The first networks to use fiber to connect to consumers were deployed by the cable companies. They migrated from pure coaxial cable entreats to hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) entreats. HFC gives the cable company the ability to push more bandwidth to the customer over greater distances. Primary drivers for this approach are listed below.
- The increase in the number of TV channels available
- The move to digital cable
- Cable modem services
- Video on demand (VOD)
All of these require the companies to increase the bandwidth the customer receives.
Cable modem services have proven to be a lucrative addition to the service portfolio. Demand for high-speed Internet access has been significant. Today high-speed Internet access accounts for a significant percentage of cable company revenues.
To stay ahead of the bandwidth curve, new HFC architectures with DWDM are appearing. Headend functions are centralized for a metro area to a single master headend. Programming and data services are distributed to hubs, which in turn pass the services on to nodes. In large metro areas there may be two levels of hubs in the architecture.
With the wide acceptance of VoIP technology many cable companies have added voice to the services offered. Voice is usually provided via an eMTA, this can be part of the cable modem or a separate device.
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