DOCSIS 3.0, and M-CMTS solution.
As cable operators expand their offerings of high definition services and accelerate the transition to a fully digital network through initiatives such as DOCSIS 3.0, SDV and analog reclamation, the number of QAM channels required is expected to grow exponentially.
For specific feature details supported on the RF Gateway-10, refer to the RF Gateway Supervisor (RFGW-X4516-10GE) data sheet and the RF Gateway Downstream 48 (RFGW-DS48) data sheet. The Cisco RF Gateway 10 is a member of the Cisco RF Gateway product series and is designed to meet the most demanding requirements of cable operators worldwide.
Designed for high availability, with the equivalent Ethernet and IP routing performance and features of a large-scale Cisco router, the Cisco RF Gateway 10 provides the industry's highest universal edge QAM line card RF fast failover performance.
The Cisco RF Gateway 10 provides ease of operations with a single point of management for the entire chassis and offers feature compatibility, similar look and feel, consistent graphical style user management interface, and common engineering and testing processes with the RF Gateway 1 small form factor universal edge QAM. 2 supervisor slots, 10 universal RF slots, 2 timing and control module slots, 12 RF switch slots, 2 power supply slots, 1 fan tray, 1 front panel display module. NO SUGGESTIONS FOUND FOR "{{query}}", TRY ADDING MORE DETAILS OR USING A DIFFERENT SEARCH TERM. Today, MSOs are challenged to reliably and efficiently manage their increasingly complex, ad hoc video infrastructures. The ARRIS D5™ UEQ is a unique class of IP edge network device that enables delivery of a wide variety of multimedia content in a redundant, modular, and cost-effective package. A trusted ally, providing expert lifecycle services to help service providers transform how they deliver entertainment and communications. By enabling the delivery of video, data and voice services over coax using a single, low-powered device, NSG Exo will help service providers reach untapped customer bases, such as multiple dwelling units (MDUs), hospitality and college campuses. Sponsored Content is made possible by our sponsor; it does not necessarily reflect the views of our editorial staff. Among several trends impacting the access architecture over the past few years has been an increase in the number of quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) channels used for narrowcast services. Most MSOs are deploying more and more unicast QAM channels to support growth from the success of video on demand (VOD), especially as a result of more high definition content.
At the same time, MSOs continue to reduce the size of service groups to make more efficient use of their networks.
These two trends result in a continuous increase in the number of QAM channels per service group.
As a result, the cable industry needs ever-denser edge QAMs to reduce both the cost from the equipment itself and the resulting environmental requirements in headends and hubs. With modular CMTS and the modular headend architecture it should be possible to achieve such densities as Edge QAM development evolves towards higher densities and CMTS equipment is developed for these network architectures. A new equipment architecture option is emerging that enables the implementation of denser network architectures in yet another way, providing both MSOs and vendors an alternative approach of achieving the goals of the modular headend architecture. Given the trends and technology evolution outlined above, Comcast is working on the development of a next-generation access architecture (NGAA) which leverages existing communications technologies, such as DOCSIS 3.0 and current HFC architectures, and incorporates newer ones such as dense edge QAM architectures, Ethernet optics, high-spectrum transmission, orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) and others.
Enable implementation of denser headend equipment targeting a much higher number of narrowcast digital and IP services, reducing costs and environmental requirements in headends, hubs and optical transport networks (OTNs). Develop an access technology-agnostic architecture, making it possible to deploy newer access technologies with the same services architecture. Build upon the decades of experience and knowledge in the industry to simplify and streamline operations, with a focus towards decreasing analog transmission in favor of significant increase in digital services. Converged multiservice access platform (CMAP): This is the key component of NGAA, which implements the functions of the CMTS and the edge QAM for all narrowcast and broadcast digital services.
Downstream monitor (DMON): This is a probe, intended for deployment in the HFC network as an outside plant component.
High spectrum gateway (HSG): The objective of the HSG is to enable an overlay high-bandwidth upstream and downstream transmission in conjunction with the CMAP. The sections below describe the CMAP in some detail, outlining its features, implementation options, relation to industry standards, and possible deployment strategies. The converged multiservice access platform (CMAP) is intended to provide a new equipment architecture approach for manufacturers to achieve the edge QAM and CMTS densities that MSOs require in order to address the costs and environmental constraints resulting from the success of narrowcast services. To achieve the functionality described above, a CMAP device implements the various edge QAM and CMTS functions in a consolidated platform. The result, as shown in Figure 3, is that a single CMAP downstream port will include all the QAM channels for all digital services. As with existing architectures, a CMAP device can be implemented in an integrated or modular manner. The AS implements all the upstream and downstream PHY functions normally associated with the CMTS and the Edge QAM, and as much of the MAC as it is necessary to support both upstream and downstream flows. Figure 4 outlines the possible modular implementation of CMAP whereby multiple types of access shelves are available for different access network architectures. Individually configurable assignment of QAM channels to the various service groups, such that it would be possible to have service groups for HSD and voice vs. Efficient implementation of edge QAM blocks by implementing separate sets of QAM channels for narrowcast and broadcast applications, such that QAM channels for narrowcast services are individually implemented for each RF port but QAM channels used for broadcast services are shared amongst all the RF ports in each downstream line card (DLC).


Simplification of the RF combiner by providing all QAM channels for all digital services from a single RF port, only leaving certain legacy functions for the RF combiner network. Implementation of sophisticated proprietary encryption systems, such as PowerKEY, DigiCipher, and others, without requiring special-purpose hardware, such that a CMAP device from any vendor can implement either encryption mechanism, or both mechanisms, with the same platform.
A transport-agnostic network architecture, including implementation of PON and other access network technologies natively within the CMAP.
The CMAP requirements included in the specifications currently under development at Comcast outline product requirements, including capacity, performance, network implementation functions, and other such targets and objectives. To develop the CMAP product specifications, Comcast is working with a broad group of industry leaders and technology experts who have volunteered to help Comcast develop these requirements. The NGAA team plans to complete three CMAP-related product requirement (see Table 1, page 24) specifications in the next few months.
Additionally, following the completion of the product requirements specifications, the team plans to develop recommended test procedure specifications. Hardware components and requirements, and the various features and functions implemented by the CMAP. Another area of industry specification work relates to SCTE-02 via the SCTE IPS Working Group, regarding enhancements to the F connector requirements and the addition of a 75-Ohm version of the MCX connector. Figure 6 shows a possible front and rear view of the CMAP chassis that would be compliant with the CMAP specifications. Below are examples of the possible deployment of a typical CMAP configuration in two types of systems, one implementing an HFC network with 750 MHz of spectrum capacity and another with 860 MHz of capacity.
The two examples are for the deployment of a CMAP chassis consisting of the same configuration, as detailed in the diagram included below, whereby the CMAP chassis is capable of supporting a capacity of up to 64 QAM channels for narrowcast services and up to 96 QAM channels for broadcast services.
In the first example, detailed in Figure 7, there is a group of analog channels (approximately 30) in the lower portion of the spectrum with a small number of gaps (two as depicted) consisting of a few 6 MHz channel slots.
The remainder of the spectrum is occupied by broadcast QAMs, a few of which are configured to operate in the roll-off portion of the spectrum and set to 64-QAM modulation as opposed to all other QAM channels, which will operate at 256-QAM modulation.
The second example, also detailed in Figure 7, depicts the use of the same chassis in a system capable of supporting 860 MHz of spectrum.
However, multiple silicon suppliers are in the process of implementing chips that provide very large QAM channel counts for downstream implementations. As with other technology evolutions, these changes in the industry’s access architecture may take longer than desired. From the many discussions we have had with other MSOs, both within North America and throughout Europe and South America, interest for the deployment of this platform is very high. From our preliminary discussions with vendors, and without revealing confidential information and plans they have shared with us, we anticipate initial availability of equipment for early deployment in the 2011 timeframe, and broad availability from multiple vendors in 2012 and 2013.
However, vendors will likely have many discussions with potential customers in the months to come and will adjust their plans accordingly.
Jorge Salinger is VP access architecture, Comcast; and John Leddy is SVP converged services, Comcast. The foregoing examples and use cases are for illustrative purposes and are not a representation of systems and methods implemented by Comcast. The Cisco RF Gateway 10 provides the capacity, scalability and high-availability features to enable this transition.
It is optimized for operators wanting to provide carrier-class high-availability solutions while also collapsing video and data traffic over cable edge QAM functions into one common platform (Figure 2).
The gateway's modular and hot-swappable design provides unsurpassed reliability and high QAM capacity for highly efficient QAM sharing in a converged MPEG and IP environment. With the Cisco RF Gateway 10, cable operators now have a choice of purchasing a carrier-class, high-availability, multifunctional gateway instead of multiple separate devices. Growing subscriber penetration, greater content variety, and rising concurrence rates of video services are straining infrastructure capacity and putting quality and reliability at risk.
With over 850 technical professionals in over 40 countries, ARRIS Global Services helps service providers grow their business by getting to market faster, reducing operating expenses, streamlining operations and ensuring high service availability. This CCAP-ready system allows service providers to move their RF delivery requirements out of the headend or hub and deeper into the network. NSG EXO will lower an operator's capex by removing analog transport, and create operational savings through reduced RF, power and space requirements.
Deployment of switched digital video (SDV) for an increasing number of multicast content offerings is driving QAM channels even further. The drivers, for many years now, have been operational streamlining (smaller service groups result in improved service quality) and efficient use of spectrum (reusing spectrum supports narrowcast service growth).
Because of it, edge QAM vendors have been developing denser QAM channel per RF port implementations, even approaching densities that will eventually allow the use of unique QAM channels for every service group. It is not a simple operational and financial matter for MSOs to take the leap towards such higher densities for any given service, and consequently it is difficult for vendors to justify the required investment in the implementation of this technology. However, most CMTS development has focused on an integrated architecture for a variety of technical reasons. Such equipment architecture is described in work underway at Comcast, which is developing product specifications for a new class of equipment called converged multiservice access platform, or CMAP.
The DMON probe leverages components available in the cable industry, chiefly the DOCSIS modem technology, to implement extensive network monitoring, maintenance and operations functions while streamlining and enhancing operations.


Given space constraints, the other key components of NGAA (DMON, NGOM and HSG) will not be discussed in this article. For example, a typical downstream RF port may be licensed to include 32 QAM channels for narrowcast and 96 QAM channels for broadcast services.
A documented interface between the AS and the PS is defined to enable interoperability between AS and PS vendors. However, other modular implementations are possible, for example incorporating multiple access technologies into a single AS, whereby one centralized PS would interface with multiple AS devices possibly distributed across various sites. In doing so, the CMAP specifications reference industry standards documents without duplicating the requirements detailed therein.
Experts from CableLabs, Cable Europe Labs and a number of silicon suppliers are advising Comcast in this effort.
The first of these, called the CMAP hardware and functions specification, has been under development for several months, and is currently in draft form undergoing final review. The main body of work in that regard has been related to the CableLabs DRFI specification, which has undergone several engineering change requests (ECRs) to accommodate the design and operation of implementations of large numbers of QAM channels per RF port, which are applicable to the CMAP as well as other dense QAM channel-per-RF-port equipment implementations.
The 75-Ohm MCX connector is commonly implemented in a gang holder known as a universal cable holder (UCH), which consists of a row of 10 connectors typically used with mini coaxial cable. While recognizing the need to simplify operations by creating standards for key operationally beneficial parameters, they leave vendors with many opportunities for differentiation. Therefore, the chassis is required to implement N+1 redundancy for upstream and downstream line cards and 1+1 redundancy of all common equipment. Both use cases are for typical systems, including a normal number of homes passed per node and per hub. Digital programs from the group of broadcast QAMs occupy these gaps between analog channels. Consequently, while all 32 narrowcast QAM channels would be used, approximately 75 of the broadcast QAM channels would be used in this example. Similar assumptions for analog channels are made for this example, but instead additional narrowcast QAM channels are used and fewer broadcast QAM channels are needed to fill the available spectrum.
Some of these implementations are able to support the entire channel line-up from a single chip, end even more!
Without exception, all MSOs we have spoken to in the past months are as interested as we are on the operational simplifications that the CMAP offers and the new functions it enables. No part of this publication shall be deemed to be part of any contract or warranty unless specifically incorporated by reference into such contract or warranty.
It also features very low power consumption per QAM channel and the flexibility to deliver next-generation services to medium-sized to large-sized hub sites. The D5 Universal Edge QAM (UEQ) is a unique IP edge network device that delivers a wide variety of multimedia content in a reliable, high-performance, cost-effective package. Our specialties are data and video applications and infrastructure, and the consumer experience.
And with the availability of channel bonding in DOCSIS 3.0, MSOs are deploying additional QAM channels for their cable modem termination system (CMTS) equipment.
This is not only true for edge QAM vendors; it is particularly difficult for CMTS suppliers implementing integrated architectures.
DMON probes from various hardware vendors will be available that will integrate with software systems from other vendors, enabling an interoperable ecosystem. If deployed in a 750 MHz system that maintains 30 analog channels, the CMAP RF port provides 32 QAM channels for narrowcast video, data and voice services and approximately 50 additional QAM channels for broadcast services. In the second, CMAP functions are divided between a Packet Shelf (PS) and an Access Shelf (AS).
Those could include CableLabs specifications on DOCSIS, downstream RF interface (DRFI), virtual switch instance (VSI), performance monitor interface (PMI), PacketCable and other technical categories. Additionally, there is a group of narrowcast QAM channels located towards the center of the spectrum. The modular, unified architecture of the D5 UEQ enables operators to add capacity incrementally and to alter their video service mix to keep pace with the needs of the network and the subscribers.With the D5 UEQ, operators avoid the capital and operational expense of replacing or retrofitting non-compliant Edge QAMs when responding to growing residential and business demand for advanced services. We provide lifecycle services to help plan, design, implement and operate integrated solutions for ARRIS and third-party products. For the downstream, vendors can utilize existing technology for direct digital synthesis (DDS) consisting of readily available FPGAs and digital-to-analog-converters (DACs) from multiple vendors. The D5 UEQ processes as many as 2048 MPEG-2 transport streams simultaneously – ingesting VOD, SDV, linear digital broadcast, and DOCSIS 3.0 M-CMTS downstream data – and multiplexes the streams flexibly across any available channel. And operators have a unified view of their services through the D5 Web Manager, which provides a browser interface for configuring, monitoring, and troubleshooting video services and reporting provisioning and hardware status.Space- and energy-conserving engineering means the D5 UEQ draws the lowest watts per channel of any competing QAM and delivers reliable services cost effectively in headends of all sizes.
No other QAM matches the high-availability, energy-efficient engineering, or ease of use of the D5. Redundancy in power supplies, cooling, signal and power distribution, networking, and RF units provide carrier-grade reliability, performance, and QoS gives D5 operators superb customer satisfaction ratings and revenue continuity.



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