Sponsored by Antronix
Cable operators must look at ways to best future-proof their networks. DOCSIS 4.0 is a desirable innovation strategy, but there are questions that need to be considered and answered.
In this Q&A, SmartBrief chats with Neil Tang, president, CEO of Antronix and Board member of Teleste Intercept, and Hanno Narjus, CEO of Teleste Intercept, to discuss what operators must ponder as they look to DOCSIS 4.0 in terms of technology and rollout considerations. The conversation also delves into how Antronix and Teleste Intercept became partners and how they are developing products to ensure the 10G rollout becomes a reality.
SmartBrief: What are the key considerations of DOCSIS 4.0 rollouts for operators and what are Antronix and Teleste Intercept seeing and hearing in the market?
Tang: At the highest level, the key consideration is economics. Operators need to weigh out the cost of the technical realities of deciding on a DOCSIS 4.0 network innovation strategy. Some examples are cutting in new taps, spacing of cable actives, need for booster amps, tilt compensation and signal conditioning to name a few. As you know, cable has been a notoriously slow industry when it comes to committing to major technology shifts, but I think there is an appetite to achieve the speeds for next-gen networks.
Narjus: Neil is absolutely correct. With DOCSIS 4.0, we see networks are evolving rapidly on many fronts. The back office is transforming from purpose-built hardware and “big iron” implementations to cloud-native virtual applications. Any DOCSIS 4.0 deployments assume DAA as architecture of choice. And finally, the 1.8 GHz coax plant will bring with it replacement of millions of outside plant devices, which will be a time-consuming exercise. In addition to cost, also service interruptions to consumers play a role. I’d also like to remind that the best strategy for cable operators to keep fiber competition at bay is to demonstrate strong commitment to invest in 10G capable networks, and DOCSIS 4.0 is the way to do it for the majority of the network footprint.
SmartBrief: Neil you mentioned some technology cost considerations, what are the factors moving to DOCSIS 4.0 rollouts for broadband operators?
Tang: Sure, I think it is important that we can meet our customers where they are on their Expanded DOCSIS journey. There is no cookie cutter approach in cable. Each operator in each market has an array of factors to consider when deciding on the “when” and the “how” to increase network speed in the hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) network. I like to think, this is where Antronix can consult and help operators understand their options to achieve their goals. Naturally, the Antronix product line has been developed to offer all manner of solutions depending on our customer’s needs.
Narjus: I’d like to point out that there are more interdependencies across various parts of the access network compared to previous versions of DOCSIS: virtualization; DAA migration; spectrum upgrade; consumer premises and in-home networks; legacy services like video. Every MSO must define their own migration strategies and defining such migration strategies where everything fits together is a reasonably complex exercise. With 1.8 GHz passives being available today and amplifiers in 2023, the operators need to consider when they want to move deploying 1.8 GHz -proof coax upgrades. There are two choices: 1) start deploying 1.8 GHz early, i.e. in conjunction with high-split upgrades or 2) start less aggressive deployment in sync with targeted 10G broadband product launch.
Tang: That is a good distinction point Hanno.
SmartBrief: How do Antronix and Teleste Intercept work together for domestic broadband operators?
Tang: Teleste Intercept is a joint venture that was formed by Antronix and Teleste in 2017. Our venture aims to provide best-of-breed access network platforms for the North American broadband market. Together, we provide critical solutions that deliver superior end-to-end performance. I think having expertise in both the active and passive networks as well as advanced optics makes us unique among broadband technology providers.
Teleste Intercept technology platforms solutions allow operators to maximize scale and deliver widely available and highly serviceable gigabit speeds over HFC architectures.
Narjus: I think the common denominators across Antronix and Teleste Intercept are our sharp focus on the cable access market and our heritage to bring significant technology innovations for the benefit of cable operators. I’m also convinced that our tight technology collaboration will bring more fine-tuned products to the market as together we can predict possible challenges in building DOCSIS 4.0 ESD networks and incorporate solutions already during the R&D phase. As a result, there should be less hiccups when network deployments are starting. And finally, I’m convinced that Teleste Intercept is in a solid position to address supply-chain challenges: we are both in control of our own manufacturing and R&D, which combined with Antronix long-term experience in serving North American MSOs should give us superior background to ensure delivery capability within a challenging global market situation.