2022 Tech Innovation Predictions
It’s 2022, and it’s time for our annual tech innovation predictions. This year is going to be the year of Transforming Human Interactions. The latest innovations highlighted in our video will have an enormous impact on the industry and consumers and require robust broadband networks:
Escalation of AI and Natural Language Systems
“For artificial intelligence to be truly smart, it must respect human values."- Tim Cook
Technologies like virtual assistants and voice command cars are key innovations we experience throughout each day. Based on artificial intelligence using very large data sets, they function through command and control. While many believe these innovations have reached their peak, recently there’s been announcements of technologies that will make them 25 times better. This reminds us that there’s always room for radical, differentiated types of improvements for our everyday life.
Robots as Companions
“Robots can be our partners.” -Kate Darling
One example of the application for AI and natural language processing is robots. Humans are social animals. The COVID pandemic and the increase in social isolation has prompted the need to explore alternative technologies that could provide digital companionship. Imagine a world where robots can provide human-to-human communication, playing a board game or updating your health information. This ability to have natural interaction with a robotic companion will transform the quality of life for multiple generations.
Combining Blockchain with the Metaverse
“The defining quality of the Metaverse is presence, which is the feeling that you’re really there with another person or in another space.” - Mark Zuckerberg
In this shared digital world, science fiction will become reality and everything in our world will be personalized just for us. Walk down the street and see every street sign tailored to you, go shopping, attend a concert or create a new pet. This next stage of the way we use the internet, connectivity, and computing will open endless possibilities around how we interact as a society and live, work, learn and play.
Tackling Privacy and Security Together
“In a country built on the will to be free, what could be more fundamental than privacy.” - Aaron Sorkin
We can’t go through a single day without hearing about a hacker targeting everyone from large enterprises to government networks to individual people. Recently, governments have begun partnering to tackle this issue. By coming together to innovate solutions to block ransomware attacks, we can keep our data and our livelihood safe.
Watch the video below to learn more.
Want to be a part of these predictions? Join the 10G Challenge.
The 10G Challenge is powered by CableLabs in collaboration with industry experts to inspire innovators to leverage the emerging 10G network. The Challenge is designed to support the development of technologies, services and applications that rely on the network of the future. The 10G network is bringing higher internet speeds, more security, lower latency and improved reliability. 10G is a new, powerful broadband network that serves as a platform for innovators to develop new solutions that impact the way we live, work, learn and play.
The future will be driven by the technologies we invent today.
Release of New FMA Specs Opens Door for Interop Events
We are pleased to announce today’s issuance of new versions of the Flexible MAC Architecture (FMA) System and MAC Manager Interface (MMI) specifications. This release denotes the completion of phase one for the FMA specifications and opens the doors for beginning FMA interoperability events. Speaking of such events, we are also pleased to inform you that we have completed our first formal FMA interop.
Flexible MAC Architecture Industry Milestones
Both are important milestones for the cable industry. The completion of the first phase of the FMA project is the accumulation of specification work through the pandemic and defines the Remote MACPHY (R-MACPHY) technology. As a part of the larger Distributed CCAP Architecture (DCA) program, FMA is defining the complete disaggregation of a CCAP’s functionality. This includes separating the control and data planes and providing standard interfaces between OSS/NMS/Orchestration and the FMA management and control planes, as well as a standard interface abstraction layer to cable access equipment. All of which allows for vendor independence and equipment interoperability. While the Remote PHY specifications was the first step in CCAP disaggregation, by moving the PHY layer out of the big iron CCAP hardware, FMA is the next and final step of a fully disaggregated DOCSIS access network.
The DCA specifications are a cornerstone of the 10G Platform that will allow DOCSIS 4.0 technologies to support multi-gigabit symmetric speeds. Both DCA technologies have recently reached significant achievements. For FMA, Charter and Vecima demonstrated 8.5 Gbps downstream and 6 Gbps upstream speeds with their FMA implementation. Similarly, For R-PHY Comcast was able to demonstrate 4 Gbps symmetrical speeds with their DOOCSIS 4.0 implementation. Both are significant for the cable industry and a true realization of the technology being specified at CableLabs.
While this release wasn’t the first release of the FMA specification library, this third version of the issued specifications represent a maturity that allows the industry to begin building and testing interoperable products. As such, the week of January 10th was the realization of the first formal interoperability event for the FMA technology. The event had a total of 10 companies involved with five participating vendor companies and five cable operator observers. This was a tremendous turnout for the initial interoperability event. A significant set of accomplishments were hit at this first event which shows the maturity of products and the specification.
Upcoming FMA Activities
Moving forward, there are several activities within the FMA project on the foreseeable horizon. As previously mentioned, there are ongoing quarterly interoperability events in 2022 that allow vendors to test their products with other vendor products in a neutral environment. We have the ability to increase this cadence as needed. CableLabs also has the ability to support interop activities 24 hours per day, seven days a week with remote connections for the interoperability lab for those products that are installed in the lab. This is a very important activity for the industry that ultimately leads to operator deployment of the technology. CableLabs is also producing an FMA webinar on February 16th where we will share and discuss the “state of FMA,” including long-term FMA objectives, and future goals of the interoperability events.
If you would like to participate in the FMA working group activities, please make your request via email@example.com.
Improving the Resilience of Cable Networks Through RPKI
Today, CableLabs is releasing a set of best common practices to help accelerate the deployment of Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI), which can mitigate the risk of IP prefix hijacking.
All broadband networks serving residential and business users consist of both access networks and IP networks. The access network connects residential homes and business premises to the broadband provider’s IP network. IP networks are then interconnected, using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), to form the internet.
A common disruption to BGP and the exchange of traffic between IP networks is IP prefix hijacking, which can occur accidentally (e.g., by misconfiguration) or intentionally (e.g., by malicious parties).
Incidents of IP prefix hijacking occurred as early as 1997, when a top-level autonomous system (AS) accidentally advertised routes for a large number of IP prefixes belonging to other network operators, creating a routing black hole and major disruption to the internet. Since then, IP prefix hijacking has occurred regularly, causing service disruption to hundreds of millions of internet users, and is considered one of the top threats to internet availability.
Fortunately, network operators and the broader industry have come together to address the risk of IP prefix hijacking. Specifically, RPKI has been standardized by Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) with deployment strategies outlined by the Messaging Malware Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) and is being deployed by cable operators and other network operators to prevent IP prefix hijacking. RPKI allows the rightful owner of IP address spaces to cryptographically assert the ownership of their prefixes. It then allows other parties to verify received BGP routes against the trusted cryptographic assertions to detect prefix hijacking. Today, about a third of IP prefixes announced on the internet are digitally signed using RPKI.
To help speed up the deployment of RPKI across the internet and improve the resilience of all networks, CableLabs is releasing an RPKI deployment best common practices (BCP) document. This document was developed by BGP experts from CableLabs and its members (including Charter, Comcast, Cox and Liberty Global) who have successfully deployed RPKI in their networks.
The RPKI deployment BCP provides a five-step guide to deploy both Route Origin Authorization (ROA) and Route Origin Validation (ROV), two major components of RPKI. In addition, it provides guidance on the monitoring of RPKI and BGP to ensure continuous health of the routing infrastructure.
To that end, we invite you to download the CableLabs BCP as a resource in deploying and maintaining RPKI in your networks. With the widespread deployment of RPKI, we can minimize the risk of IP prefix hijacking and increase the security and resiliency of the internet.
Advancing 10G: CableLabs Reached Several Key Milestones in 2021
Last year, CableLabs and its members took major steps toward making 10G a reality. There were numerous launches, enhancements, and even a couple of “firsts.” Every one of these initiatives—from launching the 10G Challenge to enhancing specification requirements—will play an important role in building the faster, more secure and reliable networks of the future.
Here are some of the key milestones we’re especially proud of:
Improved Fiber Capacity
As data demands increase, operators are considering increasing capacity on their existing optical access network. To help operators meet this demand, the Coherent Termination Device enables them to take advantage of coherent optics technologies in access networks. Typically used for long-haul, metro and submarine networks, coherent optics technologies let operators use their existing fiber assets more efficiently when teamed with wavelength-division multiplexing in the optical access network.
More Robust Security
The Network Security Best Common Practices is a comprehensive document that sets the foundation for a new era in network security by establishing a common set of requirements and best practices for vendors of gateway devices and cable modems. Agreed upon by the global community of operators and device manufacturers, the document provides a globally consistent baseline that will make our digital lives a lot safer.
Inspiring 10G Innovators
The 10G Challenge is a competition designed to accelerate the development of applications for emerging 10G networks. It’s a great way to inspire talented innovators, startups, students and entrepreneurs to not only imagine the near future but actually build it. The winners will have the opportunity to showcase their hard work at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo® 2022.
Cable Industry Achievement Highlights
Because our mission is to support the entire cable industry, we can’t possibly talk about our achievements without mentioning the truly amazing accomplishments of our members. Several firsts came from our members last year, including the following:
- Comcast successfully transmitted 4 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) upload and download speeds simultaneously in a live lab test with DOCSIS 4.0 technology. The first-of-its-kind test demonstrated the potential of DOCSIS technology to deliver the next generation of ultra-fast speeds. Comcast also completed a successful test of a complete 10G connection using a virtualized cable modem termination system (vCMTS) powered by DOCSIS 4.0 technology.
- Charter Communications recently demonstrated greater than 8.5 Gbps downstream and 6 Gbps upstream on a hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) cable plant. The lab demonstration shows the massive capacity available through incremental upgrades to an existing HFC plant.
- Armstrong launched the first 10G fiber optic network in Medina, Ohio. The network provides 10G access to more than 3000 businesses and residences in the area.
Each one of these milestones is an essential building block, bringing us closer to 10G speeds, lower latencies, enhanced network reliability and better security. For more information about CableLabs’ 2021 achievements and progress toward 10G, please read the press release.
Achieve Seamless Access with Converged Access Edge Controller (CAEC)
Imagine a world in which end users no longer worry about which network they’re connected to because the most optimal connectivity for any given moment is automatically provided. This connectivity consists of one or more seamlessly combined network connections, intelligently customized by a multitude of factors, such as application requirements, user priority and network status. CableLabs believes convergence will be the driving force in making this world a reality and is working on solutions to enable it. Converged Access Edge Controller (CAEC) is one of those solutions.
How Does CAEC Work?
CAEC facilitates the converged use of HFC, Wi-Fi and mobile access technologies to optimize the use of network assets to deliver a seamless user experience. The controller dynamically switches, steers, or splits subscribers' data traffic across the available access links based on subscribers' device capabilities, subscription profile and real-time telemetry data of each access link, such as utilization and link quality.
For example, CAEC can be programmed to optimize the transport cost without degrading the perceived user experience. Households closer to the mobile site could primarily be served via wireless access link; CAEC will transparently switch them to HFC access link in the event of temporary congestion on that site to avoid degradation in the user experience. Similarly, households farther away from the mobile site could primarily be served via the HFC network, and CAEC could split the traffic between HFC and wireless upon onset of congestion in the HFC infrastructure. In another use case, the CAEC algorithm can be optimized to provide an instantaneous bandwidth boost by combining the available accesses based on device and subscription policies.
CAEC’s Modular and Extensible Architecture
CAEC offers powerful, near real-time traffic bonding, steering, and splitting capabilities across multiple access technologies managed by a single operator (i.e. multiple system operator). CAEC sports a microservices-based architecture consisting of three main services; network telemetry, AI/ML inference and traffic control. CAEC’s modular design and open APIs allow it to easily interoperate and complement other network services. For example, CAEC can be implemented as part of standardized network services such as O-RAN Alliance’s RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) and 3GPP’s Network Data Analytics Function (NWDAF). The CAEC platform is extensible to run customized machine learning models to identify the patterns in network behavior that are often tough for operators to identify. The platform also provides operators the flexibility to develop and implement their own traffic control algorithms.
There are alternative solutions to provide converged access that aggregate mobile and Wi-Fi traffic on capable client devices. For example, 3GPPP has defined an access aggregation specification called Access Traffic Steering, Switching & Splitting (ATSSS). Additionally, several companies are offering cloud-based solutions similar to ATSSS. CAEC can complement these solutions by providing near real-time directions to steer, switch or split the traffic based on a combination of AI/MI models and network intelligence. Converged Access Edge Controller can also provide valuable insights for proactive network maintenance based on real-time statistics analysis and pattern identification within the network.
If you need more information or have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to Arun Yerra – Principal Mobile Architect, CAEC Project Lead (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Band Splits 101: Splitting Our Way to 10G
As consumers’ bandwidth needs continue to grow, cable operators are always thinking of ways to expand their network capacity to accommodate future increases in data traffic—especially upstream traffic. Band splits play an important role in that effort, taking advantage of the incredible resiliency of cable’s hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) network.
What Is a Band Split and How Does It Work?
To describe what band splits are, we need to first define bandwidth. The best way to think of bandwidth is as a stretchable pipe that allows radio frequency (RF) signals carrying data to travel through it. So, when we talk about expanding the bandwidth of a network, we’re looking for ways to stretch that pipe to higher frequencies to accommodate more data traffic. The term “bandwidth” is somewhat synonymous with “capacity,” and on cable networks bandwidth is measured in megahertz (MHz) and gigahertz (GHz)—1 GHz is 1,000 times greater than 1 MHz.
The following figure shows several options available for band splits on the cable broadband network, allowing various mixes of upstream and downstream bandwidth depending on the needs of consumers. Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) designates separate bands for upstream and downstream traffic.
The bandwidth “pipe” (split into two parts) has data traffic traveling in opposite directions: downstream from your provider’s hub to your modem and upstream from your modem back to the hub. This back-and-forth flow allows you to use interactive services like video chat, teleconferencing, telehealth and more.
Band splits determine how much bandwidth is dedicated to downstream and upstream channels. Downstream traffic is usually transmitted on a high-band frequency range, whereas the lower band is dedicated to upstream traffic. Two-way amplifiers are used to amplify signals in both directions. These amplifiers have something called diplex filters to separate downstream and upstream frequencies to prevent interference.
Usually, consumers use a much larger chunk of the bandwidth pipe for downstream traffic, but that’s starting to change. As people switch to working and studying from home, they’re using more interactive services like video chats, which require more upstream data. To accommodate this trend and future demand, network operators need to consider when to add more upstream bandwidth. For this reason, they may need to rethink the way their networks are split.
What Kind of Band Splits Are There?
Not all band splits are created equal: In North America, there are sub-splits, mid-splits and high-splits, and Europe has its own band split. This situation has to do with how the operator divides the available bandwidth pipe between downstream and upstream traffic.
Although sub-splits are still prevalent in North America today, mid-split and high-split bands require an upgrade. In a sub-split, a spectrum range of 5 MHz to 42 MHz is used for upstream traffic and 54 MHz to 1.2 GHz or 1.8 GHz is for downstream traffic. In a mid-split scenario, 5 MHz to 85 MHz is dedicated for upstream and above 108 MHz for downstream. And high-split extends the upstream range to 204 MHz while reserving 258 MHz and higher frequencies for downstream.
The European split uses an upstream spectrum range of 5 MHz to 65 MHz, and the downstream spectrum range is above 88 MHz. There’s also an ultra-high-split where the upstream goes to a 684 MHz upper-frequency limit that includes even more choices of band-splits, which some operators may consider in the future. However, for most networks in North America, Europe and Latin America, future bandwidth allocations will consist of mid-split and high-split bands, and even some ultra-high-splits.
How Has This Technology Evolved?
If we go back to the early pre-internet days, information on cable networks traveled one way, delivering analog TV signals to millions of homes over coaxial cable, with no data traveling back from the consumer to the hub. Eventually, as consumer needs evolved, so did the industry, and networks began to send signals both ways, to and from the consumer, opening doors to cable broadband Internet, video chatting and much, much more.
As we move toward the next phase of HFC evolution, we must remember that building the super-fast and reliable networks we have today required a lot of collaboration and about $290 billion dollars in infrastructure and network investments over the past 20 years. And that’s just in the United States! For most cable operators, a re-allocation to mid-split, high-split or a mix of the two will require switching out signal amplifiers and other legacy equipment—an investment that many are already making. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, the consensus is to move to at least the mid-split in the near future, further expanding the incredible capacity of the HFC network.
How Will Higher Band Splits Affect You and Your Future?
Although as a consumer you’ll never have to worry about how your cable company’s bandwidth is split between downstream and upstream, we know you pay attention to network speed. The journey from today’s 1G to tomorrow’s 10G offerings will involve expanding the bandwidth pipe to allow for more capacity. More bandwidth will give us more flexibility to accommodate near-future technologies, including bandwidth-hungry virtual reality (VR) applications and more.
That’s where band splitting really makes a difference. Dedicating higher band splits to upstream traffic will future-proof our networks for years to come, allowing us to reach our goals and build the next-generation of technologies to help us live, work, learn and play in the coming decades.
The 10G Challenge: How Corning Leverages Technology to Improve How We Work
CableLabs believes mutually beneficial relationships are crucial to the growth of any business. Whether growing a customer base or reaching a new market, strategic collaboration can deliver value to both parties. To raise awareness about the 10G network, we’ve joined forces with outstanding organizations like Corning to get innovators thinking about how to build technologies that will work on the network of the future with the 10G Challenge. The 10G Challenge is designed to invent a better future that impacts the ways in which we live, work, learn and play.
The “Work” Category, Powered by Corning
In collaboration with Corning, one of the world's leading innovators in materials science, the 10G Challenge’s Work category highlights how the 10G network will enable smart, intuitive technologies that will transform how we collaborate and solve problems in business environments, ultimately boosting creativity and productivity. From 3D remote meetings to immersive demos from countries away, next-generation technologies will make a significant impact on the way we do business.
As an organization, Corning’s growth is fueled by a commitment to innovation. Through sustained investment in research, development and engineering, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and close collaboration with customers to solve tough technology challenges, Corning has spent the last 150-plus years bringing life-changing innovation to the world.
In 1970, Corning invented the first low-loss optical fiber, ushering in a communications revolution. Thanks to Corning’s fiber optics, enormous amounts of data are able to move around the planet, and that movement of data has enabled a barrage of follow-on innovations, including the internet, cloud and mobile technologies, streaming TV, autonomous cars, bitcoin, AI — you name it.
In the five decades since inventing optical fiber to pave the way for the information highway, Corning has continued to introduce new methods, ideas and products aimed at transforming the way we connect with one another and the world around us. From liquid crystal display glass to fiber-to-the-home connectors to revolutionary pharmaceutical glass packaging to whatever comes next, Corning’s participation in the 10G Challenge enables the leading materials science innovator to evolve to meet changing market needs and visualize what the future of work could look like. Even better, by working with CableLabs on the 10G Challenge, Corning will help support individuals and organizations leveraging a new, powerful broadband network to solve real-world problems across work environments.
Encouraging innovators to envision how 10G can help us solve real-world problems, the 10G Challenge showcases the individuals and organizations developing the technologies, services and applications that will rely on the network of the future. By advancing life-changing technologies and supporting the innovators developing new solutions, CableLabs and Corning are excited for what lies ahead and look forward to motivating forward-thinkers to leverage 10G to create a better future for humanity.
Converged Service Management Layer (CSML) Completes the Operations Convergence Puzzle
Traditionally, telecommunications networks operate in siloes running specialized physical hardware functions for each domain (radio, access, transport, core, and data center), and they’re managed by proprietary element management systems. Operators who have both wireline and wireless networks, for example, run the networks on separate infrastructures and manage them independently. For that reason, designing, deploying, and operating end-to-end services can involve lengthy and manual processes resulting in longer lead times (weeks to months) until effective service delivery.
But the networks of tomorrow are envisioned to operate multiple different physical and cloud- native functions over a single flexible, programmable convergence platform whose hardware, software and data storage resources are shared across multiple access technologies. And a key building block of convergence is operations convergence, implying a common operations framework for deploying, configuring, and managing network functions constituting a service.
The Converged Service Management Layer (CSML) Project
When it comes to solving these challenges, technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) have already addressed certain pieces of the puzzle. SDN separates the data plane (network traffic) from the control plane (signaling/routing traffic) to enable flexible, coordinated control, and NFV decouples network and service functions from the underlying hardware. In addition, cloud computing provides an efficient means to utilize the infrastructure and make all these goals achievable. But a converged service operator needs to have the ability to model end-to-end services and to abstract and automate the control of physical and virtual resources.
CableLabs’ CSML project —the final puzzle piece in the operations convergence puzzle—began in response to the rising need for a common automation platform for different network lifecycle processes. The CSML implementation consists of an open-source orchestration platform —Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) —and additional utilities developed by CableLabs to onboard service use cases. The project activities are broadly divided into three categories:
- Service design involves specifying end-to-end services composed of multiple network functions (NFs) called xNFs. The model-driven approach helps with extending and reusing software artifacts for various use cases.
- Service deployment involves automated instantiation, modification and removal of network services over both physical and virtual infrastructures.
- Service assurance involves a vendor-agnostic monitoring and analytics framework for closed-loop management.
The use cases that are currently being designed and developed aim to either improve existing operational processes or demonstrate advanced orchestration and automation capabilities through new service concepts. For example, by converging both service and the underlying network data, operators are able to better extract and exploit the correlations between the two. Advances in machine learning can be applied to this converged data source to drive service automation and assurance features such as proactive network maintenance (PNM), auto-healing, or service resiliency and optimization.
CSML’s Long-Term Goals
The broader goals of the CSML project are to drive the adoption of network automation, virtualization and operations convergence at scale. Also, as the transition to NFV is progressing, the project aims to demonstrate how physical network elements can be harmonized with virtual elements to preserve exiting network investments. The use cases demonstrated by the project will provide a blueprint for a flexible, agile service platform, powering both existing and new innovative services while reducing cost and operational complexities.
If you need more information or have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to Rahil Gandotra, Senior SW Architect and Converged Service Management Layer Project Lead (email@example.com).
How Cable Networks Secure Communications
The email you sent, the website you visited, the internet searches you performed, the internet purchases you just made—they all require strong security to protect against eavesdropping, changes to your messages, and those who would make these services unavailable to you. These service examples demonstrate the foundational triad of security: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
Securing the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of broadband traffic can be applied at different layers of networking technology. Some messaging applications encrypt traffic (for confidentiality) at the upper levels of the OSI network model (the application, presentation, and session layers), but broadband traffic transits below just those top network layers.
The cable industry’s security technology ensures that the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of cable broadband technology happens at the lowest levels of the networking stack by encrypting the internet packets from cable subscribers’ homes and businesses. This security is provided through the cable industry’s use of its own public key infrastructure (PKI), the same type of security used by banks and the U.S Department of Defense for their own protection.
The cable industry created and manages a PKI with strong security. The digital keys used in the cable PKI have a very long private key (1024 bits and 2048 bits long), that is unique to each cable modem and part of each cable modem’s digital certificate. Digital certificates securely identify the modem and are used to help encrypt the traffic going to and from that modem. You may think of a digital certificate as a driver’s license for a cable modem to get onto the internet through a cable operator’s broadband network. The information in a digital certificate provides an immutable and mathematically attestable identifier that is embedded during the modem’s manufacture. The cable PKI encryption technology protects each cable network user from having anyone eavesdrop on their internet traffic, change, corrupt their communications, or introduce malware into the cable modem. Cable operators and cable device manufacturers use the cable PKI to securely update and manage cable devices in homes and businesses.
The cable modem and customer premise equipment (CPE) that help homes connect securely to the internet requires the same kind of patches and updates that other devices require to drive efficient and secure operation within the configuration required by the network to which they attach. Security specifications support SNMPv3 and TR-069, which are internet standards that provide commercial-grade security with ease of administration, and which include methods for authentication, authorization, access control and privacy in the configuration of devices. In the case of cable equipment, the firmware for these devices can be updated through a special secure channel by the network operator; this channel is secured similar to how the cable modem establishes its link. Firmware is the collection of all the software, memory, and operations that, akin to the medulla oblongata in the human body which passes messages between the brain and spinal cord, manages traffic to and from the subscriber home, and keeps the modem functioning. The firmware image is digitally signed by both the cable modem manufacturer and the network operator, whose public keys are accepted and recognized by the cable modem; this, and a special secure boot process, help make it increasingly difficult for malicious actors to compromise the device or network.
In addition to the cable PKI security controls, cable networks provide mechanisms to protect the routing and switching of broadband traffic once it leaves the cable broadband subscriber’s home or business. For example, source address verification ensures that origination packets are coming from proper, non-spoofed addresses. Additionally, the cable industry’s DOCSIS® Security provides several methods of filtering traffic, including enabling access control lists and security filters both at the cable modem and at the cable operator’s cable modem termination system, which connects a cable modem connects to the internet.
The cable industry uses security mechanisms that are broad and robust. These security mechanisms are continuously reviewed and improved as technology changes and security threats to cable broadband subscribers change. You can find more details in these blog posts The Cable Security Experience and 10G Integrity: The DOCSIS® 4.0 Specification and Its New Authentication and Authorization Framework.
CableLabs continues to work with cable operators and cable device manufacturers to increase cable broadband security beyond providing the encryption technology. These BCP’s, developed based on input from cable operators and cable device manufacturers, provide recommended security practices for cable operators and cable manufacturers and are aimed at improving the cybersecurity posture of devices and the networks they connect to. The BCP document strongly aligns with other industry and governmental security recommendations, such as the M3AAWG CPE Best Practices and recent publications from NIST and ENISA. Through continuous strengthening of security tools and practices, the cable industry works to protect its subscribers against those who would seek to eavesdrop, corrupt, or disrupt cable broadband access
Reference Gateway Device Security Best Common Practices:
Documentation: Gateway Device Security Best Common Practices Version V01
Introducing Evolved Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Architectures for Converged Wireless Deployments
As smartphones and tablets continue to proliferate, seamless connectivity is becoming an integral part of a wireless operator’s service offering—as well as a competitive imperative. Recognizing the evolution of the mobile industry landscape, and driven by the introduction of 5G and the availability of new and innovative spectrum options, CableLabs and its members initiated a technical working group (Dec. 2020-Aug. 2021) to create an evolved architectural blueprint for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). The working group’s aim was to explore new converged architectures that will benefit our members’ wireless deployments while highlighting the benefits, impacts to existing deployments and features needed to be supported by both mobile network operator (MNO) and MVNO networks.
Many traditional broadband services providers—also known as multiple system operators (MSOs)—might not own mobile infrastructure but have (or are in the process of negotiating) MVNO arrangements with MNOs. These kinds of arrangements allow them to bundle fixed and mobile broadband services into a single service package. Traditionally, most MSOs adopt a reseller-type “Wi-Fi first” MVNO, where the MVNO doesn’t own any mobile network infrastructure and resells the services leveraging MNO infrastructure.
Emergence of a New MVNO Model
The MVNO models vary based on the amount of mobile network infrastructure that the MVNO owns and the degree of control over the management of different aspects of MVNO subscriptions and their service offerings. One common aspect of all traditional MVNO models is leveraging the radio access network (RAN) of a partner MNO.
With the advent of 5G and the availability of shared spectrum, many MSOs are actively evaluating offload opportunities for enhancing MVNO economics and are contemplating deploying their own mobile radio infrastructure in specific geographic areas (in addition to their substantial Wi-Fi footprint).
Such MSOs now have to contend with three disparate sets of wireless infrastructures:
- the MSO’s community Wi-Fi network,
- the MNO’s 4G/5G network, and
- the MSO’s own 4G/5G network.
This creates a new type of MVNO model called hybrid-MVNO (H-MVNO) that enables MVNOs to offload their subscribers’ traffic from the MNO network—not just to their Wi-Fi networks but also to the MVNO-owned mobile network when inside the coverage footprint of their wireless network(s).
Maximizing data offload via the H-MVNOs’ own wireless assets—thus ensuring a consistent user experience and enforcing uniform and personalized policies as users move in and out of coverage of these three networks—will require the deployment of new converged network architecture and related capabilities.
Dual-SIM Architectures Evaluated by the Technical Working Group
Leveraging dual-SIM devices (devices with the ability to simultaneously connect to two networks) to realize this network convergence is the one way for an H-MVNO to maximize the use of its own network. Dual-SIM device usage allows the H-MVNO to leverage the existing reseller-type MVNO arrangements and require minimum interaction between the H-MVNO and MNO core networks.
However, leveraging the reseller MVNO with dual-SIM capabilities doesn’t offer the H-MVNO any real-time insights into their subscribers’ data usage statistics and patterns. Also, H-MVNOs have no control over policy, subscriptions, mobility or user experience management when their subscribers are outside H-MVNO network coverage.
This formed the basis of evaluating the new evolved Dual-SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) architectures, which leverage standardized 3GPP interfaces to overcome some of the limitations of the traditional reseller MVNO and provide more control to H-MVNOs with regard to policy, subscription and user-experience management by anchoring all subscriber data traffic in a common anchor within the H-MVNO network.
Voice handling with dual-SIM devices can be simplified by leveraging the MNO SIM and network for carrying voice traffic at all times, while prioritizing H-MVNO network (when available) for data traffic.
Single-SIM Architectures Evaluated by the Technical Working Group
Unlike architectures with dual SIMs, single-SIM devices allow the H-MVNO network to enable seamless low-latency mobility for data applications across the MNO and H-MVNO networks. An ideal architecture for offering mobile services with single-SIM device usage is to combine the roaming architecture and a mobility interface, both of which are standardized in 3GPP.
However, due to the targeted nature of H-MVNO mobile deployments, the signaling load can increase on MNO mobility management core network elements, as the H-MVNO subscribers move in and out of H-MVNO network coverage.
To overcome this problem, we evaluated new MVNO architectures that make use of dedicated network elements within the MNO domain to serve H-MVNO subscriber traffic, thereby isolating it from the MNO subscriber traffic and eliminating the increase in signaling load on core network elements that serve MNO subscribers.
In addition, we evaluated voice handling in scenarios where H-MVNOs don’t want to deploy their own voice platforms. One option is to offer voice via a third-party voice service provider; another is to enable additional interfaces between the MNO and the H-MVNO network to leverage the MNO’s voice platform.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to the MVNO Interconnect Technical WG Lead, Omkar Dharmadhikari (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information, please visit:
- Mobile Summit Session #2 MVNOs (November 2020)
- MVNO Interconnect Phase 1 White Paper (May 2021)
- Evolved MVNO Architectures for Converged Wireless Deployments paper and presentation at SCTE Expo 2021 (October 2021)
- CableLabs Webinar on Evolved MVNO Architectures for Converged Wireless Deployments (October 2021)