CableLabs, Cisco Get Real About Virtualization

CableLabs and Cisco Systems have announced the creation of a new software project aimed at enabling virtualization on cable networks.

That new software project, labeled "OpenRPD" and originally developed by Cisco, is targeted at what's called the Remote PHY Device (RPD). The RPD, they explained, is a physical layer converter commonly located in an optical node of the cable network. The open source software will reside in the Remote PHY Device and will be available to cable operators and RPD vendors around the world, they said. 

CableLabs said president and CEO Phil McKinney detailed the initiative at his keynote at this week’s CableLabs Winter Conference in Orlando, Fla.  

The effort will build on the original work around the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), a high-density architecture that combines the functions of the cable modem termination system and the edge QAM. The open source software will help to virtualize those functions as they are distributed toward the edge of the network.

“More and more of the telecommunications infrastructure is running on open source platforms,” said Ralph Brown, CTO, CableLabs, in a statement. “CableLabs has a history of contributing to and hosting open source projects. The OpenRPD project helps launch CableLabs increased focus on open source projects for the cable industry.”

“This is open source for cable access. Not only does it help move the industry toward the future architecture but it also enables a new developer community,” added Dave Ward, CTO of engineering and chief architect, at Cisco. “Open standards, open source and an open ecosystem community for developers is a key trajectory for networking. We see the Remote PHY architecture and RPD evolving to a more generalized and virtualized architecture that can be applied to all types of access networks.”

“Our collaborative industry effort is about helping cable networks scale,” said John Chapman, Cisco Fellow and CTO of the company’s Cable Access business. “Remote PHY, OpenRPD and DOCSIS 3.1 are playing a pivotal role in expanding the capacity of the HFC plant in a reliable, cost-effective and scalable way.”