A Jolt of Light: CableLabs Holds First 200G P2P Coherent Optics Interop
Anyone remember the jingle for Jolt® Cola? All the sugar and twice the caffeine! Perhaps the phrase dates me, but I still hear it in my head—although I now have new words to set to it:
All the distance and twice the capacity!
OK, maybe it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. But it’s still exciting because that’s what was demonstrated last month in our labs for Point-to-Point Coherent Optics (P2PCO). We confirmed that devices compliant with CableLabs’ P2PCO PHYv2.0 specification can transmit over roughly the same distance as devices compliant with our P2PCO PHYv1.0 spec, and at double the operating capacity: 200 Gbps vs. 100 Gbps per wavelength. Even more importantly, this result was achieved while also demonstrating multi-vendor interoperability, a key component of achieving scale and promoting competition in the marketplace. All together, these developments allow operators to cost-effectively expand the capacity of the fiber that’s already deployed in their access networks.
We validated interoperability and performance at one of CableLabs’ Interop events, as we’ve done in the past for other technologies, including coherent optics. These events provide an opportunity for multiple manufacturers to get together on neutral ground and test how their products work with each other. In fact, we held Interop events for devices compliant with our P2PCO PHYv1.0 specification, which defines operation at 100 Gbps per wavelength, back in December 2018 and June 2019.
So why the long delay between those tests and June’s Interop? While support for 200 Gbps per wavelength does require new digital signal processor (DSP) silicon, we had originally planned to hold our first 200G event in late 2020. And we all know what happened in 2020—and 2021!
Representing the Majority of the Coherent Optics Industry
Fortunately, the manufacturers didn’t waste that additional time. Instead, they used it to further develop their products. As a result, this was possibly one of the most boring Interop events I’ve ever been a part of—because things simply worked! I won’t claim that troubleshooting wasn’t necessary (it virtually always is), but the manufacturers’ ability to quickly get their devices working with each other was truly impressive.
The Interop participants were:
The number of participants might not be high, but what’s important is that the participants include DSP silicon from multiple manufacturers that represent the majority of the coherent optics industry. Demonstrating interoperability among so many different coherent DSPs bodes incredibly well for operators because it allows them to avoid being locked into single-vendor solutions, which promotes scale and competition.
Another Piece of the 10G Puzzle
As operators move toward the deployment of 10G-capable networks, guaranteeing sufficient capacity across the entire network will be critical for ensuring great customer experiences. P2P coherent optics represents a cost-effective means of increasing the capacity of the existing network. This enables the deployment of new, higher-speed connections into customer homes via technologies like DOCSIS 4.0 at lower costs and opens up new service opportunities, such as support for wireless.
When cable operators deploy coherent termination devices (CTDs) in their network, they may choose to initially deploy them using 100G transceivers. Then, when it’s needed, they can simply replace a pair of transceiver modules with this 200G technology to double the capacity of their network links without relocating or adding other equipment. This allows operators to scale their network capacity quickly and easily based on demand, while spending only what’s needed when it’s needed.
We believe that will serve as an incredibly powerful tool in their toolset, putting in place one more piece of the puzzle that will ultimately power a 10G future.
Join CableLabs at Expo•nential and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo for In-Person, Industry-Wide Connection
Thanks to the innovations of the cable broadband industry, countless businesses and individuals have benefited from virtual experiences and online collaboration over the past two-plus years. But nothing compares to the synergy that can be achieved through in-person connection. That’s why we’re counting down the days to Expo•nential, a CableLabs member forum that will take place Monday, September 19, in Philadelphia, just ahead of SCTE® Cable-Tec Expo®.
At Expo•nential, members will have the opportunity to connect with CableLabs experts, hear from thought leaders and exchange insights in a series of thoughtfully designed sessions. Topics will range from passive optical networking (PON) solutions and the road to 10G to light field experiences and quantum networking. During this full day of interactive discussions open exclusively to CableLabs members, we’ll explore various industry perspectives on “Today, Tomorrow and Beyond,” the theme of the first-time event. You can find the agenda and session details here, then stay tuned as we add speakers to the lineup! Expo•nential sessions include:
- Broadband Usage & Its Future Growth
- Network Economics & Last-Mile Strategies
- DOCSIS® Technology: Maximizing ROI
- Passive Optical Networking: The Other 10G Technology
- The Future of Converged Networks
- The Road to 10G: Cloud-Native Architectures
- Fiber Access Network Technologies & Use Cases
- Wi-Fi: A Link to Tomorrow
- Light Field & Immersive Experiences
- Quantum Network: Entanglement-as-a-Service
SCTE Cable-Tec Expo
After Expo•nential, join us at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2022, the industry’s largest and most influential learning and networking event in the Americas. The event kicks off the evening of Monday, September 19, and runs through Thursday, September 22. CableLabs members have complimentary registration for a full-access pass to SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. Join us for the General Session, Technical Workshops, Exhibit Hall and much, much more by registering here. The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) became a CableLabs subsidiary in 2021.
In person for the first time since 2019, SCTE Cable-Tec Expo will bring together industry experts and vendors for more than three days of connection through learning, innovation and business solutions. “Creating Infinite Possibilities” is the theme of this year’s event, which will feature dozens of sessions across 13 categories:
- Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
- Cloud & Virtualization
- Converged Networks
- DevOps & Agile
- Energy Management
- Internet of Things
- Operational Transformation
- Security & Privacy
- Software Development, Automation and Tooling
- Video Services
- Wireless Access Network
- Wireline Access Network
At Expo 2022, don’t forget to stop by our booth to meet our technologists and see demonstrations of new and emerging innovations from CableLabs and Kyrio, a subsidiary of CableLabs that focuses on network equipment testing and software services.
Also, winners from CableLabs’ first-ever 10G Challenge will have an opportunity to showcase their innovations during SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. Industry expert judges Corning, Intel, Mayo Clinic and Zoom are reviewing entries now. On top of a chance to gain industry exposure at Expo 2022, winning entries will receive up to $100,000 in cash prizes.
Register for Expo•nential Today
Start making plans to attend the upcoming CableLabs’ Expo•nential member forum and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2022. We always look forward to seeing our members in person, but—for those who can’t make it to Philadelphia—Expo•nential will be available virtually too.
Please register for each event separately.
10G Advances: DOCSIS 4.0 Technology Demonstrates Unmatched Speeds
In today’s world of hyper-connectivity, we depend on network performance more than ever before. Whether we’re logging on for a workday full of videoconferencing, settling in for an evening of digital entertainment or simply taking advantage of the smart devices in our homes, our need for efficient, immersive digital experiences grows every day. The 10G platform promises high speeds, low latency, increased security and enhanced reliability—all necessary in addressing the demands of our digital future.
For most consumers, 10G means internet speeds that are 10 times faster than what they currently experience. But the best part is that the infrastructure to power 10-gigabit speeds is already in place. Thanks to DOCSIS 4.0 technology, the potential of this existing infrastructure can be fully tapped to deliver never-before-seen speed.
DOCSIS 4.0 Technology
Multi-gigabit speed took center stage in CableLabs’ recent 10G Showcase. During the showcase, cable operators Charter Communications and Comcast presented DOCSIS 4.0 prototypes capable of nearing that 10-gigabit target, giving attendees a first look at history in the making and proving that real-world deployment of 10G isn’t far off.
In their demos, the companies highlighted multi-gigabit symmetric capability using Remote-PHY and Remote-MACPHY devices built to CableLabs’ specifications. First, Charter’s John Williams and Matt Peterson demonstrated multi-gigabit symmetric capability using the DOCSIS 4.0 extended spectrum mode of operation. In the demonstration, Charter used spools of cable to simulate real-world deployments. Then, Rob Howald of Comcast displayed the same symmetric capability using the full duplex mode of operation in four separate demos, two of which were managed by a production virtual cable modem termination system (CMTS) located in a Comcast office about 40 miles away, thereby demonstrating the power of virtualization and disaggregation.
For more details about the demonstrations from Charter and Comcast, including how they were configured, watch the video below.
Win Up to $100,000 with the 10G Challenge
Apply for a chance to win up to $100,000 and an opportunity to showcase your idea at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in September. It’s easy! The deadline to submit an application is July 1, 2022. CableLabs is looking for innovators whose next big idea will require a fast, secure network and change the way we live, work, learn or play. If this sounds like you or someone you know, be sure to look into the 10G Challenge today. Check out the 10G Challenge page for more details, and help us spread the word about the competition!
The 10G Challenge: Intel and the Future of Play
In October 2021, CableLabs launched the 10G Challenge to inspire innovators to leverage the emerging 10G network. We have since partnered with experts across a myriad of industries to encourage innovators to build the products, services and applications that will rely on 10G’s increased speed, reliability, security and lower latency. Now, we are thrilled to announce that Intel, a leading technology and solutions company, has joined the 10G Challenge as an industry expert judge in the “Play” category.
The Play Category, Powered by Intel
From gaming to movies to concerts and beyond, the Play category examines the future of entertainment. New technologies are already leveling up the way we play, and the 10G network will only increase the speed of this innovation. We chose Intel as our industry expert judge in this category because of its cutting-edge innovations that have shaped the world of entertainment for decades.
In the near future, advancements in our cable broadband networks will enable new entertainment experiences. Technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will allow for even more immersive entertainment. Virtual concert-goers could experience all the sights and sounds of a live performance from their living room, and gamers could join their teammates for a night of questing in a virtual world. With the 10G network, the world of entertainment is evolving to a new level of fun.
Intel: On the Forefront of Innovation
Intel’s technology is driving the future of entertainment, for both consumers and providers. For years, Intel has designed processors for desktops, laptops and servers with the future of entertainment in mind. Intel’s innovations have made gaming PCs more powerful and customizable, helping gamers improve their online performance and experience, and even build their own gaming PCs. This level of customizability is just one reason Intel’s technologies set the industry standard for gaming.
These innovations and products, combined with 10G’s promise of faster symmetrical speeds and lower latency, make the future of gaming even brighter. Made possible by DOCSIS 4.0, the 10G platform’s multi-gigabit speeds can deliver a more immersive, highly responsive gaming experience — with less lag time and improved gameplay.
By helping judge the 10G Challenge’s Play category, Intel will be supporting the future of 10G-powered services, products and applications being designed to improve the way we play. We are thrilled to power the next era of broadband innovation together.
Help an Innovator Win $100,000 and a Showcase at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo
We want to hear from forward-thinking entrepreneurs, accelerators and makers whose big idea will revolutionize the way we live, work, learn or play—the four categories of the 10G Challenge. This could include anyone from large companies and startups to university students, professors and classes to anyone who is working on the next big thing in their garage. We’re all ears!
CableLabs members aren’t eligible to participate, but we want them to encourage any potential contestants they know to submit their ideas.
How to Enter
Entering the 10G Challenge is easy. Innovators simply fill out the application and share a 3-minute video describing or demonstrating the technology, service or application that they’re developing or plan to develop. In the video, applicants should share their vision, including:
- the problem their technology solves;
- a description or demonstration of their solution;
- why their technology is dependent on the reliability, security, speed and/or low latency that 10G promises; and
- how their solution impacts the way we live, work, learn or play.
Even if an idea is still in the concept stage, it will be considered as long as every question on the submission form is answered and a video describing the technology is included. The deadline to submit is July 1, 2022.
Six winners will be chosen: One winner for each category, a Grand Prize Winner and a People’s Choice Winner. Each category winner will receive a cash prize of $50,000, with the People’s Choice Winner receiving $10,000 and the Grand Prize Winner taking home $100,000. In addition, the Grand Prize Winner and four category winners will have the opportunity to present their technology to industry leaders at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, taking place September 19–22, 2022, in Philadelphia.
Spread the Word about the 10G Challenge
If you’re a CableLabs member and you know an innovator who needs a fast, secure network to move their idea forward, tell them about the 10G Challenge! You’ll give them a chance to win $100,000 and an opportunity for invaluable industry exposure. And by helping drive innovation, you’ll be giving the broadband industry a boost, too. It’s easy!
Powered by CableLabs in collaboration with industry expert judges Mayo Clinic, Corning, Zoom and Intel, the 10G Challenge aims to inspire innovators to leverage the emerging 10G network to develop the life-changing technologies and services that will affect our world for the better. With increased speeds, lower latency and enhanced security, 10G has the power and capabilities to make the technologies of the future possible.
Judging for the competition begins in July, so share this post today using the buttons above or by pointing innovators you know to the 10G Challenge.
NTIA Announces the Full Roster of 5G Challenge Contestants
CableLabs congratulates Capgemini Engineering, Fujitsu Network Communications, Mavenir Systems Inc., Radisys Corporation and Signal System Management for being selected as contestants in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (NTIA-ITS) 5G Challenge. The competition is hosted by CableLabs. Including Rakuten, the early bird contestant, this group of six participants highlights the diversity of vendors working to develop open and interoperable networks for 5G and beyond.
Collectively, nine subsystems will be tested from the contestants, which vary from well-established vendors in the telecom space to newer entrants in the ecosystem of emerging technologies involving the Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN). The 5G Challenge prize competition aims to accelerate the adoption of open interfaces, interoperable components and multi-vendor solutions toward the development of an open 5G ecosystem.
Cutting-Edge Lab Capabilities
Over the past few months, CableLabs’ expert technical team prepared its state-of-the-art 5G Lab by adding new lab capabilities to test contestants’ O-RAN subsystems. The capabilities include Viavi’s TeraVM and TM 500 systems for wrap-around testing on each of the O-RAN subsystems—Centralized Unit (CU), Distributed Unit (DU) and Radio Unit (RU)—and one of the industry’s first Open Distributed Unit (O-DU) testers. CableLabs and Kyrio staff are finalizing work to ensure that participants can reliably and securely test the support of industry specifications and the interoperability of the contestants’ subsystems. Multiple CU, DU and RU systems will be tested during the 5G Challenge with the goal of accelerating the development and deployment of O-RAN in the 5G ecosystem.
The test plans for each O-RAN subsystem were developed by CableLabs in conjunction with the NTIA to focus on conformance with the O-RAN Alliance and 3GPP specifications. Each system will be tested for integration, interface conformance, functionality and performance. These tests will provide information to the vendors, NTIA-ITS, the Department of Defense and the larger 5G ecosystem about the current status of the O-RAN vendor community, the benefits of interoperability, and the potential for future development of open and interoperable systems for 5G and future wireless networks.
Staff Expertise and Analysis
Contestants and the government will not only benefit from access to the state-of-the-art 5G Lab but also from access to the wireless network expertise of CableLabs and Kyrio staff. Staff will assist each contestant team to ensure complete and accurate testing. As the Host Lab, CableLabs will also provide technical analysis of each test to NTIA-ITS.
We’re looking forward to seeing all the contestants at the 5G Lab this summer and continuing CableLabs’ long-term investment in open and interoperable networks.
Tackling Security Challenges in 5G Networks
Today, 5G mobile networks are being deployed rapidly around the globe. According to GSMA Mobile Economy 2021, 5G mobile connections in North America accounted for 3 percent of all mobile connections in 2020, but that number is expected to climb to 51 percent by 2025.
On top of the accelerated deployment of public 5G networks, private 5G networks based on unlicensed spectrum and open 5G solutions supporting open interfaces and interoperability are also emerging. It’s anticipated that 5G networks—both public and private—will become predominant in the near future.
From a security perspective, 5G networks introduce both new security enhancements and new security challenges. Particularly, the move of 5G core networks to service-based and virtualized architectures will create new security challenges. How to securely deploy 5G networks to protect both subscribers and 5G network infrastructure is of top concern to both executives and practitioners using and managing 5G technologies.
Filling the Gap in 5G Security Standards
The good news is that the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is developing 5G cybersecurity guidance to help organizations effectively mitigate 5G-related security risks. In particular, the NCCoE seeks to address the gap in current 5G cybersecurity standards development, which primarily focuses on the security of the interfaces between 5G components. These standards don’t specify the cybersecurity protections for the underlying IT components that support and operate the 5G system.
CableLabs, along with our fellow collaborators, worked with the NCCoE on developing a 5G cybersecurity practice guide and a secure 5G reference architecture to mitigate 5G cybersecurity risks. We considered both 5G standards-based security features and a secure cloud-based hosting IT infrastructure.
The guide provides recommendations related to implementing a secure cloud environment for hosting 5G core networks—for example, by leveraging server hardware root of trust to enable remote attestation of the trustworthiness of cloud computing platforms. To date, 3GPP SA3 has yet to complete its study of security impacts resulting from the virtualization of the 5G core. Therefore, the NCCoE’s guidance and recommendations for securing the 5G cloud platform will help fill the gap in current 5G security standards and help inform 3GPP’s work in this area.
Share Your 5G Expertise
Driving 5G and HFC Convergence with Multi-Tenancy at the Edge
CableLabs is making it easier and more efficient to run 5G, DOCSIS and other applications at the edge. Working with our vendor partners, we’ve remediated challenges and improved the way vendors deploy their cloud-native 5G network stacks into a shared, private cloud setting. This early work acts as a catalyst to a vision in which any application workload can be co-located on infrastructure at any location in an operator’s footprint that serves the applications in the most optimal way.
The 10G Lab
CableLabs launched the “10G Lab” where the goal is to deploy multiple 5G cores and vRAN systems alongside a cable hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) network. More specifically, these applications will run in a cloud-native, multi-tenant, bare-metal environment that starts the journey toward a fully converged network. By co-locating 5G and HFC running as containers on shared infrastructure managed by a common management layer, this first step toward platform convergence enables operators to reap the rewards that come with this type of architecture, including:
- reduced operating expenses (OpEx), such as power consumption, and reduced capital expenses (CapEx), including hardware costs and facilities to house the hardware, such as head-end or hub locations;
- the elimination of over-provisioned environments by matching resources to demand (the environment is scaled to optimize network stack operation);
- automated as opposed to manual deployment of services (more OpEx savings); and
- the ability to create dynamic, customized network topologies at different geographical locations that improve throughput and reduce latency for subscribers.
In addition, decoupling the network software from proprietary hardware increases the cadence of system upgrades, which reduces the time to market for new capabilities and optimizations.
The following diagram shows the current and future focus of the 10G Lab:
CableLabs’ experience working with vendors to deploy network stacks into a multi-tenant environment, initially 5G, has been captured in a recently published white paper (open to the public) entitled “Best Practices for Deploying 5G into a Shared Environment.” There’s also a GitHub repository (referenced in the white paper) that shares the scripts for automating the deployment of a Kubernetes cluster tailored for 5G workloads. The white paper captures learnings related to enhancing security and ensuring that vendor applications are deployed such that they don’t interfere with one another when running in a shared environment. Other areas of discovery include optimizing network configurations, balancing resource allocations, enabling performance settings (particularly for user-plane operations for 5G) and easing the management of multiple applications on shared infrastructure. Be sure to check out the conference recording on this topic at the Envision Vendor Forum 2022 (day 2).
CableLabs has already worked with 5G vendors in the 10G Lab; however, later this year, we plan to expand the lab capabilities with open-source 5G cores and vRAN solutions, as well as a vCCAP. When a level of convergence is achieved—initially through co-locating the 5G and HFC network stacks into a shared environment, and eventually by establishing a tighter integration between 5G and cable wireline technologies through a shared core to support both access network types—operators will further benefit from this singular, multi-modal communication platform that will reduce network complexity, cut operational costs, improve quality and create new business and service opportunities.
The 10G Lab will play a part in three key initiatives. It will:
- provide a foundation for convergence-related activities, including executing convergence use cases of interest to our members;
- provide an environment for hosting the 5G challenge and other interoperability events; and
- be leveraged for proof of concept (POC) demonstrations as part of CableLabs’ innovation initiatives.
The 10G Lab is open to collaboration with CableLabs’ members and the NDA vendor community. We encourage members and vendors to partner with us to showcase the value of running applications in this shared, cloud-native environment. Please contact Carmela Stuart with your ideas! You can also join the CableLabs community as an NDA vendor.
Mobility & Wireless in a Converged World: Envision Vendor Forum 2022
This year’s CableLabs 2022 Envision Vendor Forum aligns with one of our industry’s biggest goals for the near future: mobile + fixed convergence. Specifically, we’ll focus on the wireless, mobile and converged aspects of network infrastructure that will allow us to build truly seamless and ubiquitous platforms to power next-generation products and services. This short and highly consumable virtual event will occur April 19–20 and is absolutely free. Be sure to register today and become a part of the convergence conversation.
What’s On the Agenda?
Ever since the term “convergence” started popping up in technology circles, CableLabs has been focused on facilitating meaningful and productive discussions about how to make this goal a reality. Considering that there are so many approaches to convergence, the insight of our industry’s vendors and wireless specialists is instrumental to forging a path forward. This year at Envision, we’re planning to exchange ideas and share progress through a combination of panel discussions and presentations by key industry thought leaders who are working on next-generation 5G/Open Radio Access Network (ORAN), 10G, Wi-Fi 6, 3GPP and other wireless and mobility infrastructure products. We’ll also discuss future initiatives and challenges, as well as technology policies, security considerations and emerging operating models.
We’re also sticking to last year’s flexible virtual format, which removes many logistical barriers and allows all registered participants to pose questions directly to subject matter experts. Our main objective is to help you and other CableLabs members and subsidiaries get up to speed on the latest developments in the wireless area of the convergence initiative and align your business goals with the larger picture.
This event is best suited for decision-makers—including executives, senior technologists and strategists on both the cable operator and the vendor side—who are leading the development and implementation of next-generation wireless services in their respective areas.
CableLabs 2022 Envision Vendor Forum is closed to outside press, media and analysts.
When: April 19–20, 2022, 9:00–11:30 a.m. MDT on both days.
How much: FREE. Each person must register separately with their company email by April 17, 2022.
The Cable Center Hall of Fame Honors CableLabs’ Chris Lammers
We’re thrilled to announce that Chris Lammers, CableLabs’ COO Emeritus and Senior Executive Advisor, has been inducted into The Cable Center Hall of Fame for his life-long professional efforts and indelible impact on the cable and broadband industry. This induction is one of the industry’s highest and most exclusive honors, reserved only for the most innovative and influential leaders.
Chris’s mission and vision extends beyond the goals of any one company. A lawyer by trade, he made his debut in the cable arena in the 1980s when he was hired to lead the merger and acquisitions effort at Western Communications, a mid-tier operator (MTO). After holding a series of executive positions at Western, he ultimately served as the company’s CEO for three years before joining CableLabs in 1997. In a number of roles, Chris contributed to the successful rollout of critical technology, which brought high-speed cable internet to millions around the world.
Chris’s experience at Western shaped his holistic vision for creating a truly inclusive global cable community that addresses the unique needs of its smaller members. Chris understood early on that small and mid-sized operators are often more open to trying new ideas and technologies that drive the industry forward. CableLabs offered him a platform for launching numerous initiatives geared toward increased innovation in the MTO space, resulting in the launch of many cutting-edge services that cable customers enjoy today. He has also been instrumental in growing CableLabs’ international membership from 19 to 65 members in 35 countries, making sure that every member has access to the latest developments and technical support. His unwavering moral compass and sense of fairness has helped him build strong professional relationships and teamwork among diverse members and employees, positively contributing to the inclusive culture and image of CableLabs and its community.
Chris is also a great champion of next-generation talent development. To promote interest in the industry, he has taken an active role in the Emma Bowen Foundation’s efforts to unite students with industry professionals, and he has also been involved in the Chinese Executive Media Management Program (CEMMP) to train mid-level managers from Chinese media companies in the United States. Outside his professional endeavors, Chris has led corporate sponsorship efforts for Community Food Share, United Way and the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, and he recently became professionally involved with the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. These accomplishments are only a snippet of Chris’s contributions to the cable industry and beyond.
We’re incredibly proud to have Chris Lammers as part of our team at CableLabs and deeply appreciate all that he has done for the cable industry over the course of his accomplished career. Congratulations, Chris!