In the cable world, network design that ensures traffic is as close as possible to the end user is now imperative. It’s the only way to keep pace with massive growth in Over-The-Top (OTT) video traffic and growing demand for 1G+ broadband services, not to mention increasing pressure for space and power in the field. 

To meet the demands of modern cable networks, forward thinking operators are increasingly adopting “fiber deep”, a trend where Hybrid Fiber-Coax (HFC) architectures are transformed and coexist with modern, digital fiber technologies. This approach empowers a forward-leaning, universal access framework of current Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) HFC, future Remote PHY Devices (RPD), point-to-point 10G+ fiber business services, xPON and, finally, complex Xhaul 4G/5G New Radio (NR) mobility futures.

The use of modern, hardened, lower-power coherent optical technologies in the fiber deep architecture provides a key benefit in driving cost out of the plant transformation for cable. This is because it requires fewer “large powered facilities” between the head end and the optical-node, and can leverage smaller, street-based cabinets that are closer to the customer. 

Here are the top reasons to consider a transformation to ‘fiber deep’ over your current and future plant architecture: 

  1. Improved network capacity and performance - Pushing fiber deep into your access layer using street-based cabinets improves your network capacity and performance. You can multiply available bandwidth by orders of magnitude with upstream and downstream digital optics; increase network performance by enhancing congested coaxial cable runs with fiber that extends deep into the access network; and minimize latency for a consistently great customer experience. As demand for 1G+ broadband services grows, street-based cabinet equipment that’s close to your customers helps future-proof your network and achieve significant competitive advantages. 

  2. Increased network efficiency - Putting digital optical equipment in street-based cabinets supports the transition to digital optics (for both upstream and downstream traffic). This allows you to migrate your hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) network quickly to a Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), and to strip out mirrored infrastructure stacks for data and video. You can then begin delivering your entire service portfolio over a single, highly efficient, converged infrastructure.

    Another way this approach can increase your efficiency is by shortening coaxial cable runs and allowing you to retire high-maintenance radio-frequency amplifiers from your network.

    Finally, migrating to a CCAP architecture paves the way for future modernization and optimization projects. You could choose to migrate to a highly efficient virtualized CCAP environment, for example, or to implement a converged Digital Access Architecture (DAA) as a subsequent phase of your network modernization to further reduce your operating costs.

  3. Reduced real estate costs - Maybe you don’t have data centers close to where your customers are, or maybe they are running at capacity in terms of floor space or power allocations? In either case, putting your head-end equipment functions in street-based cabinets can help you reduce real-estate costs significantly by reducing secondary head-end and unnecessary hubs. Additionally, you can deliver fiber points of presence extremely close to where your customers are – helping you to improve the quality of your services and increase loyalty.

  4. Faster time to market and revenues with streamlined planning - Planning permission can be a major obstacle to scaling operations or bringing new services to market quickly. This is especially the case where you are applying to expand an existing data center facility, or to bring new power to the data center. The decision to house head-end equipment functions in street-based cabinets can help you to overcome these challenges; reducing planning red tape, speeding up deployment, and enabling you to shorten timelines for bringing new, revenue-generating services to market. You can also increase your first-mover advantage in the market and stay one step ahead of your competitors. 

  5. Support for your diversification strategy - If your strategy includes diversification into the wholesale mobile backhaul market or business Ethernet market, you need technologies that can help your network adapt to new delivery requirements as quickly and easily as possible. By locating digital-optic head-end functions in street-based cabinets close to your customers, you can begin to deliver services that require native Ethernet transport rapidly, securely, and error-free with unified Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP) for both optical and packet layers. This reduces the cost of integrating new, high-margin services into your portfolio, while ensuring that you can implement new services and business models with no technology limitations.

  6. Reduced ongoing operations and support costs - You can build automation into your network to update and troubleshoot head-end equipment functions located in street cabinets in both optical and packet layers. This reduces “truck rolls” and minimizes ongoing maintenance and support costs, ensuring that all equipment is updated regularly and performing well. 

Get streetwise with Ciena

Ciena is helping major cable operators modernize and optimize their networks with ruggedized digital optic equipment located in street cabinets. With our future-proof portfolio of hugely scalable modular platforms for high-capacity 10G, 40G, 100G applications (400G future) and integration of coherent optics and packet fabric, we can help you deliver current and future services that keep pace with consumer demand and maximize your competitive edge. 

For more information on our fiber deep capabilities, watch our on-demand webinar - Fiber Deep: Getting More Bandwidth to the Edge.