Generic Access Platform (GAP): Cable Innovation at its Finest.

Netbit Generic Access Platfrom

Introduction

Generic Access Platform (GAP) marks the birth of the ultimate cable access node. Intelligent, modular and scalable, GAP will open up opportunities in the cable network like never before. In this article, we are going to examine GAP, what this means for the cable industry, the benefits and what we can expect in the future.

 

What is GAP?

GAP (Generic Access Platform) has been designed to innovate, streamline and change the operations of node deployments. Through this ingenious design, cable nodes will be future-proofed and simplified outside a plant.

Hybrid Fiber Coaxial nodes connect fiber optic cables to coax cables including:

  1. Fiber originating from cable headend site
  2. Coax terminating at cable modems located in subscriber homes

GAP either hangs on a fiber / cable strand or is bolted inside an enclosure that is on the ground in a pedestal or underground in a vault.

 

Current Challenges

At present, cable networks face operational challenges supporting custom node housings and designs. As network requirements and delivery models constantly evolve, we need to be equipped to cater to a developing market. Multiple system operators (MSOs) need to adhere to ever-changing access technology. One of the many issues that this market faces is it’s changing landscape. This results in high deployment of many different node SKUs, which leads to increased inventory, development and maintenance costs. Today’s current HFC (hybrid fiber coaxial) nodes, amplifiers, and other equipment are purpose-built to a pre-determined set of specifications and functions, thus making updates a nightmare to implement after installation. As a result, operators need to swap out an entire HFC node to make upgrades. As we move into the future, operators are driving fiber deeper into the network which is increasing the volume of HFC nodes.

 

What are the Benefits?

  • GAP – can be upgraded with remote software or simple module swap
  • MSOs will be able to make in-field updates of the access technologies in GAP-compliant HFC nodes
  • MSOs can cost-effectively add new functionality to HFC nodes = increases ROI
  • Futureproofing of HFC nodes = MSOs can quickly upgrade networks with emerging capabilities like deep fiber, distributed architectures (Remote-MAC/-PHY/-MACPHY) full duplex, 5G, and fiber to the home
  • Reducing inventory – MSOs can address different access mixes at the module level, which costs less than carrying complete HFC nodes in inventory for each access mix
  • OEMs no longer have to build the entire node and can focus their investment in areas of expertise. MSOs are not tied to a single OEM and can choose module vendors to best fit their needs
  • Facilitating edge computing: Compute capabilities can be more easily moved to the far edges of the network with GAP-compliant modules equipped with server-grade microprocessors
  • A variety of access technologies can be consolidated into a single GAP-compliant HFC node
  • GAP can also ease the migration to multi-access edge computing (MEC) and HFC node connectivity to Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) or other 5G networks.

GAP’s Main Objective

The main objective of GAP is to completely eradicate the need for OEMs to develop their own housings and instead, devote these engineering resources to developing service generating modules.

NetBit & GAP

NetBit is actively participating in the development of the GAP standards, advising on power related considerations such as thermal transfer, achievable power density and interconnect.  As such, we intend to be at the forefront of PSU product launches in compliance with the emerging standard.

Conclusion

GAP’s innovative architecture and technology will open up a vast array of opportunities in the cable market for operators and Node vendors alike. To find out more about how NetBit can assist your GAP related product development activities contact sales@netbit.com.

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