News Release

CableLabs and Cisco Announce Open Source Software for Future of Virtualization in Cable

CableLabs President and CEO Phil McKinney Details Efforts in CableLabs Winter Conference Morning Keynote
Feb 10, 2016

ORLANDO, CABLELABS WINTER CONFERENCE, February 10, 2016 – Cable operators around the world are faced with pressures to provide higher bandwidth transport for Internet, video and voice services. Most operators are opting for standardized, digital and fiber-based solutions that will help them reduce costs and future-proof their technology to support network demands.

Several years ago, the cable industry led the effort for a Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), to simplify cable headend operations and to move operators toward service convergence and IP video. CCAP combines edge QAM and cable modem termination system (CMTS) functions into one unit to help operators reduce power and space.

Soon after came the invention of one of several new access technologies called Remote PHY, contributed to CableLabs by Cisco’s John Chapman, Cisco Fellow and CTO of Cisco’s Cable Access business. Remote PHY works together with DOCSIS® 3.1, the latest specification designed by CableLabs, to expand capacity of the cable hybrid fiber coax (HFC) plants.

Today CableLabs and Cisco are announcing the creation of a new software project for the Remote PHY Device (RPD) labeled “OpenRPD” originally developed by Cisco and contributed to the open source environment hosted at CableLabs. The RPD is a physical layer converter commonly located in an optical node of the cable network.  This open source software will reside in the Remote PHY Device and will be available to cable operators and RPD vendors around the world.

It is designed to help further interoperability efforts and promote virtualization techniques to speed time to market with new services. With this new software, legacy optical node vendors can build Remote PHY nodes without restrictions or needing to be experts in the latest cable standards and specs.

“More and more of the telecommunications infrastructure is running on open source platforms,” said Ralph Brown, CTO, CableLabs. “CableLabs has a history of contributing to and hosting open source projects. The OpenRPD project helps launch CableLabs increased focus on open source projects for the cable industry.”

“This is open source for cable access. Not only does it help move the industry toward the future architecture but it also enables a new developer community,” said Dave Ward, CTO of Engineering and chief architect, Cisco. “Open standards, open source and an open ecosystem community for developers is a key trajectory for networking. We see the Remote PHY architecture and RPD evolving to a more generalized and virtualized architecture that can be applied to all types of access networks.”

“Our collaborative industry effort is about helping cable networks scale,” said Cisco’s John Chapman. “Remote PHY, OpenRPD and DOCSIS 3.1 are playing a pivotal role in expanding the capacity of the HFC plant in a reliable, cost-effective and scalable way.”

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About CableLabs

Cable Television Laboratories (, founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry, is a non-profit research and development lab. CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members.

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