Sponsored by Antronix
Cable operators looking to upgrade legacy networks don’t have to commit to an aggressive, costly fiber approach across the entire legacy footprint all at once. With the right optical solutions, Antronix is confident operators can expand their existing HFC infrastructure to add and attract additional subscribers in the near and long term. Antronix was at the recent SCTE CableTec Expo to debut its 1.8 GHz network solutions, including its Milenium NXT 2.0 GHz Multi-taps and Mainline passives and optical solution for outside plant upgrades.
In this Q&A, SmartBrief chats with Neil Tang, president and CEO of Antronix, about how the firm’s optical solutions can help operators extend performance, what benefits its Intercept 1.8 GHz architecture offers, and how its solutions can help operators feel confident about fully embracing fiber-to-the-home.
SmartBrief: What are the benefits of implementing a 1.8 GHz architecture for the last mile?
Tang: We’re always looking at ways we can innovate so that operators have a healthy variety of approaches that can solve discrete challenges of upgrading their plant across their entire infrastructure and legacy footprint. The move toward a more fiber intensive architecture has been in the works for a while, but operators naturally don’t want to be pigeonholed into a single architecture that is far too costly for an aggressive roll out in the near term.
So, we’ve developed a last-mile alternative in our Intercept® 1.8 GHz architecture that allows operators to selectively build fiber capacity without re-architecting. It also delivers optimal end-of-line performance even in areas of the network where cable spans are stretched, and a typical Node + N approach using conventional HFC design and actives doesn’t quite get them the performance that DOCSIS 4.0 is capable of. The benefits of this approach are obvious in cost and performance, but it also allows operators to be more measured and selective when arriving at solutions that address all the variability that’s out there in the legacy plant.
SmartBrief: What are the timing and technical considerations?
Tang: Operators have an excellent starting point in most cases and they’re still far ahead of the demand in terms of aggregate data throughput potential, but they do need to address certain limitations that came to light during the pandemic that produced fundamental changes in subscriber behavior, and the value proposition offered by the broadband community. So, the timing will follow the real demand, or the competitive landscape, but will also respond to certain features of subscriber needs, like better upstream performance and just as importantly, improved quality of experience and network availability.
Moving to 1.8 GHz isn’t a small endeavor and will also bring with it lots of other advances in network management tools. Operators have a variety of ways they can phase in the complexities that will bring, ranging from a wholesale cut in of the new equipment to a very gradual move to the 1.8 GHz products as a change in maintenance procedures or “business as usual,” and then reassessing once the plant has reached a certain level of capability, before activating the new spectrum and investing in the CPE platform that’s appropriate for the market opportunity. This portion of the Antronix optical offering under the Teleste Intercept portfolio, whether the Intercept grey optics overlay or conventional HFC enabled by Teleste amplifiers and RPDs, is meant to provide needed variety as they make those decisions.
SmartBrief: Should cable operators who are planning on going all fiber consider such an architecture and if so, why?
Tang: Absolutely, the Intercept architecture is consistent with an FTTH buildout so there’s no “wasted” or abandoned plant construction. Building out that infrastructure gradually has a huge benefit to bending the investment curve so it’s more oriented towards opportunities without being so heavily frontloaded, which should make a lot of sense from a network investment perspective.