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Cable operators opt to virtualize, Dell’Oro

When it comes to the migration to virtualize, global cable operators are all in accord – according to Dell’Oro Group.

The research firm released its report “Mapping the Future of Cable Virtualization,” which found the entirety of respondents have already deployed or plan to deploy a virtualized cable modem termination system (vCMTS) architecture model in their networks within the next year.

Throughout the first quarter of 2022, the survey collected information from various C-level execs, VPs, and directors across 50 global cable operators – all with broadband networks and residential broadband service provisions.

vCMTS – an edge access network function for cable access networks – is a layer-2 router for delivering cable broadband to modems in subscriber homes. Jeff Heynen, VP analyst of Broadband Access and Home Networking and lead analyst for the survey, stated that the vCMTS platforms and distributed access architecture (DAA) are the current phase in an evolution toward the larger goal to virtualize.

“One of the biggest drivers for cable operators was scale,” Heynen told SDxCentral. “When operators began to look at how much bandwidth they would need to deliver to subscribers to remain competitive, it became clear that the traditional, hardware-based CMTS platforms would have a difficult time scaling to support that capacity without requiring significantly more rack space, as well as power.”

While DAA and virtualization provides clear benefits – particularly in highly competitive environments – Heynen explained the process requires cable operators deviate from typical behaviors.

“According to our respondents, operationalizing the virtual CMTS platforms will be the biggest challenge. That can mean many different things, of course. But cable operators have historically grown their broadband business and networks by adding capacity incrementally,” Heynen explained.

Virtualization departs from that path, he added, despite the software functions and process to add capacity remaining effectively the same. “For smaller operators, the questions will be whether they will have the necessary expertise in-house to make the shift to virtualization.”

CT Bureau

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