Top Five Takeaways from Cable-Tec Expo 2022

By Joe McGarvey, Senior Director, Marketing |

In addition to regrets over consuming the second half of that jumbo cheesesteak, the safe bet is that the majority of Cable-Tec Expo attendees left Philadelphia last week with a sense of excitement and opportunity about the continued broadband dominance of cable operators well into the future.

Feel free to hum “Gonna Fly Now” as you read over the top reasons the ATX team exited the City of Brotherly Love with the feeling that the best is yet to come – as well as a few extra pounds.

  1. Boundless Broadband: We couldn’t have picked a better theme for the 2022 version of Cable-Tec Expo, given the pervasive feeling — inside and outside the ATX booth — that the cable industry is leading the way toward a world where broadband and content distribution are ubiquitous, affordable and increasingly impactful on the daily lives of millions.
  2. Closing in on 10G: Evidence was ample on the Cable-Tec Expo show floor that multigigabit symmetrical services over HFC are not far from reality, with Charter Communications teaming up with ATX and others to showcase a prototype DOCSIS® 4.0 FDD network delivering lightning-fast performance. Not to be outshined, Comcast served noticed that it could soon support multigigabit services on both the upstream and downstream of an amplified DOCSIS 4.0 FDX network.
  3. 1.8GHz Actives at the Ready: Speaking of lightning fast and DOCSIS 4.0, ATX debuted its GigaXtend™ GMC 1.8GHz HFC amplifiers, a highlight of the weeklong exhibition and still the only authorized successor to the GainMaker® family of HFC actives. Capable of operating in 1GHz or 1.2GHz environments – giving MSOs the opportunity to upgrade their networks before turning up 1.8GHz of spectrum — GigaXtend 1.8GHz amps are a network engineer’s dream, dropping in, in most cases, to existing amp locations. Read this blog for more insight on why nobody knows GainMaker technology like ATX.
  4. Green & Clean: A major theme of this year’s expo was MSO urgency around reducing their carbon footprints, which made the introduction of ATX’s SCE Supercapacitor Energy Storage solutions a major attention grabber. Access the press release or visit the supercapacitor section of our website for more details on why supercapacitors are the cleaner, safer and most cost-effective choice for backup power and how ATX can help you seamlessly modernize and revitalized your energy storage operations.
  5. A Better Toolbox: Hard to imagine anyone leaving Philadelphia last week unconvinced that the HFC network is the most agile and cost-efficient medium for meeting the bandwidth requirements of today’s and tomorrow’s broadband consumers. MSOs have a truckload of options for evolving their networks, including the path to 10G laid out by Alaskan operator GCI during an Innovation Theater presentation hosted by ATX on prepping the HFC network for DOCSIS 4.0.

Of course, the elephant in the room at Cable-Tec Expo 2022 was that hundreds of attendees were also in the room, rather than congregating on Zoom feeds, wearing (or not wearing) who knows what. The obvious, and unnecessary to include on our list, key takeaway from this year’s SCTE event, the first live one in three years, is that dialog is always richer and debate always sharper when done in the company of fellow humans.

And Cable-Tec Expo 2022 was ripe with debate — over the future direction of the HFC network, in particular. That’s mostly because cable operators are confronted with architecture or technology options like never before, including:

Mid split vs high split, for maximizing the capabilities of DOCSIS 3.1?

Which flavor of DOCSIS 4.0, for those adopting the next version of the DOCSIS specifications?

When to make the leap to DOCSIS 4.0, or increase investment in PON deployments?

How to combat the efforts of FTTH providers to seed the market with multigigabit symmetrical services, which this recent blog exposes as mostly marketing-oriented and symbolic.

Survey Says

These questions and others, of course, are examined and considered by ATX year-round. In fact, we’re just about to commence our third 2050 Project Survey, a primary research initiative to provide industry professionals with a once-a-year snapshot of what their peers are thinking when it comes to how and how quickly they are planning to evolve their HFC networks. You can download our most recent version of the report here.

Forgive us if we also left Philadelphia feeling a little smug — about the future prospect of our cable industry partners and ATX’s role in helping them achieve their broadband ambitions. We feel better than ever about the commitment we made to the cable industry community to see the evolution of their HFC networks all the way through. We know that fiber is the future. But we also understand that MSOs have made a massive investment in HFC over the past 30 years, and that it will likely take another couple of decades for them to complete their inevitable migration to an all-fiber access infrastructure.

That’s why we launched the 2050 Project initiative. We wanted to give MSOs the peace of mind of knowing that ATX is in it for the long haul, every step of the way. When other suppliers come and go, abandoning platforms or focusing on ad hoc initiatives for short-term gain, ATX will be there for the endgame, focusing innovation on the future and making sure previous investments don’t get stranded before every ounce of opportunity has been realized.

Wrap Up

As we head into the holiday season, please keep an eye out for the 2023 edition of our long-term HFC evolution survey. ATX greatly appreciates your feedback. But more importantly, don’t be so hard on yourself about that cheesesteak. Totally worth it.