Casa, Intraway team up on vCCAP demo that taps into CableLabs' SNAPS initiative

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Casa Systems and Intraway will demo NFV interoperability at next week's CableLabs Summer Conference. (Pixabay)

Casa Systems and Intraway will be showing off multilevel orchestration of virtual CCAP and remote PHY over a virtual network infrastructure at next week's CableLabs Summer Conference.

Like other vendors in the cable operator industry, Casa Systems and Intraway have been looking for a way to help cable to crack open its network infrastructures in order to enable new virtualization capabilities such as automation and elasticity. 

While virtual CCAP (Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) and remote PHY aren't new concepts, Casa and Intraway's proof-of-concept (POC) demo is notable because it uses CableLabs' SNAPS (SDN/NFV Application Development Platform and Stack Project) to further cable's virtualization efforts. In particular, the POC uses the SNAPS OpenStack installer.

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When it comes to network functions virtualization (NFV), the cable operator industry has lagged behind the telco sector. CableLabs started its SDN/NFV Application Development Platform and Stack Project (SNAPS) two years ago.

SNAPS, which was first based on OpenStack and now includes SNAPS-Kubernetes, was designed to provide a common framework for MSOs' virtualization efforts, which include blending legacy systems with newer ones without disrupting services to customers.

RELATED: CableLabs marches toward virtualization with TIP, SNAPS

A spokeswoman for Intraway said that the two companies have been working on the POC for two months. That initial demo work took place in CableLab's Kyrio labs. Kyrio is a for-profit division of CableLabs. There's also a POC underway at a Tier 1 multiple service operator in Latin America that is using Remote PHY and a physical CCAP.

In order to showcase NFV interoperability in cable, the virtualizied SNAPS-based POC paired Casa’s Axyom vCCAP with Intraway’s Symphonica Orchestrator  by using native NETCONF and YANG APIs.

In addition to creating NFV interoperability, Intraway’s multi-level orchestration of a virtual network infrastructure also supports distributed access architectures (DAA). The Symphonica Orchestrator has been installed by several service providers in Latin America. It's being deployed in several use cases including GPON, business services, wireless, and LTE.

Virtual CCAP on the move

Casa Systems announced in October of last year that its Axyom Virtual CCAP (vCCAP) would enter field trials. On the company's first-quarter earnings call in May, Casa CEO Jerry Guo said the company's Axyom virtual broadband network gateway was in trials with the multiple Tier 1 fixed broadband providers globally and "we expect commercial success as early as Q2, 2018," according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. 

On Monday, Harmonic released its second-quarter earnings, which included the news that its virtual CCAP offering, "CableOS," was being used to deliver broadband service to more than 400,000 cable modems, up 100% from previous quarter.

"And over 100,000 of these modems are now being served through a distributed architecture, demonstrating that with CableOS, new more flexible access architectures really can be rolled out at scale," said Harmonic CEO and President Patrick Harshman, according to Seeking Alpha. "During the quarter, much of our CableOS focus was on working closely with a few global Tier 1 customers, preparing for scale deployment. And this Tier 1 progress has been good and underpins our second half guidance. However, we've also made progress expanding our overall customer base and now have over 20 line commercial deployments and advanced field trials, up from 15 reported last quarter."

In addition to Casa Systems and Harmonic, Arris, Cisco and Huawei are also among the traditional cable modem termination systems (CTMS) and CCAP vendors while newcomers, such as Nokia's Gainspeed, have also entered the fray to help cable operators move towards virtualization.

In June, Cisco announced the debut of its cloud-native broadband router, which is a containerized, software reboot of its traditional CCAP hardware.