Keeping Pace With Traffic
New technologies and connected devices, along with skyrocketing video consumption rates, are inciting tremendous growth in the variety and volume of cable traffic. As cable traffic skyrockets, keeping pace with demand can prove tedious. Capacity planning is becoming more difficult as short spikes in traffic (known as microbursts) and unpredictable waves of visitors become commonplace.
Before long, cable networks will be running up against new roadblocks. The advent of bandwidth-intensive applications like 3D and 4k video, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) has presented a web of challenges to cable network providers. On top of unprecedented growth, more diverse traffic patterns are anticipated to cause trouble for communication service providers (CSPs).
Modern-day CSPs have found themselves facing a myriad of requirements. They’re driven to add and retain customers in order to stay in service, but they also need to offer differentiated services in order to set themselves apart from the pack. Maintaining a superior quality of experience (QoE) in today’s aggressive and competitive broadband services market is critical.
With average revenue per user (ARPU) on a steady decline, it’s essential for CSPs to invest time, effort, and manpower in the surge to meet capacity demands and locate opportunities for savings. New sources of revenue must be sought out aggressively in order to preserve already-shrinking profit margins.
There are as many options in place for solving these issues as there are vendors. Until now, however, no one approach has proven to be economically feasible. Now, in partnership with CableLabs Kyrio Lab and multiple industry vendors, Intraway is proud to present a system designed to offer solutions to one primary use case for cable operators: the economical and efficient deployment of gigabit broadband.
Altering the Landscape of Network & Service Management
Three key technical trends are behind the transformation of the ways networks (and network services) are created and subsequently managed: virtualization, convergence, and edge computing.
Virtualization refers to the process by which network functions and services are transitioned from appliances and purpose-built hardware to software applications. These applications run on standardized servers.
Convergence centers around the ability to use one network core to combine various types of access networks (i.e. DOCSIS, WiFi, HFC, LTE/5G, etc.). With convergence at play, operating multiple separate networks is no longer necessary. Now, single networks can be operated at cores with numerous access technologies facing the customer base.
Edge computing refers to a belief system that hinges on the possibility of nearly any unlimited computer, storage, and network resources being packaged in nearly any form. These resources can then be deployed to any location within a network– whether it be in the core of the network, at its edge, or to the customer premise.
This notion affords operators the freedom to carefully tailor hardware resources based on service offerings. Perhaps even more critical than this is the unmatched capability to distribute intelligence network-wide that’s afforded to operators. Deploying innovative applications that capitalize on machine learning and AI, distributed data processing, and ultra-low latency becomes a breeze.
CSPs industry-wide are jumping at the chance to take advantage of these three macro trends. They’re not just developing new, unique approaches to existing services– in many cases, they’re creating new services entirely.
The Kyrio NFV Interop Lab at CableLabs operates with a heavy focus on integration and the demonstration of proof of concept systems. The lab showcases innovative ways in which new technologies can be applied to problems new and old; there’s also a push to create new service opportunities.
Kyrio, as the integration partner in this product, introduced an example of such a system. Their unique and forward-thinking solution offers answers to a primary use case for cable operators: the economical and efficient deployment of gigabit broadband.
Managing High-Bandwidth Demand Through the Enablement of DOCSIS 3.1
Through experimentation, many operators have discovered that DOCSIS distributed access architecture (DAA) plays a key role in enabling gigabit speeds over the HFC network. While it offers greater efficiency than previous generations when it comes to handling high-bandwidth traffic, the conventional CCAP architecture often deployed today presents problems. The architecture struggles to deliver the additional scalability, cost savings, service agility, and capacity that CSPs require if they want to meet growing demand.
Provisioning remote PHY nodes to a CCAP core is one flexible, efficient strategy that offers the freedom to extend networks and deliver high-speed connectivity to their customer bases.
Virtual CCAP (vCCAP)
In order to implement a virtual CCAP, three elements must be present: a virtual CTMS system, orchestration, and cloud infrastructure.
vCCAPs are deployed on industry-standard x86 hardware onto one or multiple NFV platforms. They are combined in centralized data centers. RPDs are installed near the customer (on the fringes of a network) on node sites. RPds serve low-latency, high-speed connections and simultaneously offer savings on cooling, space, and power costs for the headend.
Virtual CCAP takes advantage of and utilizes standard server hardware that affords the option to cost-effectively scale processing, memory, and I/O resources up or down. It also improves service quality and reliability. With vCCAP, the HFC Network is afforded the capacity for application intelligence to elevate the aforementioned features.
vCCAP & Remote PHY Device (RPD) Provisioning and Orchestration
The second element of virtual CCAP implementation is management, orchestration, and control. In order for a virtual CMTS system to be deployed in a production network, and orchestration layer must be present to automate deployment. Regardless of scale, it’s never practical to manage distributed, complex network elements by hand.
Cable Virtual Infrastructure Management
Intraway’s Symphonica orchestration engine offers the multi-level organization that projects of this magnitude require. The Symphonica orchestration engine can be utilized by service providers looking to make the transition from the physical, fixed network to their virtualized dynamic counterparts.
It’s an open, catalog-driven solution that automates a variety of key factors like fulfillment, design, and the assurance of network services. This automation can take place from any virtual network function over every mainstream management system and SDN controller.
Dynamic Resource Allocation Across the vCCAP
Symphonica can be tremendously beneficial to those looking to allocate resources across the vCCAP in a dynamic manner. Under various conditions of fault management, user experience, and service availability, Symphonica offers excellent flexibility. In events where a node is impacted by heavy traffic during peak usage times or experiences a microburst, it’s easy to scale processing capacity up. This relieves pressure on the network and leads to improved serviceability for customers.
Dynamic services can also be utilized in instances where RPDs go without use for several hours during the night. Through the use of VM live migration, that site can be consolidated along with other low-traffic RPDs on just a few computer servers. Then, unused servers can be powered off to help conserve energy and keep operating costs down.
The orchestrator is responsible for the automation of design, fulfillment, and assurance processes. It is the orchestrator that allows CSPs to create new services and implement them nearly instantly.
The CVIM is home to a list of physical and virtual network resources; it also features a catalog of service parameter models. CVIM leverages Instrway’s real-time service design technology in order to create services. These services are designed through the combination of service parameter models from the catalog and a host of other parameters. These may include customer orders, data center status, and other factors.
Resolving service issues becomes a much quicker process when this closed-loop process of design-fulfillment-assurance is in place. Error-prone manual processes are all but eradicated. Business and operational processes are also simplified due to CVIM’s ability to integrate with operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS).
Network Slicing and Optimization
CVIM can perform network slicing and service chaining. These capabilities open up countless possibilities for service differentiation and network optimization for CSPs. Network slicing, for example, serves to split vCCAP traffic into numerous streams. Once traffic has been split, it can be allocated to various customers or applications based on QoS requirements.
CSPs seeking to transition away from deploying physical network appliances and make the shift towards implementing virtual network functions have to adopt standardized solutions network-wide and avoid vendor lock-in. CASA, Intraway, Aparna, and Wind River are each committed to supporting this level of openness and choice.
Our combined vCCAP solution is based on open APIs and standard interfaces at every level. We offer standard logging interfaces, interfaces for OSS/BSS systems, and management and orchestration APIs geared to help make problem investigation and troubleshooting easier.
The final element of a vCCAP is the cloud infrastructure. This infrastructure hosts the virtual CMTS application; it’s little more than a group of servers and a software layer designed to aggregate underlying resources into a single resource pool. This is the NEtwork Function Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVi).
The virtual CMTS system operates on two cloud environments located on two separate hardware platforms. One of these instances in OPNFC OpenStack, an open-source virtualization platform. The other is the Wind River Titanium Cloud, which is a vendor-support virtualization platform.
High-Density Server Platforms
The evolution of server and hardware design deserves a closing mention. As silicon transistor densities continue to rise, servers increase their capability to offer more power in smaller packages. Cell phones now have more power than laptops from even a year ago; entire computer systems can now be downsized onto individual silicon chips.
Within the system, we have two incredibly high-density server platforms: the SymKLOUD 2029 from Kontron AG and the uCloud 4015 from Aparna Systems. Both platforms have enough power to run datacenter cloud workloads without taking up a sizable amount of physical space; this is the key benefit of miniaturization. It offers freedom for flexible resource placement.
Intraway: Transforming the Operator-Vendor Relationship One Business Challenge at a Time
Intraway’s fulfillment and assurance solutions are an integral part of business for over 22 million subscribers in more than 20 countries. Our services are behind the work that global telecommunications operators are doing to create the network of the future. We seek to unleash the full potential of networks; and, in doing so, we advance customer-centricity, reduce operational costs, and speed up time-to-market.
We don’t just empower CSPs– we do it with the guarantee of Amazon Delivery. That means that from the time of our first handshake through the deployment process and beyond, we’ll serve as your trusted partner throughout the service lifecycle. Join us and secure your position as a key player in the global digital transformation.