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Calix Offers Way for Cable Ops to Extend Bridge to Network Virtualization

Offering a way for cable operators to migrate to a more efficient, virtualized platform, Calix has introduced a product that can plug into their legacy access networks and utilize software-defined capabilities.

Calix said that product, the AXOS DPx Connector, is a DOCSIS Virtualized Network Function (VNF) that can be woven into existing OSS (operational support systems) for HFC and PON networks deployed by MSOs.

Cable operators are eager to shift to software-defined networking and virtualized apps and systems, but they are challenged with how to develop a framework that can fit that into those legacy OSS environments, Shane Eleniak, vice president of product line leadership at Calix, said.

Calix has already done some work with DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON and DOCSIS Provisioning of GPON, which enable operators to utilize their DOCSIS backoffice systems for PON deployments, but want to move away from a classic, monolithic software approach, he said.

MSOs, Eleniak added, “want to invest in something that is SDN-aware…The tricky part for an operator, is how do I bridge?”

Calix claims that the AXOS DPx Connector can be plugged into the existing architecture and virtualize the applications without altering the underlying backoffice systems. MSOs would also use the same servers, but the new connector would add scale and tie it back to a data center or network operation center (NOC).

To aid the effort, Calix has teamed up with Momentum Telecom, a company that supplies DOCSIS management/provisioning products and hosted voice services to cable operators.

Eleniak said the primary, early targets for the new product are cable operators that have been deploying PON or have it on their roadmap for certain scenarios in a way that complements the HFC side of their business. He said it will also fit in as operators deploy DOCSIS 3.1 and starting to pursue “virtual” Converged Cable Access Platforms (CCAPs) and distributed access architectures.

Calix said it has field trials underway. It will be using a two-pronged approach for trials and deployments – working with Momentum and its base of MSOs as well as direct engagements with the operators, according to Doug Blue, Calix's solutions marketing director for cable. 

 “As an industry, we know that SDN is the way of the future of service providers and this partnership between Calix and Momentum Telecom will allow our customers to more easily move to an SDN architecture as soon as they are ready,” Scott Helms, senior vice president of advanced services at Momentum Telecom, said in a statement. “The service agility enabled by SDN has become a key strategic goal for cable operators, and the combined solution allows our joint customers to immediately begin to reap the benefits of an SDA architecture without the complexity of high costs of integration.“