With DOCSIS 3.0 continuing to be a hot topic, upstream channel bonding could prove to be a conversation-starter on the show floor this year.

While operators are comfortable with downstream bonding, when the concept is applied to the return path, the increase in modulation to 64 QAM and the additional load on the return path transmitter can cause a performance degradation, depending on the distance and the installed equipment, says Dawn Emms, director of marketing at Aurora Networks.

“There are a lot of nodes out there that have been out there for a long time and are based on analog return technology,” Emms tells Communications Technology. “The question is, do you replace the entire node and put in something that will support digital return?”

Another option is to use a virtual hub or collector node that sits in the actual node, receives analog and then transmits digitally back to the headend, Emms adds, and the concept of the Converged Multiservice Access (CMAP) platform also is spurring interest on the show floor. The idea is to consolidate narrowcast transport into a single platform to save headend space and reduce power costs.

“That then doesn’t take into account the optical transport,” she says. Aurora is showcasing a new C-band DWDM transmitter that will carry both narrowcast QAM and a certain number of analog broadcast channels.
           
“Cable operators like to invest and move gradually. Take the network step-by-step and not rip out and start over again,” says Emms.

One version of the new transmitter will support 30 analog channels and the balance QAM, while the second unit is optimized with 79 analog and the rest QAM. “For operators who are still carrying significant analog channels, it fits better,” Emms explains.

Aurora also is highlighting several new RFoG products for the virtual hub, but with extended reach and extra horsepower. “In some instances you can feed RFoG directly from the headend,” Emms says. “The virtual hub brings many advantages. Even for shorter distances, some operators like things based in the chassis.”

-Monta Monaco Hernon

The Daily

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