Cable-Tec Expo: Four Hot Topics

Looking beyond the opening general sessions and keynote discussions, here’s a glance at the topics that should generate the most buzz at next week’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta:

DOCSIS 3.1: SCTE is dedicating a full day to DOCSIS 3.1, cable’s emerging multi-gigabit platform, in a pre-conference “Symposium” on Monday, Oct. 21. It will cover the gamut — an update on the specs, a review of operator plans, a dive into the spec’s technical nitty-gritty, and network planning help. CableLabs has long said it expects to release the D3.1 product specs before the end of the year, so this year’s show could offer a high profile opportunity to release the news.

Don’t miss: “MSO Plans and Perspectives” at 10:20 a.m.

Reference Design Kit: The RDK, a pre-integrated software bundle for IP-capable set-tops and gateways, remains short of cross-industry buy-in. But there’s evidently enough interest in it to bring about the “All Things RDK” panel (Monday, Oct 21, at 2:45 p.m.), offering a progress report from Comcast’s Steve Reynolds; Liberty Global’s Bill Warga; TWC’s Matthew Zelesko; and Steve Heeb, president and general manager of RDK Management LLC, the recently formed Comcast-TWC joint venture.

Software-Defined Networks: SDN, an approach that decouples the network-control plane from the data-forwarding plane, has been a huge topic in telecom circles in the past year, and it’s now starting to seep into the cable think tank as operators seek out ways to boost the efficiency and flexibility of their broadband networks.

Don’t miss: “SDN: Mining the Hidden Potential in Your Cable Network” workshop (Monday, Oct. 21, at 1:15 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 24 at 4 p.m.)

Remote PHY: Like SDN, the notion of remote PHY — moving network elements traditionally found in the head-end to the edges of the access network — is still a nascent, but potentially game-changing concept. This year, light will be shed on why the trend is important as operators look to ratchet up network capacity.

Don’t miss: “Remote PHY: Close To Our Heart” (Thursday, Oct. 24, at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.