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Case Study 1:

DTI Provides Services for Cable Bandwidth Capacity Upgrades

DTI Capacity Upgrade Services

While this chart shows capacity upgrade with respect to bandwidth that goes through the CMTS (HSD, voice, ADSG), similar services (and charts) apply to capacity upgrades with respect to VOD and HDTV. In fact, this may be thought of as a continuous process over time, and/or a spiraling process that, over time, expands across regions and markets.

 

Helping MSOs increase urgently needed capacity and move to DOCSIS 3.0

 

DTI is providing a modular, complete, solutions-oriented set of professional services for cable industry bandwidth capacity upgrades, including the engineering and deployment of CMTSs, edge-QAM devices, and their associated splitters, combiners, transmitters, receivers, and cabling. These services meet an urgent need as the cable industry faces bandwidth capacity expansion challenges, the move to DOCSIS 3.0, and competition from fiber-based telco capabilities. DTI’s services also demonstrate the value of its long-standing commitment to, and investment in, a solutions approach and providing the full range of expertise needed for end-to-end success.

 

The Services

 

DTI’s modular Capacity Upgrade services include:

 

  • EPre-engagement definition of requirements and Scope-of-Work
  • Analysis of traffic and CMTS port utilization using MSO criteria and vendor guidelines to determine when to add CMTSs, move to DOCSIS 3.0, or optimize existing CMTSs by re-engineering their associated RF systems and configurations
  • RF design and EF&I, including combining, splitting, cabling, Node Combining Plans (NCPs), and CMTS slot-port assignments
  • CMTS engineering, deployment, advanced functional testing, and migration
  • Final “as deployed” documentation, knowledge transfer workshops, and training courses
  • MSO internal process documents, including traffic trend analyses and paperwork required to purchase equipment , move it through inventory management, and schedule maintenance windows for traffic migrations
  • Outsourced Capacity Planning, on an ongoing basis, which includes traffic and trend analysis relative to the MSO’s own guidelines and policies, and the planning of Capacity Upgrade projects and purchases required to keep the MSO’s network within their specifications.

 

DTI is providing a modular, complete, solutions-oriented set of professional services for cable industry bandwidth capacity upgrades, including the engineering and deployment of CMTSs and edge-QAM devices.

 

 

DTI investments in solutions approach

 

DTI’s solutions approach and ability to provide expertise for end-to-end success is based extensive experience and long-term investments in developing teams of experts with the required range of skill sets, formalized Methods-of-Procedures, and software tools that automate the design, verification, and documentation of integrated RF and CMTS engineering and deployment.

 

The software tools include:

 

  • The NCP-CMTS Configuration Reconciler which reconciles existing NCP designs with the configurations of CMTSs currently in use
  • The NCP Re-design Aid which facilitates and speeds the re-design of NCPs once the existing NCPs and the CMTS configurations have been reconciled
  • The Chassis Layout Designer which automates the CMTS chassis layout process
  • The CMTS Configuration Generator which generates modifications to the configurations of existing CMTSs, and/or the configurations for new CMTSs
  • And finally, the NCP Re-design Verifier which verifies the correctness and cross-referencing of the new NCPs, Chassis Layouts, CMTS Configurations, and Cabling Plan.

 

Growing and urgent need

 

This solution-oriented approach has been needed for many years, but is especially important as MSOs move to the new CableLabs standard DOCSIS 3.0. For its many benefits which are essential to meeting growing bandwidth requirements, competing against telco offers, and providing next generation services, DOCSIS 3.0 brings a lot of technical complexity.

 

The benefits of DOCSIS 3.0 include dramatic improvements in bandwidth (“wideband” Downstream speeds of up to 160 Mbps through channel Bonding) and IP flexibility (IPv6, IP multicasting, and AES encryption). However, this comes at the cost of additional technical complexity that challenges the skill-sets of technicians by blurring the boundaries between IP vs. RF expertise. The distinction between IP and RF expertise has been, for many years, fundamental to job roles (such as who works on the backbone network-facing side of the CMTS and/or on the CMTS itself, versus who works on the RF/HFC-facing side of the CMTS), and governed who was familiar and capable with which vendor’s equipment. DOCSIS 3.0 is not only thereby driving new kinds of teamwork, broadening skill requirements, and requiring additional training of staff, it is forcing an end-to-end solutions approach to engineering and deployment.

 

Process as well as Product Technology

 

DTI’s software tools not only speed up, and assure the quality of, RF Engineering (NCPs), the design of Chassis Layouts and Cabling Run-lists, the customization of Configuration templates, migration plans, documentation (in the MSOs required formats), they also generate and track the MSO’s process “tickets” (e.g. what one MSO calls the “MR” that schedule maintenance windows such as needed to perform migrations, and “DRFs” which are process “tickets” required to move inventory from the warehouse to the facilities in which the work is taking place). DTI’s tools aid key process steps, the management of important project milestones, and the satisfaction of the various interests of the MSO’s various organizations.

 

Challenges as well as benefits of DOCSIS 3.0

 

Prior to DOCSIS 3.0, both the Downstreams and Upstreams the CMTS were RF signals carried over RF cables. With DOCSIS 3.0, the Upstreams of the CMTS remain RF signals carried over RF cables, but the Downstreams may be 1 Gig IP data carried over optical fibers. The divide between IP and RF is no longer cleanly inside the CMTS. In addition, because the Edge-QAM devices which transform the Downstreams into RF were previously inside the CMTS, they were manufactured and factory tested by the CMTS vendor, and they modulated only those broadband data streams which passed through the CMTS. With DOCISIS 3.0, the Edge-QAM devices may now be external, manufactured by a different vendor than that of the CMTS itself, and modulate VOD, HDTV, and other video streams that did not go through the CMTS at all, meaning that they now modulate both CMTS-routed and non-CMTS-routed signals. And adding yet more complexity, moving the Edge-QAM function outside of the CMTS to support the DOCSIS 3.0 Channel Bonding process creates the need for new kinds of high-precision timing and synchronization devices. Clearly, the benefits of DOCSIS 3.0 justify these added complexities, but this new standard does break down “compartmentalized” job roles and skill sets, and force a more system-wide, end-to-end approach.

 

So, for all of its benefits, DOCSIS 3.0 brings: multiple signal types being output by the CMTS; new requirements for multi-skilled technicians; multi-vendor solutions; much more complex testing and maintenance of how signals are transformed, carried, bonded, combined, and split; and even such prosaic challenges as no longer being able to color code cables as to their carrying only High Speed Data, or only carrying video. So the transition to DOCSIS 3.0 requires professional services that integrate a wide range of skills, an end-to-end solutions orientation, an ability to work with the equipment and organizations of multiple equipment vendors, flexibility with numerous operational changes, and a talent for teaching and transferring the necessary knowledge.

 

What MSOs are saying

 

MSOs are emphatic in telling DTI, and the industry-leading equipment vendors with whom DTI partners, that they are looking for a complete solution and a system-wide perspective, especially in their move to DOCSIS 3.0 — whether they chose to upgrade to the new standard immediately, deploy new “DOCSIS 3.0-ready” CMTSs, or re-engineer and optimize existing CMTSs while they plan for DOCSIS 3.0.

 

MSOs are also making it clear that, when deploying new CTMSs, they need services that extend far beyond the CMTS itself, covering the RF EF&I, test, documentation, and knowledge transfer, often ranging from RF engineering and deployment, all the way to the lasers transmitting /receiving carrying bonded, combined, and split optical-RF signals to/from the Outside Plant. Moreover, while MSOs have a tremendous need to upgrade their capacity quickly, they each have their own internal request-review-approve, and scheduling, processes which are paper-work intensive, with which they need help in order to move faster.

 

DTI’s experience and industry role

 

DTI has engineered and deployed thousands of CMTSs, including hundreds of the largest and latest versions, manufactured by all the major vendors. In addition, DTI has installed hundreds of Edge-QAM devices for capacity upgrades for VOD and HDTV. DTI has also deployed several hundred large routers connecting CTMSs to converged backbone networks.

 

DTI’s modular, solutions-oriented approach to Capacity Upgrade services are based on DTI’ s dedication to solving customers’ overarching and driving needs. This has been DTI’s orientation, strategic focus, and company culture for many years, supported by long-term investments and a consistent management model. The exploding bandwidth upgrade needs of the Cable industry—and CableLabs’ new DOCSIS 3.0 standard—are are an excellent match for, and confirmation of, the role DTI has earned itself as a provider of expertise for end-to-end success.

 

 

 

 

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