Juniper Networks and partner Gainspeed have introduced what they’re calling the Virtual Converged Cable Access Platform (Virtual CCAP), which keeps all the functionality of CCAP but with a significantly different architectural approach.

Juniper Networks has integrated Gainspeed’s software with its MX Series 3D Universal Edge Routers and EX Series Switches. Juniper Investments has backed the startup.  

The proposal enables MSOs to leave all the equipment they have now in place, but as they grow, shift to Virtual CCAP – which is a Remote PHY plus Remote MAC approach – and stop deploying redundant routing resources in the form of CMTSs, in favor of enabling the edge routers that operators already have installed.  

The challenge is that standard routers are not geared up to properly manage cable network traffic; they are not DOCSIS aware, explained Gainspeed chief strategy officer Jeff White. What Gainspeed has done is develop software that enables standard routers to properly handle cable network traffic.

The next step, White said, is to deconstruct the EQAM, by putting the PHY in the node. “That leaves you with no cable-specific gear in the headend. DOCSIS is designed for RF – we push it to where the RF is – in the node.”

What you end up with is off-the-shelf IP all through the headend all the way down to the node, with all the potential capex and opex savings one might expect attached.  

The two companies expects the architectural approach can reduce the total cost of capacity by as much as 67 percent, as compared to existing solutions by alleviating power, space and cooling constraints on existing facilities and eliminating physical CMTSs.

They also expect the architecture to lead to an increase in automation of the overall Cable MSO network, and specifically the edge/access infrastructure, as it will allow for the seamless transition to an all IP, all-DOCSIS environment

The approach should also enable MSOs to use DOCSIS to deliver more than just high-speed data, thus opening up a host of revenue opportunities for operators such as commercial VPNs, WiFi backhaul, small-cell backhaul, and carrier-grade MPLS services

Sam Chernak, senior vice president of network architecture, Comcast, said, “We are excited to see innovation in our DOCSIS edge and pleased to see a networking partner like Juniper working with an innovative company like Gainspeed to help bring this forward.”

White said Gainspeed is also working with CommScope, Netgear and JDSU.