An extension of DOCSIS 3.1, Remote PHY is the product of cable operators asking the industry to help them overcome the limitations of analog fiber and break through the HFC bottleneck. In its most basic form, Remote PHY unlocks major bandwidth increases in existing access networks by splitting CMTS functions so that CCAP core and physical-layer functions can run separately, in different locations. With Remote PHY, CCAP core routing can run out of larger hubs (or even vCCAP instances in a data center), while QAM and ODFM modulation get pushed out to Remote PHY Devices (RPDs) located nearer to subscribers.
Let's take a look at how Remote PHY can transform your access network:
- Remote PHY enables "fiber deep" architectures that push digital fiber out much closer to homes.
With Remote PHY, you can replace analog HFC fiber nodes in the last mile with nodes connected to next-generation CMTS platforms at hub sites. You can now eliminate the analog fiber network connecting hubs to nodes, replacing it with a less-expensive, higher-quality 10-Gbps or 100-Gbps Ethernet network. With Remote PHY, cable operators can deliver capacity and Gigabit service tiers on par with any pure-fiber competitor, at a fraction of the cost of ripping and replacing the existing HFC plant.
- Remote PHY Node eliminates many of the inefficiencies of analog optics.
Today, cable providers need racks of QAMs stacked together, converting digital services for analog optical transmission. Analog optics have limitations. They can't transmit over long distances, and they generate significant "noise" in the network, reducing quality and limiting capacity. When you deploy Remote PHY devices close to customers, you can eliminate analog transmitters and receivers, and replace them with digital fiber connections, removing most of the noise from your access network. You can use higher-order modulation schemes to deliver much more bandwidth — scaling from a maximum 256 QAM modulation today to 1,024 or 4,096. Add it up, and you can boost data rates over existing HFC infrastructure by 50 percent, at a fraction of the cost of deploying a full FttH architecture.
- Remote PHY boost capacity and lower costs.
With Remote PHY you can remove full-featured CMTS platforms from smaller hubs, freeing up rack space and reducing power and cooling costs. At the same time, you can scale the number of service groups (SGs) those smaller sites can support well beyond existing CMTS capacity. Once you take advantage of Remote PHY, your hub sites are much simpler. Now, you can virtualize CMTS functions and run them from a centralized or distributed data center alongside other virtualized services. Using applications that draw on network abstraction and orchestration capabilities, you can also automate the configuration of thousands of Remote PHY devices across your access network, and drive down the time and costs of migration.
Why Cisco for Remote PHY?
Cisco's Remote PHY solution is standards-based
Our Open-RPD software architecture was submitted to CableLabs® to become the basis for the new RPD industry standard. With Cisco Remote PHY, you can mix and match standards-based RPDs from multiple vendors, and deploy them as plug-and-play solutions in your nodes.
Our cBR-8 CCAP platforms are built from the ground up to capitalize on Remote PHY. When you roll out Remote PHY, you'll be able to double the service groups each Cisco CMTS platform supports without adding any new hardware to the chassis.
Simple, streamlined migration
With Cisco, you migrate your current cBR-8 CCAP platforms to Remote PHY with a simple software upgrade.
Consolidated complexity, distributed simplicity
Our Remote PHY devices are simple, low-touch/low maintenance devices that just convert digital services for HFC. Complex functions are pushed back into the network, running on fewer platforms at fewer sites.
Fast, simple installation
Our comprehensive orchestration tool makes it easy for field technicians to install Remote PHY. They just scan a QR code, connect the device, and the orchestrator does the rest.