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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 10, 2012

Aurora Network's Digital Return Technology to Surpass Analog By 2014

By Madhubanti Rudra, TMCnet Contributor

Based on its Fiber Deep architecture and digital return technology, Aurora Network provides unique solutions that are designed to address specific issues of the cable industry. The company’s digital return technology is enabling the leading cable operators across the globe to compete with a cost-effective, optimized launch pad for next-generation cable services. In one of its recent studies, Aurora networks predicted that by 2014, the annual deployment of digital return technology will surpass analog.

According to this Aurora Network  study, the digital return technology is increasingly becoming “cable operators’ solution of choice to meet the increasing upstream demands for today and tomorrow.”

Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification or DOCSIS, an international telecommunications standard that facilitates high-speed data transfer to an existing cable TV (CATV) system, is increasingly being deployed by the cable TV operators to connect homes and businesses. In doing so, they need to first address the bottlenecks relating to the return path. Digital return technology helps remove this hurdle.

Digital Return technology, which was unveiled at the Cable Show 2011, provides cable operators with the opportunity to double their return path capacity. The technology, according to Aurora, enables a cable operator to provide 100 Mbps in upstream data speeds in DOCSIS 3.0 deployments. The technology also makes the DOCSIS 3.0 deployment cost-effective for the cable operators and also provides an evolutionary path for future upgrades.

Being capable of supporting today’s 64-QAM upstream channels as well as future rollouts of 256-QAM or even 1024-QAM, over extended reaches, the fourth generation Universal Digital Return Platform is claimed to be truly future-proof.

In contrast, the cable networks that have deployed analog return solutions are likely to face the challenges to meet future needs, such as expansion from 42 MHz to 85 MHz with 1024-QAM loading while achieving the required distances.

Aurora Networks’ digital return technology is developed to help meet the cable operators’ increasing bandwidth needs in the upstream. By utilizing the 54-88 MHz spectrum that was once reserved for analog broadcast television, the Universal Digital Return module expands the upstream bandwidth to 5-85 MHz, essentially doubling today’s standard North American offering of 5-42 MHz, Aurora explained in the report.

In the study, the company claimed that it is not necessarily true that digital return is more expensive than analog.

“Recent generations of digital return have driven the cost of the link down. With a single return digital link now on par with an analog link, and a dual return (for a segmented node) much cheaper than analog, digital return is now a very cost-effective solution. It’s a “set-it and forget-it” platform, resulting in low, on-going operating costs. Choosing digital return is now an even easier decision,” the report maintained.

In November last year, Aurora Networks achieved a significant milestone by introducing the next generation access solution for its node platform, the RQ4000-series “Remote QAM” at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2011. This industry-first solution was designed to address both the capital and operational challenges cable operators face as they continue to increase narrowcast traffic to support the growing demand for more sophisticated video and data services. The company is unveiling this technology at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2011, Nov. 15-17, in Atlanta, Ga.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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