BACKGROUND. Big Apple Case Study 2

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1 Big Benefits from Full CCAP Deployment A Big Apple Case Study Executive Summary Time Warner Cable, not unlike other North American service providers, continually faces questions about how to deliver more speed, services and choices economically and efficiently to its millions of customers over networks that were initially built to meet different demands and expectations. To improve the customer experience, TWC embarked on a multi-year network transformation initiative in The initiative required key leaders to re-think how networks could be architected to deliver more within the confines of costs, time, and space. TWC embraced the full complement of services made possible by Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) technology. This meant combining video and high-speed data services onto one platform, no easy feat given that the two networks had grown up side by side and were managed by separate teams within the company. Combining the various services (CMTS, VOD and SDV) onto one platform held the promise of dramatically reducing costs, complexity, and greatly improving the customer experience. TWC chose Casa Systems C100G CCAP as their solution. Together, the firms deployed C100Gs throughout hub sites in one of the more challenging areas in North America New York City. The capacity improvements, energy savings, and space savings made possible by this bold move have been analyzed, verified, and provide a compelling case for service providers considering transformation of their cable systems. Benefits of deploying CCAP include millions of dollars in savings, 30 percent space savings across 25 NYC hub sites and the ability to triple consumer bandwidth speeds.

2 BACKGROUND North American broadband traffic demands have increased beyond the expectations of those who designed the networks years ago. Incredibly rapid growth of both downstream and upstream traffic continues unabated and is projected to keep climbing for the foreseeable future. The US broadband competitive landscape began to change dramatically in 2011 when competitors announced plans to provide 1Gbps broadband access for fees dramatically lower than the US average at the time. Still, the US ranked #12 globally in Akamai s 2014 State of the Internet report, with average connection speeds of only 11.5Mbps. Video consumption drove much of the traffic growth and the demand for faster connection speeds, higher resolution rates, and the ability to consume video from multiple devices at home. Consumer adoption of OTT (over the top) streaming video services was first and fastest in the US. Services like Netflix and Hulu quickly became either complementary to traditional cable service provider offerings or, in some cases, replaced all or part of consumers viewership of those services. As demand heated up for consumer video subscribers and dollars, cable service providers found their ability to offer more bandwidth enabled growth in high speed data (HSD) services to help offset Pay TV revenue declines. It became obvious that legacy solutions needed to be reviewed and upgraded. Video and data solutions were delivered via separate technologies and operated by separate departments within the provider organizations. Cable modems, terminating over a hybrid-fiber coaxial plant to CMTS (cable modem termination systems) in the head-end or hub, were used for high-speed IP data services and VoIP. Alongside this architecture, existed hardware for digital video QAMs (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation). Within the video delivery system, separate pieces of equipment were used for broadcast vs. narrowcast. Providers needed to support the growth of narrowcast QAMS for VOD, network DVRs, high-speed data, voice, and increasingly for IP video. Scaling up meant adding more and more equipment, with dense urban hubs holding dozens of racks packed with CMTS and video QAM gear. With service group sizes being reduced to meet demand, the prospect Big Apple Case Study 2

3 of expanding physical facilities to accommodate growth, particularly in dense urban environments with limited real estate availability, was a challenging and costly endeavor. Beyond concerns about finite space resources, providers were also looking for ways to reduce the energy required to power and cool their equipment. The industry had been working to reduce power consumption of CPE (customer premise equipment) like settops, gateways and routers for years. The need to renew and re-architect head ends and hubs provided a key opportunity to address energy requirements across the network. As 2014 got underway, service providers in the U.S. were at varying stages of network transformation, each putting together the pieces of their next-gen access, aggregation and core networks to enable profitable growth against legacy and new-comer competitors. The technology bets being placed to achieve competitive edge were multibillion dollar investments, and speed to market with faster high-speed data services was top of mind for company executives. TIME WARNER CABLE TWC, the second largest cable service provider in the U.S., was no exception to the movement to transform legacy networks. In January 2014, TWC began a multi-year plan to consolidate its voice, video and data network architectures in order to provide more competitive service offerings, and to prepare for the continually growing demand for these services. The TWC Maxx initiative in New York City aimed to deliver a superior customer experience, featuring ultra-fast Internet speeds, state-of-the-art TV services and best-in-class reliability. This initiative included setting new network performance standards for the entire TWC system to roll-out over time. The desired solution needed to: offer increased bandwidth and QAMs immediately and scale to several times the current requirements with minimal effort provide a framework for transition to DOCSIS 3.1 support converged services (voice, video and data) reduce space and energy requirements simplify operations and engineering integrate with existing operational support systems used to manage, monitor, and provisions services Finally, TWC wanted to meet an aggressive schedule, including deployment in some of the service provider s largest and most challenging service areas such as New York City. Big Apple Case Study 3

4 EXISTING SOLUTIONS Historically, TWC, like most other U.S. cable service providers, had deployed CMTS and Edge QAMs for voice, video and data services. 80% kw increase projected to achieve desired customer experience with legacy CMTS across 25 sites The existing solutions had a number of limitations, including: Limited channel capacity. The CMTS systems in place at the outset of the project were first generation solutions, providing limited capacity for channel growth. Multiple architectures. Though the legacy CMTS were dual service, providing high-speed data and voice, they were not adaptable to support video, necessitating additional Edge QAM gear in the network for video delivery. High space demands. With the number of service groups expected to triple or quadruple, more compact solutions were a requirement. High energy requirements. Solutions needed to become more energy efficient, for both direct and indirect power requirements and for environmental reasons. Not only is this a cost driver, but the ability to provision power has upper limits. Operational complexity. A number of different Edge QAM and CMTS vendors solutions had been deployed over the years, resulting in a complex environment for TWC s operations and engineering teams. Deploying more of the same legacy solutions would require a dramatic increase in the number of pieces of equipment to be maintained, adding to operational overhead and reducing time to resolution of service issues. Looking toward future requirements, it became obvious that the cost to scale existing CMTS to achieve 3X speeds would require a doubling of the CMTS chassis count, representing an increase in power and space requirements that many facilities could not support. On the power efficiency side, increasing the number of CMTS QAMs from 144,000 to 278,000 and delivering 3X speeds would have increased the power requirements across the 25 sites by 597 kw, or nearly 80%. This was a costly prospect and out of strategic alignment with TWC s energy efficiency goals. Big Apple Case Study 4

5 Even if space and power limitations were set aside, achieving the desired bandwidth with legacy CMTS solutions would have been challenging due to signal losses incurred as more ports would have to be combined. TWC needed a solution that would consolidate services onto one platform, deliver immediate bandwidth increases, and scale to meet future needs. EXPLORING A CCAP ALTERNATIVE CCAP combines the functions served by the legacy CMTS and Edge QAM with a single CCAP RF port delivering HSD as well as narrowcast QAMS. The long desired convergence of voice, video and data services as well as needed capacity and scalability are enabled with CCAP functionality. Other CCAP benefits include: Reduced rack space devoted to RF combiners Increased DOCSIS capacity / SG Reduced cost-per-downstream channel Scalable and flexible deployment options Ultra-high density Pathway to converged services offerings Casa Systems led the industry in CCAP development, launching the first platform in 2012, the C100G. Casa s C100G CCAP was selected as Light Readings Leading Lights award winner for Best New Cable Product in 2013, as the first solution supporting CableLabs full CCAP specification for both data and video. Big Apple Case Study 5

6 TWC selected Casa Systems C100G CCAP platform for deployment of high-speed data, voice and QAM video in three service regions in New York City, where the plan was to consolidate three different service platforms onto the C100G, as shown in the figure below. This would become the first commercial deployment of full, integrated CCAP services, including both high speed data as well as video, by any MSO in North America. THE NEW YORK CITY EXPERIENCE Planning a successful conversion of 25 hub locations in New York City began with replacement of every CMTS in those locations with a CCAP solution. Converting legacy CMTS to CCAP was the lower risk and more straightforward of the three services targeted for conversion. For TWC, the next phase addressed VOD services, moving VOD QAMS to the CCAP solution. The final phase, still in progress, is the migration of SDV QAMS. The CCAP conversion plan had to incorporate thousands of details in the design, testing, staging, Big Apple Case Study 6

7 and installation phases. One of the first steps was to combine previously separate video and DOCSIS labs to enable end-to-end testing of the new solution. A key to success was the executive support that fostered a spirit of cooperation across the video and DOCSIS teams throughout the project. Without a company-wide vision to align the work teams, the results would have taken much longer to achieve. Another key aspect of the planning stage was a full RF plant audit. Increasing HSD speeds also increases performance pressure on the plant. Any deficiencies (impulse noise, packet re-transmission error rates, etc.) will be much more noticeable after upgrades are completed. Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, the locations where the first implementations would take place, provided a unique set of logistic challenges. Determined to execute the conversion with minimal customer impact, the teams worked around the clock in hub sites already packed with equipment. A sample of the existing VOD, SDV and CMTS rack elevation is shown in Figure 1, below. Even though ultimately multiple legacy chassis would be replaced with only one C100G chassis, the change out required shoe-horning in the new equipment until the legacy equipment could be removed. VOD SDV CMTS Figure 1: Legacy Rack Elevation showing VOD, SDV and CMTS equipment in a Sample Hub Site Figure 1 shows 5 I-CMTS chassis, 24 VOD EQAM units and 6 SDV EQAM chassis in a total of 8 racks, supporting HSD, VOD and SDV across 124 HSD service groups. A single VOD or SDV service group could span multiple HSD service groups. Each VOD EQAM provides Big Apple Case Study

8 4 RF output ports, with a pair of RF output ports per service group, serving 2 to 3 fiber nodes. For SDV, there were 12 RF output ports per SDV EQAM linecard with a total of 24 RF output ports per chassis. A pair of RF output ports from each linecard are combined to a service group with each service group serving 2 fiber nodes. With the migration to the CCAP platform, all HSD, VOD and SDV service groups were realigned to a single fiber node per service group. To meet the current and forecasted needs of the nearly seven million residents in the three boroughs, TWC elected to go with a channel configuration of 32 DS QAMS per port on the Casa C100G. The before and after QAM count, across the 25 hub sites, is shown in the table below. HSD and VOD QAMS per port doubled, and SDV QAMS quadrupled with the C100G deployment. By utilizing the CASA C100G integrated CCAP CMTS, TWC eliminated external RF gateways and timing interfaces that were present in the legacy solution. This resulted in increased density and dramatic reduction in rack space requirements. Figure 2 shows the final rack elevation in a sample hub after the C100G deployment, which delivered 3X reduction in rack space comparing legacy rack requirements to the resultant C100G rack deployments. Figure 2: C100G in a sample hub site Big Apple Case Study 8

9 The results vary from hub to hub, with some legacy scenarios yielding lesser or greater space savings than others. Overall, TWC achieved an average of 30 percent reduction in rack space requirements across 25 hub sites in NYC through deployment of the C100G. The C100G enabled more capacity in less space and provided more flexibility. TWC s design dedicates a downstream /upstream port to a single service group. Using this approach along with the functions in the C100G, TWC can easily make changes without incurring a truck roll. Adding, deleting, or changing channels can now be done with a keyboard. The benefits include the elimination of truck rolls and reduction of service disruption due to physical wiring changes. RESULTS The superior channel density enabled TWC to offer updated plans with higher bandwidth at all tiers in the New York City area. The top tier Ultimate Package DS speed tripled from up to 100Mbps to up to 300Mbps and the US speed quadrupled from up to 5Mpbs to up to 20Mbps. Actual speeds may vary. Big Apple Case Study 9

10 In addition to the goal of offering customers a superior customer experience, TWC also achieved significant operating cost and energy savings. While increasing QAMs from 144K to 278K the new platform reduced energy demand, as shown in the chart below. Compared to the legacy video and CMTS, the CCAP solution reduced energy requirements by 41 percent and nearly doubled the number of QAMS to 278K. The avoided power demand was 911kW per year, comparing the CCAP solution to the equivalent legacy CMTS solution at 278K QAM. QAM and kw Alternative Scenarios Legacy CMTS 144K QMAs Legacy CMTS 278 QAMs CASA CCAP 278K QAMs TWC, an active member of SCTE s Energy 2020 initiative, achieved significant energy savings by deploying CCAP. TWC had the energy savings independently verified by New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA) who provided support from engineering firm Willdan to gather actual data and perform analysis to determine before and after consumption. The results across the 25 sites were impressive. The bandwidth productivity nearly doubled in the studied sites (93 percent improvement), but the energy consumption dropped on average by 30 percent. This is in stark contrast to the 80 percent estimated increase in power consumption, if comparable productivity increases had been deployed using legacy solutions. The total actual and avoided energy consumption savings exceeds 11 million kwh per year, as shown in the corresponding table. Big Apple Case Study 10

11 New York City s incentive energy savings program, in addition to the raw energy savings achieved, helped TWC save over $5 million in the first year and should continue to contribute $2.5 million in savings per year over the next four years. Beyond the energy savings, TWC is benefiting from additional management, maintenance, and operational expense reductions. The prospect of expanding facilities to house an ever-growing number of pieces of equipment has been avoided. SUMMARY The C100G deployment in New York met or exceeded the deployment requirements detailed earlier. To date, Time Warner Cable has migrated thousands of subscribers in the New York City area to the CCAP platform, enabling them to enjoy new TWC Maxx services, including higher internet speeds (up to 300 Mbps compared to prior high end plans offering up to 100Mbps), and enhanced TV features. The increased bandwidth and ability to easily increase QAMs was available from the time of deployment forward. Not only are customers having a better experience, but TWC is realizing lower OPEX from reduced space and energy requirements, and from simplification of operations. Deploying the full complement of services supported by Casa Systems CCAP has enabled Time Warner Cable to provide a better customer experience and reduce energy consumption today, and to have a clear path to scaling up to continually meet demands in the future. Big Apple Case Study 11

12 Casa Systems has defined a new category of Ultra Broadband network edge devices based on disruptive technologies to target the growing market opportunity in interactive digital video and broadband IP services. Casa Systems provides leading edge CCAP and DOCSIS 3.0 & DOCSIS 3.1 CMTS products as well as universal EdgeQAM and intelligent video processing solutions for broadcast and unicast services. #UltraBroadband #GigabitSpeeds #DOCSIS3.1 For more information, please visit us at Casa Systems, Inc. 100 Old River Road Suite 100 Andover, MA Tel: Fax: October 2015

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