Harmonic has introduced its first CMTS, the NSG Exo. The NSG Exo complements the company’s QAM products; working in tandem they are the two key elements in a distributed access architecture (DAA) implementation of a converged cable access platform (CCAP).

The DAA approach serves to push cable-specific headend equipment into nodes. As a practical matter, the node can be reached with Ethernet, which means RF transport is no longer necessary from headend to node – only from node to home, ultimately simplifying networks, saving power and making maintenance easier.

“At the headend, you put a switch or a router, so it’s digital fiber – essentially Ethernet – to the node or the curb,” said Asaf Matatyaou, Harmonic’s director, cable edge and access solutions. “You put CMTS functionality right at the edge. The unit goes in a basement, or into an outdoor enclosure.”

The system draws 45 watts. “You get gigabit in, and you can serve hundreds on the power of a light bulb,” Matatyaou said.

Initially this approach is apt to be used largely to serve MDUs (multiple dwelling units) and the hospitality market.

The company expects it to be appropriate not only for MSOs, but by operators of any type of network (or mix of networks, a common occurrence in markets outside the U.S.), he explained, adding that that could very well include the owners of the facilities being wired for service.

For most cable operators, the system is likely to be used to serve incremental business; for other service companies and non-traditional operators, it can allow them to get new business.

The CCAP-ready NSG Exo includes DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS/J-DOCSIS CMTS capabilities today with universal edgeQAM capabilities coming soon. Interfaces are available for GigE, GPON, or EPON networks. Anyone using the system can use standard DOCSIS modems and DOCSIS provisioning systems.

Initially, NSG Exo will be available in an indoor enclosure as a 1-RU, 19-inch wide chassis. The company does not yet have outdoor enclosures but will soon make them available. Matatyaou said the NSG Exo is currently in multiple trials, and will be available commercially in the third quarter.