Nokia debuts new virtualized DAA platform

Nokia's universal cable access node is configurable as either a R-PHY device or R-MACPHY device.

Nokia has introduced a new virtualized Distributed Access Architecture (DAA), featuring a cable access node that can run as a Remote PHY or Remote MAC/PHY device.

Cable operators continue to mull DAA solutions for increased throughput, reduced costs and accelerated delivery of new services. Among network engineers, there’s been a debate over the relative faults and virtues of Remote PHY and Remote MAC/PHY.

R-PHY moves only the DOCSIS signal generation (PHY) to the access node, while R-MAC/PHY moves both the PHY and the DOCSIS processing (MAC) to the access node. 

For its part, Nokia has declared the debate “over.” The Finnish vendor said its virtualized access solution for cable operators allows them to turn the MAC piece on and off, meaning cable companies no longer have to choose between R-PHY and MAC/PHY. 

RELATED: Nokia buys virtual CCAP start-up Gainspeed

The announcement comes about 15 months after Nokia entered the cable network infrastructure business by purchasing Sunnyvale, California startup Gainspeed and its virtual converged cable access platform (CCAP) product line. Nokia will present its new “Unified Cable Access” solution at the SCTE’s Cable-Tec Expo show in Denver next week. 

The news access solution includes a virtualized cable modem termination system (CMTS), which includes the DOCSIS MAC as a virtual network function. This provides the ability to run the virtual CMTS anywhere on the network. 

Cable operators can convert a Gainspeed cable access node from R-PHY to R-MAC/PHY, or vice a versa, “on the fly,” the company said. 

"While running the vCMTS on the node as part of a Remote-MACPHY deployment will garner the most significant savings in cost, space and power, there is no such thing as one size fits all. Nokia's enhanced cable solution gives operators the flexibility to choose from a full range of options across both fiber and cable to meet their unique network needs,” said Federico Guillén, president of Nokia's Fixed Networks Business Group, in a statement. 

In the same statement, Nokia was also able to get Cash Hagan, COO of client WideOpenWest, to talk up the technology’s virtues: "Nokia is revolutionizing the cable industry with an innovative new cable solution that gives operators the flexibility to implement a distributed access architecture without being handcuffed to a specific approach. Virtualizing the DAA not only simplifies the network and drives cost savings, it also allows us to accelerate the delivery of new services that ultimately provide a better customer experience."