CommScope offering fully virtualized headend to meet increased bandwidth consumption in post-Covid world

As Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, remote work has become mandatory, which results in a surge for higher bandwidth. The growth in bandwidth consumption is especially evident in massive video conferences, webinars and podcasts. 

In fact, the average downstream bandwidth per subscriber this year recorded was 2.36mbps, according to a consumption trends study by global connectivity solutions expert CommScope. 

The study also highlights a long-term trend for virtual engagement, beyond current network capacity. To meet the ever-changing network demands of the market, CommScope has simplified the move from broadcast technology QAM to IP, thus ensuring a smooth transition towards the post-Covid virtual world. 

Conventionally, as Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) evolves, broadcasters and cable operators have added capacity, known as node splits. However, this method would not be able to meet the current exponential demands in bandwidth. For instance, when headends and hubs are overcrowded, hardware could not offer scalability and flexibility – adding chassis rather than agility. 

It is vital that cable operators meet the required network efficiency with the virtualisation of networks. Through virtualisation of network delivery and operation, it improves service velocity, agility, elastic scalability and lower cost for the organisation.

CommScope offers a fully virtualised headend that encompasses three major elements – data plane (vCore), video plane (VUE) and management plane (vManager) – to pave a clear path for IP evolution.

Virtualised CMTS Core-vCore leverages cloud-computing model to optimise resource utilisation process, as the applications are packaged in separate containers. These apps are loosely coupled and independent of infrastructure, enabling them to be modified or scaled independently of one another. This capability is fundamental to enabling a Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD) environment, which is essential to providing operators the agility to respond to shifting market conditions. 

Furthermore, 3D scaling model inherent to vCore enables service providers to optimise their network design to achieve their QoE objectives while minimising spend on server and switching infrastructure. vCore is optimised to use the smallest number of COTS servers, resulting in reduced space, power and cost.

Every operator has a unique combination of service group sizes, billboard speeds, and usage patterns. CommScope has proprietary traffic modelling tools built on a deep understanding of traffic engineering for access networks. These tools can be used in conjunction with the 3D scaling architecture to enable deployment plans to be “right-sized” for each operator’s unique circumstances rather than using a one-size-fits-all architecture. 

The high throughput and efficient scaling of vCore, combined with the distributed access architecture (DAA), drives significant space and associated cost savings in the headends. 

vManager offers a family of microservices to facilitate deployment configuration and management of the DAA networks, by providing the capability to manage each of the elements of this complex architecture while offering a cohesive, comprehensive management layer. 

Furthermore, vManager provides both human (GUI) and machine (API) interfaces for key installation and operation activities. It also integrates with the CommScope ServAssure NXT platform for richer DOCSIS performance management, optimisation and analytics features while reducing human errors as networks are managed more efficiently. 

The most exciting developments in the coming months are the improvements in speed, capacity and efficiency as networks continue to evolve. For broadcasters and cable operators, CommScope has finely-tuned solutions across a broad portfolio that offer a comprehensive guide to simplify their organisation’s network, automate configuration and improve uptime – by using the latest technologies to get more out of their network infrastructure.

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