Transforming Cable Networks

As the cable industry prepares to meet at Cable-Tec Expo* 2018, Intel continues to invest in end-end broadband solutions to deliver more bandwidth and lower latency. According to a Cisco report, fixed internet traffic is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 23% through 2021. In order to meet this growing demand, various providers are utilizing existing cable infrastructure.

At Intel, we believe software defined network infrastructure will vastly improve resource management and allow MSOs to offer the bandwidth and lower latencies required for the new and exciting services they will offer their consumers.

Modularizing Cable Access Nodes

With network requirements and delivery models evolving, MSOs need to deploy a mix of access technologies. Today’s hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) nodes are purpose-built and cannot be easily changed after installation, leading to high deployment, inventory, and maintenance costs. Intel, Charter, and others in the industry are pioneering a new concept to address this challenge with the Generic Access Platform (GAP) reference architecture.

Intel has developed a GAP proof-of-concept compute module using the Intel® Xeon® D-2100 processor and Intel® Arria® 10 FPGA to consolidate wired and wireless access technologies on a shared, software-configurable platform. The module can run a wide range of network functions and new services within stringent power, space, and cost constraints. Intel plans to work with ecosystem partners to develop a GAP reference architecture that employs Intel® processors and an Intel-based remote PHY platform to create commercial compute modules based on the most recent GAP specification from SCTE (Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers). Using the tenets of NFVI, GAP nodes can be architected to also extend intelligence to the network’s edge.

For more information about the GAP reference architecture, please read the recently published solution brief and join us for an Innovation Theatre presentation at Cable-Tec Expo 2018 entitled: The ‘Cable Node’ of the future is intelligent, modular and scalable on Thursday, Oct. 25th at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Improving Efficiency via Virtualization

By virtualizing their networks and leveraging the latest data center technologies, MSOs can create an agile, software programmable network that can scale to meet the demands of today and the future. One immediate virtualization opportunity is at the edge of the fixed wireline network, where flexible and scalable virtual Converged Cable Access Platforms (vCCAP) and vCMTS (virtual Cable Modem Termination Systems) are beginning to be deployed. At Cable-Tec Expo 2018, Intel will show how a solution that adds intelligent orchestration and automation frameworks to the NFVI can autonomously determine opportunities to consolidate the vCCAP (or other VNF workloads) onto the fewest number of servers possible, reducing power usage by nearly 60% on average.

At the expo on Monday, we will have our Principle Engineers speaking at the Virtualizing the CMTS: Who’s Doing What in vCMTS-ville session discussing this state of the art research and development and its impact on the industry. In addition we invite you to check out our recently published whitepapers on how virtualization, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI) are being utilized to usher in a new era of intelligence and optimization for today’s rapidly changing networks.

Looking to 5G and the Future

GAP, virtualization, and AI are all ways for cable networks to help keep pace with increasing demands for bandwidth. Together, they can transform the business. Looking to the future, MSOs will look to leverage existing HFC networks to participate in the coming 5G era which will bring exciting new means of connectivity and use cases. Now’s the time to start planning. It’s an invigorating time in the industry, and I hope you can join us for conversations, demos, and panels happening at this year’s Cable-Tec Expo.

For more information about Intel’s investments in network technology for the cable industry, visit intel.com/cable.

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Dan Rodriguez

About Dan Rodriguez

Daniel C. Rodriguez is vice president in the Network Platforms Group and general manager of the group’s communications infrastructure division at Intel Corporation. He leads strategy for the division’s various market segments and manages Intel’s business in those segments, which include wireless core, cable infrastructure, routers and switches, and network security. Rodriguez and his organization are key contributors to Intel’s network transformation strategy, which focuses on workload convergence on Intel architecture and developing platforms to support network functions virtualization. Before assuming his current role in 2015, he spent four years as wireless infrastructure marketing director expanding that aspect of Intel’s networking business. Rodriguez has also played an influential role in several of Intel’s flagship networking products and technologies, including Intel® QuickAssist Technology and the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit. Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Arizona State University and earned his MBA degree from the University of Southern California.