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Events

Be a Part of the Next Generation – Join the Next Remote PHY Interoperability Event

Jon Schnoor
Lead Architect: Wired Technologies

Apr 25, 2019

A CableLabs interoperability event is always a popular affair—and with good reason. It’s where manufacturers from all corners of the industry can come together to test the viability and interoperability of their products, as well as resolve technical issues before going to market. Our next Interop•Labs event, focused on Remote PHY technology, will be held May 6–10 in Louisville, Colorado. Space is limited, so be sure to register before May 1 to reserve your spot!

What to Expect at the Event

CableLabs is known for developing specifications, but our work doesn’t stop there. We want to do everything we can to ensure that our specifications are implemented properly and that the final consumer products deliver the best possible experience for customers. This philosophy benefits our members and vendors and, ultimately, the industry as a whole.

At the event, we will help you verify that your device and software meet the Remote PHY (R-PHY) requirements, and we will address any issues associated with implementation or interoperability. You will also get a rare opportunity to collaborate with other vendors and make sure that your products work together.

All event participants will get access to Kyrio’s state-of-the-art laboratories, fully equipped for comprehensive interoperability and performance testing. All you need to bring is the equipment or software that you intend to test.

A Bit of Housekeeping…

The event is open to all CableLabs members and NDA vendors. You must have a CableLabs member or vendor account to register, as well as approved R-PHY project access. Each participating company can send an appropriate number of engineers, in addition to any contributing engineers from the CableLabs R-PHY working groups. We also ask that you sign the DOCSIS® Participation Agreement prior to the event. If you have any questions, please email us at events@cablelabs.com.

REGISTER NOW

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DOCSIS

Remote PHY is a Reality

Jon Schnoor
Lead Architect: Wired Technologies

Oct 5, 2017

Just over two years ago, CableLabs announced the release of a new series of specifications known as “Remote PHY” in the blog “CableLabs® New Remote PHY Specifications expand DOCSIS® Network Deployment Options” authored by CableLabs principal architect Karthik Sundaresan. The blog describes what Remote PHY (R-PHY) is, how it forms a key piece of the various Distributed Access Architecture options we have established at CableLabs and upcoming plans for the further development of the technology.

Distributed Access Architectures and Remote PHY technology, in particular, provide several key benefits to the Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) networks that deliver cable TV and broadband to consumers and businesses:

  • Takes full advantage of the capabilities of DOCSIS 3.1 technology, allowing more data capacity to be packed into the same amount of spectrum
  • Supports the deployment of Full Duplex DOCSIS, which will enable multi-gigabit upstream services on existing cable plants
  • Leverages lower cost/higher capacity optical Ethernet transport mechanisms, allowing cable operators to cost-effectively provide faster services to customers

Since this announcement, hundreds of engineers on dozens of teams from CableLabs, equipment manufacturers and cable operators worked vigorously to move the technology forward. We’re excited to announce that as a result of this hard work, interoperable Remote PHY devices (RPDs) now exist and will be available on the market soon.

What is Remote PHY Technology?: A Technical Recap

The R-PHY technology pushes the physical RF layer (PHY) to the edge of the access network. This design requires the CCAP to be “split” between the MAC layer and the PHY layer. In an R-PHY system, the integrated CCAP is separated into two distinct components. The first component is the CCAP Core and the second component is the RPD. The CCAP Core can contain both a CMTS Core for DOCSIS technology and an EQAM Core for Video.

 

Remote PHY High-Level Architecture

Figure: Remote PHY High-Level Architecture

The RPD contains PHY-related circuitry, such as downstream QAM modulators, upstream QAM demodulators, together with pseudowire logic to connect to the CCAP Core. The RPD platform is a physical layer converter whose functions are:

  • To convert downstream DOCSIS, MPEG video and out-of-band signals received from a CCAP Core over a digital medium, such as Ethernet or PON to analog for transmission over RF.
  • To convert upstream DOCSIS and out-of-band signals received from an analog medium, such as RF to digital for transmission over Ethernet or PON to a CCAP Core.

Testing Products at CableLabs’ R-PHY Interoperability Events

While CableLabs is known for developing specifications, we also work extensively to help manufacturers develop products that conform to our specifications and interoperate with one another. One important means of doing so is through interoperability events.

The start of interoperability testing is a crucial milestone in the lifecycle of a project at CableLabs. It represents the point at which products become real and can start to work with one another. CableLabs serves as the neutral ground that allows manufacturers, who might otherwise be competitors, to come together and – for the very first time – validate whether or not their implementations work with each other and, if not, figure out why. This is a major step for manufacturers to validate their products are commercially viable.

CableLabs hosted a series of one to two-week long interoperability events, starting in December of 2016. These events comprised of 15 equipment manufacturers from around the world. The initial events included prototype RPDs and CCAP Cores which delivered product interoperability from the beginning. Over the course of time, the products matured until they became ready for use in field trials - a massive progression of development.

As participants continued through their development of RPD and CCAP Core products, features and requirements were added to the events to advance product readiness. A number of key features to enable commercial deployment were tested and verified: RPD initialization, IPv6 support, timing, DOCSIS 3.1 network operation and the creation of and communications through upstream/downstream L2TPv3 tunnels.

Announcing the Remote PHY Device Qualification Program

As an additional step to ensure devices are ready for deployment, where appropriate, CableLabs develops Qualification Programs to formally test and verify that devices comply with the specifications. This indicates that they will successfully interoperate with one another when deployed in the field. Based on the success experienced in the interoperability events to date, CableLabs is excited to announce that we have now launched a Qualification Program for the testing of RPDs.

Similar to our highly successful DOCSIS certification programs, manufacturers can now submit RPDs, whether they’re in R-PHY Nodes or R-PHY Shelves, for formal qualification testing at CableLabs. Once submitted, these devices are extensively tested by our partner Kyrio to ensure that they comply with our specifications and that they will successfully interoperate with other compliant devices.

Additional information for the RPD Qualification Program, including fees and guidelines, can be found on the Kyrio website and are described in this Kyrio blog.

Remote PHY is Real

CableLabs’ Interoperability Events help to get devices to that point and the start of our Qualification Program ensures that devices are able to demonstrate their compliance and readiness.All of this serves to demonstrate that Remote PHY is real:  products are real, they are here and they’ll see deployment in the field soon. This means that cable operators – and ultimately their customers – benefit from Remote PHY deployments.

Remote PHY Industry Events & News

R-PHY is playing a major roll in the cable industry and the timing couldn’t be better! This year’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® in Denver, CO is holding an R-PHY seminar on Tuesday, October 17th. This event will provide an in-depth look at all aspects of R-PHY including the technology, the implementation of R-PHY and the benefits for operators. Jon Schnoor is speaking at the seminar, providing a view of the current state of the project and how CableLabs and Kyrio are playing an essential role in the next generation of cable networks.

Interested in reading more about Remote PHY in the future? Subscribe to our blog and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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News

A Coder’s Announcement of the CableLabs C3 Platform for Collaborative Software Development

Arianne Hinds
Principal Architect, Video & Standards Strategy Research and Development

Mar 24, 2016

[highlighter line=0]

If ( the sight of software source code does not make you uncomfortable )
{
   /**************************************************************************************
    * Then please continue to read the code below to get the story behind this blog.
    * If reading source code is not your “cup of tea”, then please find the main message
    * for this blog below, i.e. following the big ELSE statement.
    *
    * Copyright:  2016 Cable Television Laboratories, Inc.
    **************************************************************************************/

   enum {FALSE=0, TRUE=1} ;

   int cable-industry-embraces-open-source = TRUE ; 

   int number-of-active-C3-projects = 3 ; 


   while ( cable-industry-embraces-open-source ) do
   { 
      CableLabs stands up the C3 software development platform;

      If ( already-familiar-with-C3 == FALSE ) 
      {
         enum essential-elements-of-C3 = { IT_INFRASTRUCTURE , 
                       ACCESS_CONTROL ,
                       OPEN_SOURCE_BEST_PRACTICES ,
                       CODE_REPOSITORIES , 
                       ISSUE_TRACKER , 
                       BUILD_TOOLS ,
                       VERIFICATION_TESTS ,
                       REVIEW_AND_CHECKIN_TOOLS ,
                       MODULAR_LICENSING ,
                       FLEXIBLE_GOVERNANCE_MODEL ,
                       IPR_MANAGEMENT } ;
                       
            
         C3 is supported by CableLabs ;    
         C3 follows after successful Linux Foundation model ; 
         C3 is a platform for collaborative software development ;
         C3 is scalable to accommodate a large number of projects ;       
         C3 provides a project template charter for anyone to start a new project ;
         Projects can be truly “open” where access is open to anyone ; 
         Projects can also be “closed” where access to code (etc) is restricted ;
         Projects can migrate from C3 to other Open Source and Standards Bodies ;
      }

      For ( int project-number=0; project-number<number-active-C3-projects; project-number++ )
      {

         switch (project-number) {

         case 0:  /* Cisco OpenRPD project */
            RPD is Remote PHY Device ;
            Project seed code donated by CISCO ;
            Key cable industry vendors are participating ;
            
         case 1:  /* Proactive Network Maintenance */
            PNM tools help operators troubleshoot the network ;
            Network devices measure key diagnostic attributes ;
            Identify and isolate problems before they are customer impacting ;
            
         case 2:  /* TruView */
            TruView software characterizes cable plant signaling ;
            Project seed code supplied by Comcast and extended by CableLabs ;
            Advanced video diagnostic tools ;
            

         default:
            C3 has more than 3 projects now ;
         }
            
      }

      If ( (interested-in-learning-more || interested-in-starting-project) == TRUE )
      {

         review project charter form at https://community.cablelabs.com/wiki/display/C3 ;
         send email to c3@cablelabs.com ;
         
      }
   }      
         
} ;
      
ELSE { 
   /*****************************************************************************************
    * We assume that the plain text version of this story is easier for you to read.
    *
    * The relevance of collaborative software development, including open source and  
    * community-source approaches, for the cable industry cannot be overestimated. 
    * Increasingly, collaboratively developed software is being deployed in cable  
    * products and services. And, the development tools that the industry uses to build  
    * those products and services often leverage open source implementations. The RDK  
    * is just one example that demonstrates the robust and powerful approach of sourcing  
    * the software development across an open or semi-open community (i.e. community  
    * source group) for the cable industry.  Other cross-industry organizations where 
    * the cable industry participates include the Open Platform for Network Function 
    * Virtualization  and the OpenDaylight Platform.  
    *
    * So, what’s missing for the cable industry?  
    *
    * ANSWER:  A platform where the cable industry (and beyond) can collectively  
    * collaborate around the development of tools and software assets relevant, 
    * but not limited, to cable.  
    * 
    * At its Winter Conference 2016, CableLabs announced the launch of the 
    * Common Code Community (C3) platform, including essential elements such as IT 
    * infrastructure, development tools, repositories, access control, recommended  
    * best practices, modular licensing, and outreach to other communities and standards. 
    * 
    * As of today, the C3 project hosts three projects:
    * 1.  OpenRPD – A software reference implementation supporting the Remote PHY
    *     Device architecture – a virtualization architectures used in distributed
    *     CCAP implementations.  Seeded with software developed and contributed by 
    *     Cisco, the project drives core router and remote PHY interoperability.
    * 2.  Proactive Network Maintenance (PNM) – A set of tools that reduce troubleshooting
    *     and problem resolution time by detecting and localizing network problems 
    *     before they impact the customer.   
    * 3.  TruView - Software seeded by Comcast and extended by CableLabs as a set 
    *     of tools to assist cable operators in the successful deployment of 2-way 
    *     infrastructure used to load and initialize settop boxes
    *
    * Each project defines its own governance structure such as who is allowed 
    * to commit code, submit code, launch builds, define new code releases, and so on.
    *
    * The C3 platform also provides a flexible license model where each project sets 
    * the licensing and IPR structures most appropriate for its goals and assets.
    *
    * For more information on C3: you can send email to: c3@cablelabs.com
    *
    ******************************************************************************************/

}
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DOCSIS

New Open Source Initiative at CableLabs

Karthik Sundaresan
Distinguished Technologist

Feb 10, 2016

Open source software continues to make solid inroads in the world of network technology. There are various open source industry efforts which are becoming de-facto standards that are being adopted by operators and equipment manufacturers (Linux, Apache, OpenStack, Docker etc). Open source leads to free and quick proliferation of good ideas. Collaboration tackles tough problems which may not be solved individually. The open source approach facilitates a rapid prototyping for new technologies and allows improvement on the most important features. It also allows communities to form around a common cause.

CableLabs is increasing its focus on game-changing innovations and accelerating the delivery of unique competitive advantages to the global cable industry with its CableLabs 2.0 initiative. As a part of this focus, CableLabs would like to announce a new major open/community source project for the cable industry. CableLabs and Cisco are initiating a new collaborative project called ‘OpenRPD’ to develop software which can be used by the industry to build a Remote PHY Device. Cisco will be contributing their Remote PHY interface software to this effort, which forms a baseline on which this project will build. (See Cisco's press release.)

Over the past year, CableLabs, along with our member and vendor community, has worked on the different Distributed CCAP Architectures including Remote PHY and Remote MAC-PHY Architectures. The Remote PHY technology allows for an integrated CCAP to be separated into two components: the CCAP Core and the Remote PHY Device (RPD). The RPD allows all the PHY layer components of a CCAP to be moved out as a separate device into the fiber node in the field.

Remote PHY is a big transition in the traditional access network architecture. To meet the deployment needs of the operators, it is imperative we move the ecosystem quickly. The OpenRPD software effort allows us to do this by enabling faster development of RPD products. We believe that open source software is becoming the new way to create specifications, the mantra now is to ‘write code’ not documents.
Word Cloud "Open Source"
A collaborative effort allows for greater reliability in software products, while offering a greater level of security, both of which are important to an RPD platform which will be out in the field. Developing a common code base for some of the basic RPD functions creates a software platform which will minimize interoperability issues between the CCAP-Core and the RPD. It enables companies to focus on their added value and accelerates time to market for a product. This creates a scenario in which everybody wins and the operator gets to deployment of technology faster.

We welcome all interested developers within the CableLabs community to participate in this project. If you would like to participate in the CableLabs OpenRPD Software initiative, please contact me.

May the source be with you.

Karthik Sundaresan is a Principal Architect at CableLabs responsible for the development and architecture of cable access network technologies. He is primarily involved in the DOCSIS family of technologies and their continued evolution.

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DOCSIS

CableLabs® New Remote PHY Specifications expand DOCSIS® Network deployment options

Karthik Sundaresan
Distinguished Technologist

Jul 7, 2015

DOCSIS technology continues to extend the usefulness of the hybrid fiber coaxial network and increase its global adoption. Distributed Architectures for DOCSIS networks are emerging that provide significant scale advantages and flexible deployment options supporting for both DOCSIS 3.0 and DOCSIS 3.1 networks. Distributed DOCSIS deployments are beginning today in some markets based on the earlier C-DOCSIS specifications.

New Specification Release

CableLabs is documenting several different Distributed CCAP Architectures (including Remote PHY and Remote MAC-PHY) and will release the set of technical reports and specifications throughout this summer.

Last month, CableLabs publicly issued the Remote PHY family of specifications. Theses specifications are also known as MHAv2 as these are an evolution from the original Modular Headend Architecture specifications.

The Remote PHY technology allows for an integrated CCAP to be separated into two components: the CCAP Core and the Remote PHY Device (RPD) and describes the interfaces between them. One of the common locations for an RPD is the optical node device that is located at the junction of the fiber and coax plants, while the CCAP Core stays at the headend. A CCAP core can control and setup data paths with multiple RPDs situated in multiple fiber nodes.

remote-phy-karthik

 

What is Remote PHY?

The Remote PHY technology uses pseudowires between a CCAP Core and a set of RPDs. The CCAP Core contains both a CMTS Core for supporting DOCSIS data transport and an Edge QAM Core for supporting video transport. The CMTS Core contains the DOCSIS MAC (signaling functions, downstream and upstream bandwidth scheduling, and DOCSIS framing) and the upper layer protocols. Remote PHY supports both DOCSIS 3.0 & 3.1 Specifications. The EQAM Core contains all the video processing functions that an EQAM provides today.

The RPD contains mainly PHY related circuitry, such as downstream QAM and OFDM modulators, upstream QAM and OFDM demodulators, together with pseudowire logic needed to connect to the CCAP Core. The RPD platform is a physical layer converter device whose functions are to convert downstream DOCSIS data, MPEG video and out-of-band (OOB) signals received from a CCAP Core over a digital fiber network such as Ethernet or passive optical network (PON) to analog RF for transmission over the coaxial cable; and to convert upstream RF DOCSIS, and OOB signals received over the coaxial cable to digital for transmission over Ethernet or PON to a CCAP Core.

r-phy-docsis-signaling

The CableLabs Remote PHY technology is detailed by six specifications and one technical report (describing the overall architecture) including:

  • The System Specification that describes System level requirements such as initialization sequences and security.
  • The R-DEPI and R-UEPI specifications that describe the downstream and upstream pseudowires and the L2TPv3 control plane.
  • The GCP specification that defines a protocol used for configuration of Remote PHY Devices (RPD).
  • The R-DTI specification that defines the timing interface between the CCAP-Core and RPD.
  • The R-OOB specification that defines support for the SCTE55-1 and 55-2 out of band data for video applications.

What’s Next?

These specifications define the technology to provide guidance to vendors building solutions for the Remote PHY architecture. Vendors have begun architecting ASIC designs, device platforms and software to implement the RPD and CCAP-Core devices. The OSS requirements for managing these devices are also being specified at CableLabs and will be released as an additional specification later this summer. These distributed architectures of course support standard DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 modems and gateways no differently than integrated architectures.

The main options under the umbrella of Distributed CCAP Architectures are the Remote PHY and the Remote MAC-PHY technologies. CableLabs’ work is in progress to document the Remote MAC-PHY architecture. This work will culminate in a technical report which will also be released this summer.

Investigating Distributed CCAP Architectures

The work around Distributed CCAP architectures (DCA) is of interest to many CableLabs members in North America, Europe and Asia. Cable operators are investigating DCA for the various gains they bring including:

  • Maximizing DOCSIS 3.1 Channel capacity
  • Simpler operations with digital fiber/Ethernet transport
  • Higher Efficiency of Digital Optics vs. Analog Optics (wavelengths, reach, cost)
  • Helps hub/headend facilities issues around space, power, and cooling as operators move towards Fiber Deep architectures or consider further Node Splits
  • Consistency with FTTx deployments which will include remote architectures for reach and wavelength management
  • Fits with the SDN/NFV initiatives operators are considering across access networks

These integrated & distributed HFC technologies have parallels, and similar features and benefits, to wireless infrastructure architectures such as Macro-cells, small-cells, Distributed Antenna Solutions, and Cloud-RAN with Remote Radio Units. These Distributed CCAP Architectures fit well in different deployment scenarios and all work cohesively together to support the varying capacity and demand in the areas where their deployments provide the best solution.

As operators look to optimize their network deployments in each of their cable plants in each of their markets it will be very interesting to see how and where these distributed CCAP technologies will be deployed in each operator’s HFC networks. It is indeed an exciting time to be working on the access network technologies and being part of the evolution it is going through.

Karthik Sundaresan is a Principal Architect at CableLabs, responsible for the development and architecture of cable access network technologies. He is primarily involved in the DOCSIS family of technologies and their continued evolution.

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