“Fiber Deep” is the cool kid of capacity expansions

Think of it as lots of node splits, all happening at once, in a methodical way.

​Also hot in the category of “bandwidth rainmakers” is the “fiber deep” scene, again fueled by the (unrelenting!) need to perpetually outdistance broadband consumption. One option is to pull fiber deeper into neighborhoods. 

Most major operators are developing plans (expressed or implied) to pull fiber deeper into some markets. Some (Liberty Global comes to mind) even discuss it openly, and with gusto -- notable if only because prior fiber-heavy upgrades caused a furor amongst Wall Street analysts. (The gist of their decades-old gripe: “I thought you guys said you were done with big, expensive builds!”)

Maybe it was Google’s fiber fanfare (before it wasn’t.) Maybe “the street” is paying attention to the exponential growth in broadband consumption, and what it takes to win as a broadband spigot provider. For whatever reasons, “fiber deep” is the cool kid in bandwidth expansion options. 

And speaking of options: Hovering closely to any “fiber deeper” conversation is the whole “DAA” thing, which stands for “Distributed Access Architectures.” You’ve heard the lingo: Remote PHY. Remote MAC-PHY. Remote CCAP. We’ll spare you the deep dive -- the one to watch is Remote PHY, as of this writing. 

PHY stands for “physical,” as in “physical layer​,” as in modulation. To “remote” the “PHY” is to move the modulators (the things that imprint a signal onto a carrier to get from here to there) out to the “edge” (fiber node) of the HFC (hybrid fiber-coax) plant. Engineers dig it for engineering reasons that, happily for you, are beyond the scope of this piece -- other than to say that of the DAA contenders, Remote PHY seems to be getting the most traction.​