Can Network Operators Solve Virtualization Issues With DAA?

Ralph Lee, Manager, Wireless System, Casa Systems

Can Network Operators Solve Virtualization Issues With DAA?Ralph Lee, Manager, Wireless System, Casa Systems

With the increasing demands of customers, the network operators are put on-spot to solve several issues. May it be economical or virtualization issues, there might be an answer for it in Distributed Access Architecture

The cable industry is leaving behind the past and moving towards the future. Its new paradigm is programmed around virtualization. All transactions and relationships are data-oriented making it economical to handle, even from a generic hardware. The network operators have already acknowledged the fact that the headend is no longer a superfluous box. This phenomenon is mainly fueled by Distributed Access Architecture (DAA). The DAA method efficiently deals with numerable challenges related to the rapid expansion of customer demand. Network operators can solve several issues by implementing the new architecture. Some of the challenges the DAA can handle are:

Cost of Equipment:

Network Operators have the freedom to control all IP packets, whether it is voice, video or data. When these packets of data are converted to Radio Frequency (RF) for the final leg of the delivery, they cease from being pure digital data. DAA, when utilized with remote PHY or remote MAC/PHY, distributes the physical layer out of the central office making the head office just another data center. Functions like switching and routing can be virtualized, and cached data can be moved closer to the customer with edge servers.

The bottom line benefits are massive, cutting down costs by replacing a dedicated CMTS with less expensive off-the-shelf computing equipment. The network owners can also avoid the risk of vendors lock-in as many of them compete on performance and price. Maintenance is more relaxed, and the management of outdated equipment is not a problem when leasing is an option available on the table.

Bandwidth Management:

All customers demand improved data speeds, while the loose ends keep increasing. Newer technologies like 5G support these demands by promising higher than ever speeds. This not only puts pressure on the bandwidth but also drives the need for solutions. Network operators can reduce the amount of RF cable and therefore curb the noise and attenuations by shorter cable connections. The high-speed technologies and fiber networks carry data closer to the customer's endpoint with DAA. The deployment of Remote PHY nodes linked by fiber to the CCAP is an ideal option of network operators.

Fiber-optic connections are economical and ergonomic. It can flexibly adapt to the increasing demands with the addition of new nodes wherever necessary. This approach makes delivering increased data volumes at high speeds a feasible goal.

 Data Latency:

Network operators should understand the requirement of the customer, as they may not realize it. One such issue is the reduced latency, which the customers mistake for the speed of data. The customers aren't pushing through massive amounts of data, but, they expect an instantaneous response.

An example of this is the gaming market. A typical online game transmits and receives smaller data packets, but a longer transactional time between these exchanges results in a slow reaction. These slow reaction times can affect the gameplay of the player, in turn, ruining the character's performance in the game.

Another example is video conferencing; it requires good values of bandwidth and low latency. With good bandwidth, high resolution and frame rates are displayed with higher clarity and minimizing the latency can avoid the perceptible delays. When the latency is low, the conversation feels real-time. By moving the equipment nearer to the customer, the delays can be eliminated..

Centralized Plant:

The increase in customer demands leads to an inevitable necessity for more hardware. A burden will be placed on the physical plant if not upgraded. A centralized station takes up more space with an increasing number of installations and power delivery all at one place with no backups in case of emergencies.

Conversion to and from RF signals is a significant portion of the necessities that accompany demand. Each cable connections takes up a substantial and irreducible amount of space, adding to the complexity of the installations. Since DAA moves the physical element away from the central office and nearer to the customers, the whole process is decentralized. The processing hardware is distributed across multiple locations, and parts of the architecture are also deployed to the cloud servers, making them completely off-premises.

By keeping their networks up-to-date, Network Operators can satiate the customers' demands and push through the competition in the market. By implementing DAA into the infrastructure, various issues can also be tackled and excelled.

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