Smoke, mirrors and slideware – that’s about what you get when a technology is in early development. But at some point ideas move from thought experiments to demos and proof-of-concept systems. When a system stands up for the first time and does what it was actually designed to do, it’s kind of like a baby is born and the time for diapers, bottles and oohs and ahhs has finally arrived.
For an engineer, that is a great moment. It’s like you aced a physics final, or your portfolio beat the S&P by ten points, or your favorite team went to the finals. Preparation, hard work, timing and maybe a little luck finally pays off in the realization of a design.
- Virtualized network core running in OpenStack
- Cable distributed access architecture using a Remote-PHY node
- Mobile call hand-off between a WiFi Access Point and an LTE Small Cell
You can learn more about this proof-of-concept system in our free webinar on November 21st at 12 PM MT, but essentially system operation runs like this:
- OpenStack installs on white box Intel servers.
- Casa’s virtual mobile core and virtual CCAP Core install in an OpenStack project cloud.
- Casa’s R-PHY node connects to the cloud’s switch via a 10-gig optical link.
- Two DOCSIS® 3.1 cable modems are provisioned on the R-PHY node.
- A WiFi Access Point is connected to one CM, an LTE small cell is connected to the other.
- A cell phone is provisioned to the mobile core and makes a call through the AP to any phone in the world.
- With the call in progress, the AP is taken out of service.
- The call rolls over to the LTE small cell seamlessly and imperceptibly to the subscriber.
- The WiFi AP comes back online.
- The call rolls back from the LTE small cell, again, transparent to the subscriber.
From a cable operator point of view, there several significant elements to this system:
- Virtualization promises benefits that have been touted in the industry for years, so I’ll not repeat them. But, here we have a real system, running on open source infrastructure and commercial off-the-shelf hardware that combines a virtual mobile core and the virtual portion of an access network in one cloud platform. And this system is a short step from commercial deployability.
- Distributed access architecture moves the RF ports of the hybrid fiber co-axial (HFC) network out into the field to where the subscribers are located. This architecture relieves HVAC load and space issues in the operator head-end and puts RF connectivity exactly where it is needed.
- Quad play will be a distinct competitive advantage for next generation network operators. High-speed data, video, landline and mobile calling, all unified on a converged and virtualized platform, is a business and technical objective across the industry. And this system showcases a platform that exactly enables that mix of services.
This demo was a big hit at the CableLabs Summer Conference in August and is on display at the Kyrio NFV Interop Lab in Louisville CO where the whole integration effort took place. And where very interesting new projects are in the works! For more info, dial into the upcoming webinar, send me an email, or drop by for a breve latte on me!
Director Kyrio NFV Interoperability Lab, a subsidiary of CableLabs.