Next-Generation CMTS Architecture

Protecting Network Investments While Migrating to Next-Generation CMTS Platforms

White Paper

with a particular focus on the needs of distribution hub and headend locations. The VOD and PVR services are being delivered to conventional set-top boxes via an MPEG 2 transport stream multiplex. To more efficiently deliver video services and more effectively compete with satellite video providers. latency and jitter budgets. since different services will drive different requirements. and presents a solutions approach to network evolution that allows operators to ensure cost-effective migration and the accelerated introduction of new high-bandwidth services. and they must be able to efficiently accommodate the as ymmetric nature of video streams. operators must be able to efficiently implement per-stream traffic engineering and deliver lower-cost bandwidth.” Cable data services are delivered over IP. A significant percentage of traffic will shift from broadcast video to per-user streams as deployment of network Video on Demand (VOD) services enables consumers to move to a user-controlled viewing paradigm. jitter. and latency. latency.Protecting Network Investments While Migrating to Next-Generation CMTS Platforms Introduction This whitepaper provides an overview of the network transitions required to support converged services. but it is clear that traffic is stream -based and sensitive to packet loss. The current HFC network has been designed for efficiently delivering broadcast video service. and latency. and operators will need to assign increasingly more bandwidth and optimize it for digital services. In the short term the transition to per-user video streams is largely taking place in the MPEG domain. Video traffic requirements are not as clearly defined. This requires increased flexibility for adjusting to the evolution of traffic patterns. Voice and data convergence is now largely understood by cable operators. and share voice. This trend will be further accelerated as customers use PCs. “my content at my convenience”. and jitter. and video content for consumption on multiple devices connected using Home Area Networks (HANs). and other client devices to capture. with heavier demands on upstream bandwidth. Although the immediate challenge is to transition MPEG video onto the existing network so it can be profitably delivered with voice and data services. and video will eventually be delivered over IP. Video imposes the greatest demands of all in that it requires dramatically higher bandwidth levels to be provided within strict loss. latency. It discusses how Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) architectures are evolving. Digital Video Recorders (DVRs). Voice requires constant low bandwidth but imposes strict packet loss. Over the longer-term. But even this can be in flux. Data traffic requires the ability to handle bursty traffic flows but is typically tolerant of packet loss. Services and applications are converging. . but service delivery requirements are rapidly evolving. store. video can consume one-to-four megabits per stream for MPEG 2 or MPEG 4 video. The symmetry of application traffic also changes. voice services are now being deployed over IP. data. They must be able to support stream -based flows that are sensitive to packet loss. jitter. since peer-to-peer applications such as music or content sharing can be asymmetric. While a voice call may consume 100 kilobits per call and a data session might consume a megabit of bandwidth. the infrastructure deployed must be capable of evolving into this all IP network. with highdefinition streams requiring seven-to-ten megabits even with MPEG4 compression. Cable operators are now entering the third phase of service convergence as they increasingly add video services to existing data and voice offerings. Video: Driving the Network Transition It is no surprise that the world is going “IP Everywhere. and jitter requirements and it demands higher availability levels. with much greater demands on downstream capacity than upstream. both data and video services are asymmetric. It outlines emerging architectures. While Voice over IP (VoIP) is largely symmetric with roughly equal bandwidth demands on upstream and downstream traffic. more of the video content will be delivered over an end-to-end IP infrastructure directly to televisions and PCs in the home.

Motorola Broadband Communications Sector 3 . The following are the five major elements of a decoupled CMTS: ? ? ? ? ? Gigabit Ethernet Switch Matrix Upstream Receiver PHY Downstream Edge QAM Media Access Control (MAC) Domain Manager Forwarder By briefly exploring the functions of each of these modules and their interworking. Understanding the Decoupled CMTS In today’s product architectures.Protecting Network Investments While Migrating to Next-Generation CMTS Platforms Evolving Architectures for the IP Headend New architectures and new solutions are required to allow broadband cable operators to successfully manage these transitions. The evolution of CMTS functionality is crucial as operators transition toward end-to-end digital networks so they can reclaim bandwidth and not have to go through additional network rebuilds. The trends are becoming clear. While the definition of these logical elements is still evolving—and some functions may move from one element to another—the functions of a CMTS will be allocated among these elements to support greater flexibility for next-generation platforms. but they also want a clear migration path for evolving CMTS functionality for the IP headend. including currently deployed CMTS platforms as well as the millions of cable modems and set-top boxes in the homes of existing subscribers. it is important to select proven CMTS platforms that offer the ability to efficiently meet today’s service requirements while also providing flexible migration paths to accommodate the evolving needs of the IP headend. there are also advantages to decoupling them to provide greater deployment flexibility. since major functions of traditional CMTS platforms are decoupled into logical components. Operators naturally want to extend the life of deployed equipment and increase the Return-on-Investment (ROI) of existing network assets. the headend becomes a crucial transition point. lower-cost edge QAMs must be provided and operators also need the ability to share these QAMs across multiple service offerings. While there are many advantages to containing these functions in a single system chassis. operators also need the flexibility to separately scale upstream and downstream capacity. The ability to leverage industry standards and the economics and efficiencies of IP become major advantages as CMTS architectures are changing to accommodate emerging video services. CMTS architectures are evolving. During this time of transition. In order to support viable cost points for these services. To support rapidly changing service requirements and provide agility to accommodate uncertain acceptance rates of video and other high-speed services. This architectural concept is often referred to in the industry as a “decoupled CMTS”. traditional CMTS functions are largely deployed in integrated systems that offer the reliability and manageability demanded by real-time services. As operators seek an efficient migration path to all-IP networks. and operators need to carefully evaluate vendor migration paths. Cable operators need to partner closely with CMTS vendors to ensure that these platforms evolve to support emerging requirements. and they want next-generation platforms to reduce the complexity of combining RF channels. Cable operators want to benefit from increased network flexibility and enhanced reconfiguration options on CMTS platforms. The economics demand backwards -compatibility and coexistence with existing infrastructure. More individual video streams must be delivered and this drives up the number of QAM streams required on the HFC network. But as networks evolve toward endto-end digital services —and as operators increasingly support increased demand for video and other demanding services—CMTS architectures are evolving to provide increased modularity and flexibility. one can understand architectural tradeoffs and deployment alternatives.

To achieve this. it implements the RF front-end receiver functions and demodulates the upstream QAM and QPSK RF signal bursts received from the cable modems into packets. Upstream Receiver PHY The Upstream Receiver PHY receives packets transmitted from cable modems and converts them into Ethernet format for transmission on the headend Gigabit Ethernet Switch Matrix. In order to achieve the required transparency it must support line-rate switching with minimum latency to enable the effective delivery of real-time services. It then implements the ranging protocol and applies necessary offset parameters to compensate for signal delay. It does not implement any of the intelligence in the system and for the purposes of this description can be considered as a set of dump pipes connecting the other modules. For these control packets it collects timing. Its function is to provide flexible interconnection for the other CMTS components in as transparent a manner as possible. The Gigabit Ethernet Switch Matrix requires redundancy to support high availability of voice. data. . and video services. The Upstream Receiver PHY must also implement physical level functions required by the DOCSIS ranging process. and power information that it forwards to the MAC Domain Manager. frequency offset. It sends the data packets to the Forwarder and the DOCSIS control packets to the MAC Domain Manager via the switch fabric. high-speed switch that provides the fabric for the decoupled CMTS architecture.Protecting Network Investments While Migrating to Next-Generation CMTS Platforms Figure 1 Decoupled CMTS Upstream Receiver PHY Regional IP network Forwarder Gigabit Ethernet Switch Matrix Downstream Edge QAM MAC Domain Manager HFC network Gigabit Ethernet Switch Matrix The Gigabit Ethernet Switch Matrix is a “dumb”.

including authorization of QoS parameters requested.Protecting Network Investments While Migrating to Next-Generation CMTS Platforms The Upstream Receiver PHY supports spectrum management and captures metrics on the physical layer signaling attributes. It implements the DOCSIS MAC-layer protocols including: ? Initial and periodic ranging. It receives DOCSIS packets from the Forwarder or the MAC Domain Manager that are encapsulated within Ethernet packets. The MAC Domain Manager supports Dynamic Channel Change (DCC) and Upstream Channel Change (UCC) for load balancing modems across different upstream and downstream channels. The MAC Domain Manager responds to the ranging requests as cable modems join the network. and forwards this information to the MAC Domain Manager where the complex spectrum management logic runs and where the analysis is performed. The MAC Domain Manager runs the Basic Privacy Interface (BPI) protocol. Dynamic Service Changes (DSx). which becomes more complex in a decoupled CMTS architecture because of the greater flexibility to allocate upstream and downstream resources. which is used to update the encryption keys used for encryption of data between the CMTS and the cable modem. It uses data from the Upstream Receiver PHY to determine the timing. The MPEG data is then modulated into QAM signals. Upstream scheduling. and frequency adjustments needed for optimum performance. upconverted to the appropriate frequency and transmitted onto the HFC plant. Motorola Broadband Communications Sector 5 . The MAC Domain Manager processes the registration requests from cable modems.1 MAC messages to enable additions. These packets contain a control header that tells the Downstream Edge QAM the appropriate interface port to which the packet should be directed.g. DCC & UCC. It must keep track of which cable modems are on which CMTS port interfaces. power. It does not perform the actual data encryption but passes the key information to the Forwarder and to the cable modems. records the data. ? ? ? ? ? Forwarder The Forwarder is responsible for routing traffic between the HFC network and the regional IP network. allowing the operator to aggregate multiple channels for transmission to a single cable modem. It then combines the DOCSIS MPEG streams with video MPEG streams received directly by the Downstream Edge QAM from VOD servers. The MAC Domain Manager creates the DOCSIS MAP messages used to tell the cable modems when they can transmit. Periodic maintenance intervals are scheduled for all active modems to ensure performance is maintained as network conditions change. to a business customer) the Downstream Edge QAM supports inverse multiplexing. If wideband downstream channels are required (e. MAC Domain Manager The MAC Domain Manager handles the control protocols for the DOCSIS cable modems. deletions. Downstream Edge QAM The Downstream Edge QAM takes DOCSIS IP traffic flows from the Forwarder and MAC Domain Manager modules and converts them to RF for transport to subscriber homes. and changes to QoS-enabled service flows to support changing service requirements. It takes the measurements. BPI+. It schedules the upstream traffic based on the QoS parameters required for each service flow. It implements the DOCSIS transmission convergence function to map the DOCSIS packets into an MPEG transport stream and adds the timing information to the DOCSIS header as required. Registration. It differs from the Gigabit Ethernet Switch Matrix in that it makes intelligent forwarding decisions based on network policy and packet content rather than providing local inter module links. The MAC Domain Manager processes the DOCSIS 1.

Protecting Network Investments While Migrating to Next-Generation CMTS Platforms In the downstream direction. Figure 2 Downstream Packet Flow Forwarder Gigabit Ethernet Switch matrix -Receives packet from regional network -Applies access control lists -Routes to edge QAM -Creates DOCSIS header -Implement PHS -Encrypts -Adds to QoS flow -Schedules according to QoS -Encapsulates packet in Ethernet frame -Transmits to Downstream Edge QAM via switch Downstream Edge QAM -Receives packet from switch -Removes Ethernet encapsulation -Routes to RF port -Adds MPEG framing -Fixes DOCSIS timing as required -Multiplexes data with VOD MPEG stream -Implements QAM modulation -Performs Upconversion -Transmits to HFC . These include Access Control Lists (ACLs) to perform filtering. the Forwarder takes the DOCSIS traffic from the regional network and sends it to the correct edge QAM. The Forwarder will also support ancillary DOCSIS protocols such as DOCSIS Set-Top Gateway (DSG) and PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM). expands any packet headers that the cable modems compressed. In a PCMM network. It creates the DOCSIS packet headers and implements Packet Header Suppression (PHS) according to rules provided by the MAC Domain Manager. All packets pass through the Forwarder. In the upstream direction it receives packets from the Upstream Receiver PHY. the Forwarder actually encrypts the packets. packet dropping. The Forwarder will run the appropriate IP routing or spanning tree protocols to populate the forwarding database in either case. While the MAC Domain Manager runs the control protocol for DOCSIS encryption. The packets received from the network are mapped to the appropriate Quality of Service (QoS) flow on the downstream and then scheduled for transmission to the edge QAM according to policies associated with each flow. The forwarding decisions may be based on Layer 2 and or Layer 3 models. the Forwarder will receive information from a central Policy Server using the Common Open Policy Services (COPS) protocol. removes the DOCSIS encryption using the BPI keys obtained from the MAC Domain Manager. and forwards the packets out to the network. It maps the set-top box control traffic received from the network into the appropriate the DSG tunnels. which enforces forwarding rules and policies. and rate shaping and also implement Quality of Service (QoS) controls. and it will use this information to setup filters and implement upstream and downstream QoS control.

By analyzing issues and potential tradeoffs. Subscribers are becoming accustomed to high-quality service and are less likely to accept besteffort services in the future. but it does incur penalties. Motorola Broadband Communications Sector 7 . The decoupled approach has benefits in terms of flexibility and the potential for lower costs. timing is a major challenge. But in a decoupled architecture with multiple elements. it is possible to fine-tune the architecture and understand the advantages and disadvantages of various alternatives. there are issues that must be addressed and managed. it is critical that these platforms must move forward to support real-time IP services. all CMTS functions are within a single chassis. As CMTS architectures evolve. which provides greater timing control. so top among the architectural issues to address are: ? ? ? ? ? ? Performance QoS Management Reliability Standards -Based Migration CAPEX versus OPEX Performance In a decoupled CMTS architecture. As traffic flows move between multiple standalone devices —instead of across a shared backplane—the risk of latency becomes more pronounced. Sophisticated timing and scheduling is essential for ensuring acceptable performance of voice and video services. In current-generation architectures.Protecting Network Investments While Migrating to Next-Generation CMTS Platforms Figure 3 Upstream Packet Flow Upstream Receiver PHY -Receives packet from HFC -Demodulates -Makes any required PHY-layer measurements -Encapsulates packet in Ethernet frame -Transmits to Forwarder via switch Gigabit Ethernet Switch Matrix Forwarder -Receives packet from switch -Removes Ethernet encapsulation -Decrypts -Expands header -Applies access control lists -Applies rate limiting -Routes to network -Transmits to network Addressing Architectural Concerns As in any architectural evolution. performance will be addressed in different ways by various vendors. which should also be considered prior to deployment.

Protecting Network Investments While Migrating to Next-Generation CMTS Platforms QOS In an integrated system. on the upstream the Forwarder will schedule packet transmissions from cable modems based on QoS demands and the Upstream Receiver PHY and Gigabit Ethernet Switch Matrix must deliver the packets to the Forwarder without drop. CAPEX versus OPEX While the stackable approach reduces initial deployment costs. it is to be expected that all the components will operate in unison to implement QoS. multi vendor environment. Similarly. this approach can lead to operational issues. . Each operator must review its business goals and select the appropriate solution. Thus. stackable approach may result in a lower-cost implementation. Management While a modular. or jitter. including: ? ? ? ? Cabling and deployment complexity The manageability and interoperability challenges of controlling multiple devices instead of a single system Ensuring high-availability and redundancy of all elements Managing software upgrades for multiple platforms from multiple vendors while ensuring compatibility Reliability With a decoupled CMTS architecture. Standards and architectural requirements are currently in a state of flux. Operators are therefore faced with whether to focus on reduced Capital Expenses (CAPEX) or lower ongoing Operational Expenses (OPEX). reorder. operators must ensure that each element offers the reliability necessary for voice and video services. This includes ensuring redundancy of elements and having the flexible management and provis ioning tools necessary to ensure uptime of each element and prevent service downtime. Operators must ensure that their vendors offer standards -based solutions that are compliant with DOCSIS and PacketCable specifications and IP standards. Standards-Based Migration Central to the decoupled CMTS architecture is the reliance on industry standards to ensure interoperability of multiple devices and services. QoS can only be provided if all components work in unison but can be destroyed by any single element in the forwarding path. it inevitably results in higher operating expenses. Similarly. in a decoupled system all components must cooperate to provide the level of QoS required for a given packet. in the downstream direction the Forwarder will schedule packets for transmission based on their QoS parameters and deliver them to the Gigabit Ethernet Switch Matrix at the correct time. Neither the switch nor the Downstream Edge QAM can drop. or jitter packets if QoS is to be maintained. The system-versus -stackable architectural solution can also be viewed as a decision of whether to deploy the telco-class redundancy of a chassis -based solution. or the IP data-class redundancy of a stackable approach. Rapid failure detection and service restoration becomes more difficult in a multi platform. reorder. Migrating with Motorola Partnering with the right CMTS vendor is a critical decision for cable operators evolving their network to support next-generation architectures. so it is key to select a vendor that offers not only the proven technology but also the expertise to optimize the use of innovative products to maximize revenue and support new services.

The BSR 64000 CMTS/edge router is evolving to support requirements for decoupled CMTS architectures. By taking a holistic view of today’s revenue demands and tomorrow’s architectural and service requirements. carrierclass BSR 64000 architecture and provides proven expertise in routing. telephony. redundancy. so one of the greatest challenges in managing the transition to a next-generation network is to minimize stranded investments. operators need to partner with equipment providers that can support evolving standards and requirements while ensuring migration of installed equipment. but it is clear that video services are placing demands on the network that must be addressed today while ensuring a flexible longterm migration path to support new architectures and services. This supports scaleable growth according to market requirements. Motorola will offer a decoupled CMTS solution. and migrating to an all-digital IP headend. MAC Domain Manager and Forwarder functions using a mix of internal and external (stackable) devices to provide the high-density Downstream Edge QAM function. Motorola will also continue to offer chassis -based CMTS platforms that provide the integrated administration and management and allow operators to: ? ? ? ? ? Minimize rack space Streamline operations by centralized management Simplify maintenance and upgrades Better support the complex timing requirements of real-time services Ensure carrier-class redundancy of CMTS functions. and video services. No cable operator can afford to waste investments in already-deployed network assets. voice. Motorola will offer maximum flexibility for evolving the network. cable operators can harness the power of existing infrastructure while deploying nextgeneration CMTS platforms and evolving the network to deliver video and other high-speed services. and maximum flexibility for supporting high-bandwidth services. Later. The BSR 64000 chassis will implement the Upstream Receiver PHY. Operators can safely deploy additional BSR 64000 systems today while retaining maximum flexibility for supporting evolving architectures in the future. Motorola offers the widely deployed. Motorola offers the expertise in routing. Operators will benefit from higher-density modules and greater flexibility in adding capacity to meet demand. switching. and redundancy necessary to enable critical data. aggregation. telephony. The stackable components will be capable of operating in combination with the BSR 64000. Motorola Broadband Communications Sector 9 . chassis -based solutions as well as card-level. By offering both system -level. This approach allows operators to reduce port costs while increasing their ability to share QAMs and other equipment on the cable plant. video. video. No one knows today exactly what CMTS architectures will look like in the future.Protecting Network Investments While Migrating to Next-Generation CMTS Platforms Motorola provides cable operators with maximum flexibility for supporting next-generation architectures and services while optimizing the use of existing infrastructure. and in supporting the end-to-end service requirements of cable operators worldwide. stackable components. During this time of transition. The BSR 64000 is Evolving to Enable Maximum Architectural Flexibility Carriers can continue to deploy BSR 64000 platforms while retaining maximum flexibility for deploying decoupled CMTS architectures in the future. The first steps in the evolution of the BSR 64000 are the separation of upstream and downstream onto separate modules and the availability of separate QAM modules. Motorola will offer both system -level solutions and modular elements to provide operators maximum flexibility in migrating CMTS functionality to support video requirements.

please visit http://broadband. ® Reg. All rights reserved.Protecting Network Investments While Migrating to Next-Generation CMTS Platforms Safe and Reliable Migration to the IP Digital Headend Motorola offers a safe. Inc. Printed in the USA. © 2004 Motorola. U. The proven and reliable BSR 64000 will continue to evolve to support emerging architectural requirements while ensuring a cost-effective migration path as operators continue to drive down operating costs while increasing revenues from video and other high-performance services. For more information.S. MOTOROLA and the stylized M Logo are registered trademarks of Motorola.motorola. reliable and flexible migration path with maximum flexibility by offering the choice of chassis bas ed or stackable solutions. Pat. Off. MGBI 518958-001 . & Tm. Inc. All other product or service names are the property of their respective

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