Product Releases

Cisco’s CMTS modules step toward CCAP

Wed, 12/12/2012 - 1:51pm
Brian Santo

Cisco today introduced upgrades to its CMTS that constitute the middle step of the company’s three-phase migration plan toward the proposed Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP).

Cisco introduced a new line card, the 3 Gigabit Shared Port Adapter (3GSPA), that increases not only the downstream capacity of its flagship CMTS, the uBR10012 Universal Broadband Router (uBR10K), but also capacity back to the core. The company also introduced a new processing engine for the uBR10K called the Performance Routing Engine (PRE5).

Together, the 3GSPA and PRE5 double the number of downstream channels available for the uBR10K, from a total of 576 to 1,152. Channels can be added in increments, on a pay-as-you-go basis, VP and general manager of Cisco’s Cable Access business unit Mark Palazzo told CED. Up to eight 3GSPA line cards can be used per Cisco uBR10K CMTS. Each 3GSPA card can support up to 72 downstream licenses per port.

Facing back toward the core, the PRE5 will quadruple transmission rates from 10 Gbps to 40 Gbps. Capacity can be added in 10G increments, as needed, also pay as you go, Palazzo said.

Because the upgrade is accomplished with a line card swap, no additional rack space is consumed.  

Cisco said it is planning for trials of the new PRE5 and 3GSPA modules with several major global service provider customers beginning in the first quarter of next year, as customers get ready for CCAP trials and deployments.

Cisco’s CCAP migration plan has three phases. The first was manifested in the company’s RF Gateway-10 Universal Edge QAM, introduced earlier this year. Among other benefits, that system helps lower the cost per downstream, with reduction in rack space and power usage.

The second phase included today’s introductions.

The third phase would be a new system that marries the capabilities of QAM and CMTS, as envisioned in the CCAP roadmap.

That would, of course, constitute a forklift upgrade, Palazzo agreed. But, “that will be a rack-and-a-half system that will significantly reduce space and power consumption, with a significant increase in capacity. Assuming the operator has gone through the previous steps, this should be seamless.”

As a practical matter, the introductions today should satisfy nearly every MSO’s capacity needs for several years yet, he said. Those among Cisco’s customers with the most traffic growth might need to transition to the new CCAP-compliant combo QAM/CMTS as early as 2016 or so, Palazzo said. For many MSOs, however, the capacity afforded by today’s introductions might be adequate through 2020 and perhaps even beyond.

CCAP is the new cable access architecture in the works that combines the functions of two key technologies: the cable modem termination system (powers DOCSIS® and other high-speed broadband services) and edge QAM (powers video services). Combining the two functions helps service providers reduce rack space, save power, and accelerate the transition to an all-IP network that can simplify the delivery of video content to multiple screens.


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