Harmonic links to Google Cloud Marketplace, debuts flexible MAC setup

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Flexible MAC Architecture offers different ways to disaggregate the media access control (MAC) function’s management, control and data planes to help support multi-gig services. (buzbuzzer/Getty Images)

Harmonic unveiled a pair of updates to its CableOS virtual converged cable access platform (CCAP), touting a new integration with Google Cloud Marketplace and a software-based MAC Anywhere solution for distributed access architecture (DAA) deployments.

The company said in a press release the former means operators will now have a direct channel to Google Cloud’s Marketplace, allowing them to deploy new virtual network infrastructure applications and customer services faster. It noted CableOS supports infrastructure applications including vCMTS, vPON and vBNG. Potential subscriber services include security, Wi-Fi management and other user experience enhancements.

Nimrod Ben-Natan, SVP and GM of Harmonic’s Cable Access Business, in a statement hailed the partnership with Google Cloud as “a significant milestone that has the potential to increase service revenues for our customers.”

RELATED: Comcast commits $175M to license Harmonic’s CableOS virtual CCAP

Separately, Harmonic also detailed a new flexible MAC architecture (FMA) solution for its CableOS platform, which can be deployed in a data center or in a node. The company said the product can be used to containerize and orchestrate MAC functions in any standard Remote MAC-PHY device, whether from Harmonic or a third-party vendor.

Ben-Natan talked up the solution as “the smarter way to deploy FMA.” “Leveraging our CableOS Platform in a Flexible MAC Architecture, operators can simplify network operations, use the hardware of their choice and power 10G and symmetrical multi-gigabit internet in the most sustainable way possible,” he stated.

The move follows the publication of CableLabs’ FMA specifications in September 2020. FMA is part of a cable industry trend towards DAA and represents a complement to earlier efforts around Remote-PHY. In a nutshell, FMA offers different ways to disaggregate the media access control (MAC) function’s management, control and data planes to help support multi-gig services.

Dell’Oro Group VP of Broadband Access and Home Networking Jeff Heynen explained the importance of FMA in a blog posted in June. “It gives cable operators the flexibility they desperately need as they navigate how to prioritize current capacity upgrades through traditional node splits, mid-and high-splits, upcoming outside plant upgrades to 1.2Ghz and 1.8GHz, as well as determining whether their future access network relies on DOCSIS 4.0, fiber-to-the-home or a combination of the two,” he wrote.

Harmonic didn’t say in the release whether any operators are planning to deploy its FMA solution. In the past, though, the vendor has been heavily involved in Comcast’s efforts to test and deploy DAA technologies.