Over the past few years, the demand for bandwidth has risen exponentially. The primary catalysts for this growth are the increased accessibility of smartphones and other digital devices, along with a sharp rise in video consumption.
As a result, telecommunications companies find it more challenging to manage critical network operations such as power consumption, physical space, and cooling in head-end locations. With this comes the need for a reliable, economically feasible, and sustainable solution.
In this regard, telcos are turning to Distributed Access Infrastructure (DAA). Although it is still in the early stages of deployment, lab test results are encouraging. They demonstrate that aligning a DAA operational model with market drivers and using proven orchestration and automation tools helps navigate challenges and enhance efficiency.
This white paper explores how IT and network leaders can leverage DAA automation to reduce manual tasks and increase more value for the company.
Challenges of DAA Deployment
Innovations and new technologies can offer significant benefits in the telecommunications sector. However, they also present just as many challenges with adoption and deployment. DAA deployment is not an exception as it comes with challenges on three different levels:
Even as network providers were struggling with bandwidth demands, the challenges were further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although they span all user bases, the growing demand in the B2B services space contributes the most.
To help handle such bandwidth demands, DAA comes with multi-Gigabit and symmetric services, which will also boost the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).
However, these services require a lot of IT resources to be deployed and maintained. To complicate things further, there are no proven methodologies for deployment automation that would help reduce the risks involved in DAA deployments.
From an engineering point of view, different factors need to be considered for a successful DAA deployment. The first one is the kind of data (voice, video, and Internet) traffic that has to be supported with the help of the DAA network. This will play a major role in determining which type of IT resources needs to be deployed and how they should be handled, leading to a successful DAA deployment.
Determining the bandwidth, resources, and interconnections necessary are just some of the challenges that IT professionals face when it comes to DAA deployment. Addressing these challenges will come with a time and money factor, which is why there is need for automation during DAA deployment.
Benefits of DAA Deployment
Despite the challenges, DAA deployment automation is a win-win situation for both IT and network professionals as well as businesses. It will offer benefits in the following areas:
Businesses will enjoy the following business-related benefits when it comes to DAA deployment automation:
- Cost-effective delivery of multi-Gigabit speeds: DAA deployment automation will help companies address network scalability issues by deploying DAA resources as per the changing demands. This will help deliver multi-Gigabit speeds without investing in additional bandwidth infrastructure, thus saving on costs and improving business efficiency with faster data transmission rates and reduced delays between data transfer events.
- Increased revenue opportunities: The growing need for bandwidth, coupled with the limited bandwidth available, has forced companies to explore new avenues for revenue generation. Even as bandwidth is a limited resource and can be very costly in certain areas, DAA deployment automation will help companies build new revenue models around it by providing them with more bandwidth than ever before.
For engineering managers and engineers, DAA deployment will offer the following benefits:
- Automation of IT resources based on bandwidth requirements: This will occur for different applications (voice, video, and data), which can be monetized through a single platform. A single platform solution that can automate both SDN and NFV based on the objectives of each project and location. A single solution for network, application, and business needs.
- Bring services closer to the customer: DAA deployment automation will help IT operations deploy applications and services closer to where they are needed. This will improve customer satisfaction as people get quicker access to bandwidth-hungry applications such as video streaming, live meetings, and social media.
- Opens the way for virtualization of the network: DAA deployment automation will eliminate the need for physical networking resources. It will also help reduce the need for more bandwidth and improve agility in deploying new applications without adding more hardware – thus enabling a move towards a virtualized environment.
- Multi-vendor end-to-end codeless Orchestration: DAA deployment automation will be the heart of the next-generation data center and network. Multi-vendor, end-to-end codeless orchestration in one place will help with Quality of Service (QoS) issues, reduce any element of a single point of failure, maximize the use of existing infrastructure resources and deliver a better customer service experience.
For management teams and front-line operations staff, DAA deployment automation will offer the following benefits:
- Easier, faster deployment of network resources: Operations will be able to launch new applications and services in a matter of minutes through an automated DAA resource provisioning process. This will allow them to easily meet their customers’ demands for higher-quality and bandwidth-intensive services.
- Overall improved efficiency: Operations teams will be able to reduce deployment time for new network resources from weeks to minutes, freeing up personnel resources for other projects that will help improve the service quality, customer satisfaction levels, and financial returns of their business. Finally, automated DAA resource provisioning can also help operations managers identify unused network resources and make them available for deployment.
- End-to-end DAA diagnostic and troubleshooting: DAA deployment automation will allow operations teams to troubleshoot every aspect of the DAA solution, from top to bottom. This comprehensive view into network functionality helps them resolve issues quickly and more efficiently than any other method. With this level of insight, operations staff can identify a problem across multiple network functions and locate its cause easily without wasting time looking for the underlying issue.
- Easier for IT operations to use innovative technologies: This will help deliver customized, high-quality services that meet the demands of bandwidth-hungry applications without adding more hardware – thus enabling a move towards a virtualized environment. This helps them remain competitive in today’s highly competitive telecommunications industry by putting them ahead of their competitors and delivering the services that their customers want.
Considering the current state of the telecommunications industry, DAA deployment automation is a necessity rather than an option. So if you’re planning on deploying DAA in your network, don’t forget to factor in an automated installation!
Technology Enablers of DAA
The success of DAA deployment is reliant on technology enablers such as:
DAA DOCSIS specifications and technologies
DOCSIS is a key enabler for DAA deployment. It allows cable and fiber network operators to reconfigure their existing HFC infrastructure into an elastic access layer that provides real-time programmability, visibility, flexibility, and virtualization capabilities. The latest version of DOCSIS specifications – DOCSIS 3.1 – provides the tools needed to enable DAA deployment automation.
CIN Digitized access network
CIN technology streamlines the delivery of services. It allows for virtualization, automated provisioning, and IT integration through closed-loop network operations. Gains in flexibility, programmability, and end-user experience are achieved with this all-IP network based on the latest CIN specifications – CIN 3.1 – that build upon previous versions.
DOCSIS 4.0 & Full Duplex DOCSIS
DOCSIS 4.0 is a crucial enabler for DAA deployment automation – it will offer an improved user experience, efficiency, and flexibility on HFC networks. CableLabs has already started implementing Full Duplex DOCSIS technology to support bandwidth demands above 100 MHz into end-users’ premises while enabling backward compatibility with DOCSIS 3.x modems.
Standards-based CCAPs and RPDs
Standards-based CCAPs and RPDs will provide flexibility and scalability for the operator. They also enable significant cost savings over proprietary equipment due to more efficient manufacturing processes that reduce hardware costs and operational expenses. In place of proprietary architectures, standards-based IT components can create a flexible, scalable, and manageable overall solution.
Secure connectivity and security patches
It is vital to keep all equipment – especially CCAPs and RPDs – up-to-date with the latest security patches to maintain network security. In addition, the access and edge devices should be able to access the operator’s secure Internet connection to download updates. DAA deployment automation tools must ensure that this is possible.
Fixed/Mobile service and network convergence
The architecture of the DAA deployment must be flexible enough to enable fixed/mobile convergence. The network should support traditional, fixed services for users as well as serve as an integrated platform capable of supporting a variety of mobile services such as VoLTE.
Deployments Status of DAA and Expected Evolution
Since the height of the pandemic, upstream and downstream traffic has grown by roughly 40-50% as internet growth outpaced the decline of pay-TV. Whereas there has been a 15% increase in the revenues of Cable access vendors during the first quarter of 2021, there’s more potential to unlock.
At this time, pressing needs come in the form of putting the necessary infrastructure in place. For instance, 60-70% more fiber is necessary to deploy N+0 Nodes.
With the current growth and deployment rate, projections suggest that DS bandwidth requirements will reach 4 Gbps in 2028.
Next Steps in DAA Deployment Evolution
Undoubtedly, DAA has transformative potential. But, what can it offer in terms of zero-touch, self-service, system reliance, and real-time processes? In the future, one imagines that DAA deployment automation tools will include all of these features.
For example, cable operators will achieve this by leveraging a framework on an RPD’s data plane to configure and manage itself. They may also leverage the RPD stack to support real-time processes. For instance, OSS functions can be distributed to the RPD(s), where they will be able to execute in real-time. This can help establish zero-touch provisioning, self-service, and system reliance.
The Power of Intraway’s Symphonica
Symphonica is a true, vendor agnostic, cloud-native solution designed to support rapid growth and change; to meet aggressive time to market demands; to provide massive cost advantages over traditional and incumbent technologies.
CSPs can leave behind their silo-structured B/OSS approach and implement a centralized solution to automate the entire life cycle of services orchestrated across multiple networks and technology domains without investing in time-consuming and budget-heavy projects, reducing operational costs and speeding up time-to-market. They can also simplify IT and network operations by moving to a managed, no-code, cloud-native solution.
Symphonica is designed based on microservices and Open APIs, it’s aligned with TM Forum and MEF standards and is deployed on containers managed by Kubernetes, allowing the platform to scale vertically and horizontally according to the requirements of the business. Leveraging event-oriented architecture built on Apache Kafka, Symphonica is highly available and scalable with all components running in active/active mode. It supports asynchronous order processing to guarantee highly efficient resource utilization.
Symphonica’s flexible, cloud-based implementation infrastructure can be deployed in minutes.
It supports geographical distribution among its device connectors, greatly reducing latency while enabling load-balancing in each region. Symphonica was developed using state-of-the-art languages like Java with a Spring Boot stack and reuses open components from Netflix like Zuul, Eureka, Ribbon, and Hystrix.
To learn more about Symphonica, please visit www.symphonica.com