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CableLabs Melds Comcast's CMAP And TWC's CESAR

CableLabs has released a technical report that consolidates the core interface requirements of Comcast and Time Warner Cable for an integrated headend device.

Previously, Comcast had outlined its approach, called the Converged Multiservice Access Platform (CMAP), and TWC had put forward the Converged Edge Services Access Router (CESAR).

CableLabs has synthesized the two into the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), a product definition for a device that integrates the functions of broadcast and narrowcast quadrature amplitude modulators (QAMs), as well as DOCSIS 3.0 downstream and upstream interfaces. It also includes the option to support passive optical network (PON) termination equipment in the same chassis.

The report is available at CCAP describes a converged headend device for both large and small service groups, reconciling the main differences between Comcast and Time Warner Cable approaches (CMAP had defined large and small service groups while CESAR covered only one smaller group).

According to CableLabs, upcoming specifications will include new configuration and management technology important for service reliability and operational efficiency. Through flexible provisioning of traditional video QAMs to DOCSIS QAMS, the CCAP will enable the efficient transition from traditional video transport to IP transport of managed video services, the organization said.

The CCAP architecture will help operators achieve operational efficiencies and cost benefits, including reducing power and headend space requirements in hubs, according to Dan Rice, CableLabs' vice president of access network technologies.

This technical report and the architecture enabled by the CCAP represent the consensus requirements from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and other CableLabs members.

"We are pleased with the industry consensus for the next generation of access platform," Time Warner Cable chief technology officer Mike LaJoie said in a statement. "This platform will provide the economic scale for the industry to provide new high bandwidth services."

Comcast Cable CTO Tony Werner added, "This blending of our two approaches will help create an industry-wide approach for access technology platforms. We are engaged in this CableLabs process and are actively contributing to its efforts on CCAP," he added.

Jay Rolls, Cox's senior vice president of technology, also weighed in, commenting: "The CCAP architecture will be an important element of our future strategy for access technology. It will be very helpful as we continue to assess our deployment scenarios," he said.