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CableLabs and Cisco unveil open-source project for Remote PHY

Ralph Brown

Ralph Brown

Cable standards body CableLabs and Cisco have teamed up to unveil a new open-source software project to drive forward the Remote PHY architecture.

Remote PHY is a modular cable headend architecture that converts the IP signal to RF closer to the  edge of the network by distributing edgeQAM functionality rather than performing this at a central headend facility. It is seen as one of the emerging set of tools, associated with the advanced data-over-cable spec DOCSIS 3.1, that will enable cable operators to ensure that their networks are up to the job of delivering ultra high-speed services to compete with FTTH.

The CableLabs/Cisco initiative, labeled OpenRPD, was originally developed by Cisco and contributed to the open source environment hosted at CableLabs. The RPD is a physical layer converter commonly located in an optical node of the cable network.  This open source software will reside in the Remote PHY Device and will be available to cable operators and RPD vendors around the world, according to Cisco.

The software is designed to help further interoperability efforts and promote virtualization techniques to speed time to market with new services, according to the company, enabling legacy optical node vendors to build Remote PHY nodes

“More and more of the telecommunications infrastructure is running on open source platforms. CableLabs has a history of contributing to and hosting open source projects. The OpenRPD project helps launch CableLabs increased focus on open source projects for the cable industry,” said Ralph Brown, CTO, CableLabs.

“This is open source for cable access. Not only does it help move the industry toward the future architecture but it also enables a new developer community,” said Dave Ward, CTO of Engineering and chief architect, Cisco.

“Open standards, open source and an open ecosystem community for developers is a key trajectory for networking. We see the Remote PHY architecture and RPD evolving to a more generalised and virtualised architecture that can be applied to all types of access networks.”