WO2010116365A1 - Method and system for increasing upstream bandwidth in existing catv network - Google Patents

Method and system for increasing upstream bandwidth in existing catv network

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Publication number
WO2010116365A1
WO2010116365A1 PCT/IL2010/000279 IL2010000279W WO2010116365A1 WO 2010116365 A1 WO2010116365 A1 WO 2010116365A1 IL 2010000279 W IL2010000279 W IL 2010000279W WO 2010116365 A1 WO2010116365 A1 WO 2010116365A1
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WO
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
subscriber
return path
cc
frequency band
via
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IL2010/000279
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Asher Avissar
Original Assignee
Aio Fms Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/28Data switching networks characterised by path configuration, e.g. local area networks [LAN], wide area networks [WAN]
    • H04L12/2801Broadband local area networks
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/28Data switching networks characterised by path configuration, e.g. local area networks [LAN], wide area networks [WAN]
    • H04L12/2854Wide area networks, e.g. public data networks
    • H04L12/2856Access arrangements, e.g. Internet access
    • H04L12/2858Access network architectures
    • H04L12/2861Point-to-multipoint connection from the data network to the subscribers
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/28Data switching networks characterised by path configuration, e.g. local area networks [LAN], wide area networks [WAN]
    • H04L12/2854Wide area networks, e.g. public data networks
    • H04L12/2856Access arrangements, e.g. Internet access
    • H04L12/2869Operational details of access network equipments
    • H04L12/2898Subscriber equipments
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/08Configuration management of network or network elements
    • H04L41/0896Bandwidth or capacity management, i.e. automatically increasing or decreasing capacities, e.g. bandwidth on demand
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N21/00Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand]
    • H04N21/60Selective content distribution, e.g. interactive television, VOD [Video On Demand] using Network structure or processes specifically adapted for video distribution between server and client or between remote clients; Control signaling specific to video distribution between clients, server and network components, e.g. to video encoder or decoder; Transmission of management data between server and client, e.g. sending from server to client commands for recording incoming content stream; Communication details between server and client
    • H04N21/61Network physical structure; Signal processing
    • H04N21/6106Network physical structure; Signal processing specially adapted to the downstream path of the transmission network
    • H04N21/6118Network physical structure; Signal processing specially adapted to the downstream path of the transmission network involving cable transmission, e.g. using a cable modem
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N7/00Television systems
    • H04N7/16Analogue secrecy systems; Analogue subscription systems
    • H04N7/173Analogue secrecy systems; Analogue subscription systems with two-way working, e.g. subscriber sending a programme selection signal
    • H04N7/17309Transmission or handling of upstream communications

Abstract

System and method for increasing the bandwidth capacity over a return path coming from two or more subscriber's branches that are connected to a coaxial distribution node in a hybrid fiber-optics coaxial (HFC) distribution network of a cable television (CATV) operator is disclosed. The return path and a forward path are jointly carried over a first coaxial cable (CC) that connects the coaxial distribution node with a fiber-optic node (FON) and the FON is connected via one or more fiber-optic cables to the CATV operator premises.

Description

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR INCREASING UPSTREAM BANDWIDTH IN EXISTING

CATV NETWORK

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a PCT application claiming the benefit of the priority date of United States Provisional Application for patent filed on Apr. 9, 09 and assigned serial number 61/168,038.

BACKGROUND

[0002] The present invention generally relates to cable TV (CATV) networks, and more particularly, to upstream communication over CATV network.

[0003] Today more and more CATV subscribers use bidirectional communication services over their CATV network in addition to common CATV services. Exemplary bidirectional communication services can include services such as but not limited to, video- on-demand, pay-per-view, interactive television, games, Internet access, videoconferencing, video telephony, online commerce, and telephone services. In order to provide any combination of the above-mentioned services, a distribution network of substantial bandwidth capacity in both directions, upstream over a return path and downstream over a forward path, is required. Upstream traffic over the retune path (RPT) refers to data traffic toward a CATV operator's premises and downstream traffic over the forward path (FPT) refers to data traffic from the CATV operator's premises toward the subscribers.

[0004] A common CATV operator's distribution network uses hybrid networks of fiber optic and coaxial cable (HFC) network. FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary section 100, from a plurality of similar sections, of a common CATV operator's distribution network. In the illustrated section 100 of an HFC network, one or more fiber optic cables (FOC) 120a-c can connect the CATV operator central premises 110 to a fiber optic node (FON) 130. The fiber optic node 130 can be located in a region of subscribers. Among other components the fiber node 130 can comprise an optical transceiver that converts optical signals into RF signals and vice versa, for example. [0005] The fiber node 130 (FON) acts as an interface module between the fiber lines 120a-c and a coaxial cable distribution network. FON 130 converts the signals from optic signals to RF signals and vice versa. The coaxial cable distribution network can distribute the RF signals via a plurality of coaxial cables to a plurality of subscribers and vice versa. In FON 130 the forward path transmissions received from the one or more fiber optic lines 120a-c can be converted into RF and can be joined with the return path coming from the subscribers. In the other direction, from the subscribers, the RF signal received over the return path, can be separated, converted into optical signal, and transmitted over an optical return path 120a-c toward the operator's premises. Each coaxial cable, such as 140a, can be connected to a district. A region can be divided into a plurality of districts. For purposes of simplicity of understanding, only one district having four branches 140b-e of such a network is illustrated, it will be appreciated that additional districts and coaxial branches can be connected to fiber optic node 130.

[0006] A common coaxial cable distribution network can comprise a plurality of coaxial cables (CC) 140, a plurality of coaxial distribution nodes (CDN) having one or more distributing devices such as but not limited to a plurality of trunks 150a-f, a plurality of LEX, and a plurality of taps 146 through which subscribers 160 can be connected to the network. A common CDN 'A', for example, includes one or more active-distributing devices such as trunks 150 or LEX, for example. A common LEX or trunk 150 can connect up to four branches, 140b-e for example, of subscribers toward a FON 130 via a single CC, 140a for example. Each LEX or trunk 150a-f directs the forward path traffic via a diplexer, for example, amplified and split into up to four branches 140. Each one of the forward path, at the trunk 150a-f, is joined, using another diplexer, with the return path coming from a subscriber's branch over a subscriber CC, 140b-e for example. The up to four return paths, from each one of subscriber's branch 140b-e, are combined amplified and joined with the downstream traffic before being transferred toward the FON, 130 over the operator's CC 140a, for example.

[0007] In this disclosure the term trunk and LEX can be used interchangeably. Henceforth, the present description and claims may use the term trunk as a representative term for any active-distributing device. A common tap is a passive-distributing device which uses directional couplers to couple one portion of the forward signal, which has been input to the operator side port of the tap, to a branch of subscribers, and outputs the remaining portion of the forward signal directly toward other one or more subscriber's branches. In the upstream direction, the tap couples the upstream traffic coming from the branch of subscribers with the return traffic coming from the other one or more subscriber's branches. [0008] The HFC network 100 can include a plurality of components that are not shown in the drawing. For example the FOC 120a-c can include fiber-optic lines, optical transceivers, optical amplifiers, optical switches, etc. The coaxial cable distribution network can include various cascaded RF components (not shown) such as, filters, line driver amplifiers, which are used to boost the signal strength in order to compensate for the attenuation of the signals, etc. [0009] Traditionally the frequency bandwidth of HFC networks, which is currently used, is in the range of 5-860 MHz. Working at frequencies above 860 MHz is not recommended since the response of the common CC network is not guaranteed. The fiber optic section of the HFC networks has a broader bandwidth capacity than the bandwidth capacity of the CC distribution network. Therefore, in some HFC networks a fiber node 140 can be connected to two or more coaxial cable 140 branches, for example.

[0010] Due to traditional consumption needs, the bandwidth capacity of the current HFC network is divided asymmetrically between the forward path and the return path. The bandwidth (RF spectrum) is divided into two main bands. The first band from 5-42/54/65 MHz (depending on each operator preferences) is used as the return path carrying upstream traffic of advance services such as Internet access, telephony applications, interactive television, Video-on-Demand, etc. The rest of the BW, 55/70/85 to 860 MHz is used as the forward path carrying the downstream traffic. In the past the downstream traffic was usually divided into three types. The first type of downstream traffic, from 55/70/85 to 550 MHz, is analog television broadcasts. The 2nd type of downstream traffic, from 550 to 650 MHz, is digital television content traffic. The 3rd type 650 to 860 MHz is the downstream traffic of the advanced services, such as Internet access, telephony applications, Interactive television, Video-on-Demand, and the like. As a result of technology upgrades, certain operators changed technology: from analog TV into digital TV and more advanced services, for example. Some operators, or even in certain sections of operator's HFC networks, some traditional frequency bands are not applicable anymore or their purpose have changed. For example, there are operators in which a portion of the frequency band that was allocated to analog TV is captured now as a forward path for advance services, or digital TV, for example. [0011] From the traditional allocation of the bandwidth capacity of the HFC network, the upstream bandwidth capacity of the advance services is about 5% (~50MHz) of the total bandwidth capacity of the coaxial cable distribution network while the downstream bandwidth capacity, allocated to the advance services, is four times higher, about 20% (-20OMHz) of the total bandwidth capacity of the network and in some cases even more than 20%. Contrary to the traditional requirements, the new trend in subscriber's needs is for services that require symmetrical capacity in both directions. More and more users are using the CATV facilities for real time communication such as audio and/or video communications and for large volume of data files that can be transferred in both directions, for example.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0012] Current method for allocating bandwidth capacity over current coaxial cable networks of CATV operator for the upstream are not sufficient to service the new needs of the subscribers. In addition, any new method and system for increasing the bandwidth of the upstream has to be transparent to the subscribers in order to comply with the current equipment which is widely distributed.

[0013] The above-described needs are met by using a novel method and system for utilizing unused frequency band, above 860 MHz, of existing coaxial networks. The novel method and system has the ability to compensate the inferior response of the CC network to the higher frequency band. The additional frequency band, frequency above 860 MHz, can be used as additional return paths for carrying upstream data traffic without changing the frequency bands of the downstream traffic over the forward path of the CC network. Such a system can be used over a section of a coaxial cable network in which there is a need for additional BW for carrying upstream traffic. Exemplary section can be from an aggregation point 'A' to FON 130 (FIG. 1), for example. An exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure uses the frequency band of 1.0 -1.4 GHz as additional up to four return paths. [0014] The inventor executed a plurality of experiments over a plurality of operator's HFC networks and found that the current coaxial network of CATV can be used for carrying RF signals up to 1.4 GHZ. However, the use of the additional bandwidth is associated with losses due the higher frequency. The inventor also found that some old networks comprise taps that can not be used for frequencies above 1.0 GHz. Those taps will need to be replaced with new taps that can be used for frequencies above 1.0 GHz..

[0015] Since the current utilization is up to 860 MHz, the rest of the spectrum, up to 1.4 GHz, can be used for one or more additional return paths for increasing the upstream bandwidth (BW). An exemplary embodiment of the present invention can divide the additional spectrum between one or more, up to four, return paths of 5 to 42/54/65 MHz (according to the band used by the operator). Each additional return path can be carried over one of the coaxial branches 140b-e, for example. At the other end of the overloaded coaxial section CC 140a, in the FON 130 junction for example, the frequency of the one or more additional return paths bands is reconverted to the standard spectrum used by the upstream (5 to 42/54/65 MHz, respectively). Such a system solves the needs for additional upstream BW over CATV network with minimal changes in the coaxial distribution network and no changes at the subscribers' equipment. For the example that the additional spectrum is used for carrying only one additional return path, then each branch 140b-e that is connected to trunk 150a will get twice BW capacity, about 21/27/32 MHz each, respectively, to be used as a return path over its associated CC 140b-e. The additional BW can be unequally divided between the CC branches.

[0016] Furthermore, the inventor found that a common FON 130 includes extra RF/optical upstream ports that are connected to an optical return path. Those additional RF upstream ports are currently unused. This means that the optical return path has additional bandwidth, which is currently unused. An exemplary embodiment of the present invention utilizes the extra return RF/optical ports for continuing as additional optical return path and connects each additional reconverted return path to an extra return RF/optical port. [0017] An exemplary embodiment of the present invention can have two modules, a subscriber side module (SSM) and an operator side module (OSM). An exemplary SSM can be installed in a CDN. A CDN is an aggregation point for the upstream traffic carried over two or more CC coming from a plurality of subscribers, point 'A' (FIG. 1) for example. The OSM can be installed at the other side of the CC that is going from the aggregation point (CDN 'A', for example) toward the operator's premises, at the junction of CC 140a and FON 130, for example. In some embodiments of the present invention the OSM can be installed in another CDN from which two or more CCs continues toward the operator's premises. In such a case the additional one or more return path can be divided between the two or more CC. [0018] An exemplary SSM in one direction can receive upstream traffic from up to three existing subscriber branches (140c-d, for example). SSM can up-convert the frequency of the received upstream traffic to the additional frequency band (1-1.4GHz, for example). Exemplary additional return paths can use: 1,000 up to 1,042/54/65 MHz; 1,100 up to 1,142/54/65 MHz; or 1,200 up to 1,242/54/65 MHz, etc. The SSM can transfer the up- converted upstream traffic toward the OSM. The OSM can down convert and separate the upstream traffic to the original traffic and forward them to the FON. [0019] An exemplary embodiment of the present invention can utilize an existing distributing-device such as trunk, LEX or tap, trunk 150a for example. One port of the trunk 150a receives downstream traffic from the FON via OSM and SSM. At least one of the CC that connects a branch of subscribers to a subscriber port of trunk 150a remains unchanged. The at least one unchanged CC and its associate forward path and return path are referred in this description as legacy CC, legacy forward path and legacy return path, respectively. The other ports of trunk 150a are utilized to transfer down stream traffic from FON via OSM and SSM to subscriber branches 140c-d.

[0020] At the other end of the overloaded section of the CC network, at the operator side, an exemplary OSM separates the one or more additional return paths, of the additional upstream traffic coming from the SSM, from the rest of the traffic (the legacy upstream traffic carried over the regular upstream band and the downstream going toward the SSM). The frequency band of each one of the separated additional upstream is reconverted from the additional band (above 1,000 MHz) to the regular upstream band (below 65 MHz). The reconverted upstream traffic of each additional return path in the regular band is connected to one of the extra RF/optic upstream ports, in FON 130 that are connected to an optical return path.

[0021] In addition to the frequency manipulations modules, exemplary embodiments of the present invention may include a power control management module for controlling the power of the RF signals in order to comply with the needs of the network and compensate the additional losses of the existing network in the additional upstream bands. The power control management module can include a plurality of power samplers as well as controlled amplifiers, for example. The two modules, the SSM and the OSM, can communicate with each other and deliver status information over relevant RF connections, for example. An exemplary embodiment of power control management module can be used automatically for dynamically correcting the power, which may be changed due to ambient changes, etc. [0022] Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention may use decentralized SSM, one or more subscriber's side dongles (SSD). One SSD per each additional band and one CC interface dongle (CCID). Together the operation of the one or more SSD and the CCID can be similar to an exemplary embodiment of SSM. Each SSD separate the upstream coming from a subscriber's branch, up-convert its frequency band to be carried over an additional return path and the additional return path is connected to CCID. In CCID, the one or more additional return paths are combined and joined with the legacy traffic connected to the trunk.

[0023] Each SSD can have three ports, for example. One port of the SSD, the subscriber port, can be connected to a coaxial cable coming from the subscribers toward the trunk. The second port, trunk port, can be connected to the relevant subscriber's port in the trunk. The third port of the SSD, which carries an additional return path, can be connected to an additional return path port of CCID, a CCID can have one or more additional return path ports; a legacy port of the CCID can be connected to the operator port of the trunk; and the operator port of the CCID can be connected to the overloaded CC. The other end of the overloaded CC can be connected to the OSM.

[0024] These and other aspects of the disclosure will be apparent, in view of the attached figures and detailed description. The foregoing summary is not intended to summarize each potential embodiment or every aspect of the present disclosure, and other features and advantages of the present disclosure will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description of the embodiments with the accompanying drawings and appended claims.

[0025] Furthermore, although specific exemplary embodiments are described in detail to illustrate the inventive concepts to a person skilled in the art, such embodiments are susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms. Accordingly, the figures and written description are not intended to limit the scope of the inventive concepts in any manner.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0026] Exemplary embodiments of the present invention will be understood and appreciated more fully from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:

[0027] FIG. 1 illustrates relevant elements of an exemplary existing, prior art, section of an HFC network of CATV;

[0028] FIG. 2 illustrates relevant elements of the exemplary section of HFC network of

CATV in which an exemplary embodiment of the present invention is used;

[0029] FIG. 3a illustrates relevant elements of an exemplary subscriber's side module

(SSM) implemented according to exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0030] FIG. 3b illustrates relevant elements of an exemplary subscriber's side dongle

(SSD) implemented according to exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0031] FIG. 3c illustrates relevant elements of an exemplary CC interface dongle (CCID) implemented according to exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0032] FIG. 4 illustrates relevant elements of an exemplary operator's side module

(OSM) implemented according to exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

[0033] FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating relevant steps of an exemplary upgrading process of the BW capacity over a return path, implemented according to exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLARY EMBOIDIMENTS

[0034] Turning now to the figures in which like numerals represent like elements throughout the several views, exemplary embodiments, aspects and features of the disclosed methods, systems, and apparatuses are described. For convenience, only some elements of the same group may be labeled with numerals. The purpose of the drawings is to describe exemplary embodiments and not for limitation or for production use. Features shown in the figures are chosen for convenience and clarity of presentation only.

[0035] FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary section 100, from a plurality of similar sections, of a common CATV operator's distribution network. In the illustrated section 100 of the HFC network, one or more fiber optic cables (FOC) 120a-c run from the CATV operator central premises 110 to a fiber optic node (FON) 130. The fiber optic node 130 can be located in a region of subscribers. Among other components the fiber node 130 can comprise an optical transceiver that converts optical signals into RF signals and vice versa. The operation of the existing HFO distribution network 100 is disclosed in detail in the above sections of the background. Therefore, it will not be further discussed.

[0036] FIG. 2 illustrates relevant elements of an exemplary section 200 of an existing HFC distribution network 100 (FIG. 1) after upgrading the return path BW capacity by adding one or more additional return paths over CC 140a, between aggregation point 'A' and the FON 130, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The additional return path BW can be shared by one or more of the subscriber's branches connected to an existing distributing device such as but not limited to trunk, LEX, or TAP, trunk 150a in the example of FIG. 2, at the aggregation point. An exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure network comprises existing elements of the distribution network 100. Elements such as but not limited to CATV operator's premises 110, one or more fiber optic cables 120a-c, FON 130, CCs 140a-e; trunks 150a-e; taps 146; and subscribers nodes 160. [0037] In addition to the above list, system 200 can comprise a subscriber side module 210, which can be installed in association to trunk 150a at coaxial distribution node (CDN) 'A', for example. In this disclosure the term coaxial distribution node (CDN) and aggregation node can be used interchangeably. On the other side of the overloaded CC 140a, the coaxial cable on which additional BW capacity over the return path is needed, an operator side module (OSM) 220 can be installed. An exemplary OSM 220 can have four ports on the FON 130 side, which can be connected via CCs 140aa, 240a, 240b, 240c to FON 130. CC 140aa can carry the legacy forward and return paths using the frequency range of 5-860 MHz. The forward path over CC 140aa can carry the downstream traffic in the frequency range of 55/70/85 to 860 MHz, according to the low limit used over the existing network 100 (FIG. 1). The legacy-return path over CC 140aa can carry the upstream traffic in the frequency range of 5-42/54/65 MHz (depending on the operator preferences). CC 140aa can be connected to the same port of FON 130 to which CC 140a was connected before the change, for example. [0038] Each of the other one or more CC 240a-c can carry an additional return path after being reconverted, by the OSM from the additional frequency band (frequency range of 1-1.4 GHz, for example) to the regular frequency band (5-42/54/65 MHz, for example) Each one of the cables 240a-c can be connected to one of the extra RF/optic upstream ports in FON 130. Each one of the extra RF/optic upstream ports in the FON 130 is connected to an optical return path over a fiber optics cables 120a-c. The number of cables 240a-c depends on the capacity needs over the return path between the aggregation point 'A' and the FON 130. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention the BW capacity of the return path over CC 140a can be increased from twice up to four times of the traditional return path BW capacity. Henceforward the disclosure will use the terms: subscriber-ports to indicate the ports connect toward the subscriber; and the term operator-ports to indicate the port connect toward the operator; trunk-ports for ports connect toward the trunk, and so on. [0039] Returning now to CDN 'A', where SSM 210 can be assembled in association to the existing trunk 150a. In the exemplary illustrated system 200, the required BW capacity of the return path over CC 140a is four times larger than the legacy BW capacity. Therefore only one subscriber's branch, connected via CC 140b in the example of FIG. 2 for example, remains in the legacy configuration. CC 140b, which carries the forward and the return paths in the legacy frequency bands, can remain connected to its associated subscriber-port in trunk 150a. The other three branches 140c-e are disconnected from their associated subscribers- port in trunk 150a and instead are connected to the subscribers-port of SSM 210. The liberated subscriber-ports of trunk 150a can be connected via CCs 250a-c to three trunk-ports in SSM 210, for example. The operator-port of trunk 150a can be connected to a legacy-port in SSM 210, suitable to legacy frequency bands, via CC 260, for example. [0040] The forward path coming from FON 130 and the legacy return path as well as the one or more(up to three) additional return paths can be carried over the existing CC 140a between SSM 210 and OSM 220. In addition to the CATV data traffic, a control and status connection 230 can be established between OSM 220 and SSM 210. The control and status connection 230 can be in band CC 140a using one or more frequency channels over the CC 140a. In alternate embodiment of the present invention the control and status connection 230 can be out of band using a separate connection. The communication over the control and status connection 230 can comply with a common communication protocol that can be used between processors. Exemplary protocols can comply with Internet Protocol (IP). Other embodiments may use other common protocols that are used for computer communication. Another exemplary embodiment may use a proprietary protocol, and so on. [0041] Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the architecture of the system, is flexible and can be adapted to the BW capacity needs at the relevant CDN. For example, if only one branch, the one that is connected by CC 14Oe for example, requires the full BW capacity of the legacy return path (-50 MHz). In such a case only CC 14Oe can be disconnected from trunk 150a and be connected via a subscriber port of SSM 210. Yet in another exemplary situation if all branches that are connected to trunk 150a require double the current BW capacity, -25 MHz each for example, then two branches 140e&140d can be disconnected from trunk 150a and connected via two subscribers ports to SSM 210, and so on.

[0042] An exemplary SSM 210 can comprise an additional return paths factory (ARPF) 212, an OSM diplexer 218 and an SSM controller (SSMC) 216. In addition, SSM 210 can comprise a plurality of RF components, which are not shown in the drawings, for adjusting the RF power to comply with the needs of the network and controlling the frequency bands according to the appropriate ranges. Exemplary RF components can be: a chain of controllable RF amplifiers, directional couplers, filters, and so on.

[0043] An exemplary ARPF 212 can receive up to three legacy return paths from subscriber branches such as CCs 140c-e, for example. The subscriber branches CCs 140c- ecan be associated to subscriber ports of SSM 210. Each legacy return path can carry upstream data traffic over the legacy frequency range of 5-42/54/65 MHz. In ARPF 212 each one of the return path traffic's frequency can be up converted to the additional frequency range of additional 1-1.4 GHz. Exemplary three additional return paths can be: 1000+42/54/65 MHz; 1100+42/54/65 MHz; 1200+42/54/65 MHz; for example. The three up converted streams can be combined into one stream in the frequency range of 1-1.4 GHz, amplified, filtered as needed and be transferred to the high frequency port of OSD diplexer 218.

[0044] OSM diplexer 218 can receive the downstream traffic (55/70/85 to 860 MHz) received over the forward path from OSM 220 via CC 140a associated to the OSM port of the diplexer 218. The downstream traffic can be transferred to trunk 150a via the low frequency port of OSM diplexer 218, through the legacy port of SSM 210 and via CC 260.In the upstream direction, the legacy return path from trunk 150a via CC 260 passes through the OSM diplexer's 218 low frequency port toward the OSM 220 via CC 140a. The additional return paths 214 pass through the OSM diplexer 218 high frequency port toward the OSM 220 via CC 140a.

[0045] At SSM 210, the three forward paths carrying the downstream traffic toward the relevant three subscriber branches are received from trunk 150a via CC 250a-c. Each one of those paths is transferred, by ARPF 212, toward the appropriate branch via its associated CC 140c-e. An exemplary SSMC 216 can receive power indications from a plurality of directional couplers that are connected to the different RF paths in the forward paths, legacy return paths, and the additional return paths inside SSM 210 as well as inside OSM 220. According to those measurements, SSMC 216 can control the relevant amplifiers in order to compensated changes in the power. In addition SSMC 216 can send reports and generate warnings when a fault is detected. Exemplary SSMC 216 can communicate with an OSM's control module via status and control connection 230. In some exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure the control and status applications are not used. In such embodiment SSMC 216 and connection 216 are not implemented. More information on SSM 210 can be found below in conjunction with figures 3 & 5.

[0046] An exemplary OSM 220 receives the upstream traffic coming from CC 140a. OSM 220 may separate the legacy return path from the one or more additional return paths. The legacy return path can be transferred over CC 140aa to FON 130 via the same port to which CC 140a was connected before the change. The downstream traffic from FON 130 is also transferred via CC 140 to SSM 210. The power of the additional return paths(l-1.4 GHz) (transferred via CC 140a) is divided into, and up to, three fractions. Exemplary three fractions can be: 1000+42/54/65 MHz; 1100+42/54/65 MHz; 1200+42/54/65 MHz. The frequency of each fraction is reconverted to the legacy return path frequency (5- 42/54/65 MHz). Each one of the frequency-reconverted additional return paths can be filtered amplified and transferred to an extra return RF/optical port of OFN 130 via CC 240a-c. [0047] In some exemplary embodiments of OSM 220, the OSM 220 can comprise a plurality of directional couplers for sampling the power and an OSM controller. An exemplary OSM controller (OSMC) can have a similar task as SSMC 216. In some embodiments of the present invention, the controllers (SSMC and OSMC) can operate in master-slave architecture. In which one of them can be configured to control the other. In other embodiments they can work independently and may be controlled by a centralized controller that is installed in CATV operator premises 110, for example. More information on OSM 230 can be found below in conjunction with figures 4 & 5.

[0048] FIG. 3a illustrates an exemplary subscriber's side module (SSM) 300 that implements some exemplary techniques of the present invention. Exemplary SSM 300 can comprise an OSM diplexer 310. One port (OSM port) of diplexer 310 is connected to OSM 220 (FIG. 2) via CC 140a. The low frequency port of OSM diplexer 310 is suitable for legacy frequency band of 5-860 MHz, upstream and downstream traffic over common CATV coaxial network. The high frequency port of the diplexer 310 is suitable to the frequency band of the additional return paths 1.0 GH to 1.4 GHz, for example. The downstream traffic coming from FON 130 (FIG. 2) via OSM 220 (FIG. 2) and CC 140a can be received at the OSM port of the OSM diplexer 310. OSM diplexer 310 can transfer the downstream traffic via its low frequency port and CC 260 to one of the ports of trunk 150a, operator-port for example. [0049] At the other side of SSM 300 one or more, up to three, subscriber-diplexers 320a- c can be used. The number of subscriber diplexers 320a-c depends on the required additional BW capacity over the return paths. One port (subscriber-port) of each diplexer 320a-c can be connected via an existing CC 140c-e to one of the subscriber branches. A high frequency port of each diplexer 320a-c can be suitable to the frequency band of the down stream traffic (85- 860 MHz). Thus, the high frequency port can receive the downstream traffic via one of the subscriber ports of existing trunk 150a via one of the CC 250a-c respectively. The downstream traffic can be transferred to the subscriber port of each diplexer 320a-c and from there it can be transferred toward its subscriber's branch via the appropriate CC 140c-e. In some embodiments of the present invention (not shown in the drawings) SSM 300 may include one or more amplifiers and filters before each one of the high frequency ports of diplexers 320a-c. The subscriber branch associated to 140b, can continue to use the legacy forward and return paths over CC 140b and the subscriber-port of trunk 150a. The legacy upstream traffic coming over CC 140b, trunk 150a can be transferred via CC 260 to the low- frequency port of OSM diplexer 310.

[0050] The upstream traffic transferred over each one of the CC 140c-e can be received by its associated subscriber-diplexers 320a-c. At each diplexer 320a-c the upstream traffic can be transferred via the low frequency port of the diplexer 320a-c, suitable to legacy upstream frequency band (5-42/54/65 MHz, depending on each operator preferences) and from there transferred to a low frequency port of an associated frequency up-converter 332a-c (respectively). The high frequency port of each one of the up-converters 332a-c is connected to a frequencies generator 330 for receiving a signal at an appropriate frequency Fa-c (respectively). An exemplary frequencies generator 330 can be a synthesizer that can deliver up to three frequencies, Fa, Fb and Fc in the frequency range of 1.0 to 1.4 GHz. In an exemplary embodiment Fa-c can be 1.0; 1.1; and 1.2 GHz, respectively. In other embodiments of SSM 300 the frequencies generator 330 can include three voltage-controlled oscillators (VCO), for example. Each VCO can be tuned to one of the frequencies Fa-c. Each one of the up converters 332a-c can be a mixer, for example. The output port of each one of the up-converters 332a-c can be filtered by a filter 340a-c. Filters 340a-c can be a band pass filter, for example. Each one of the filters 340a-c is tuned to the frequency band of its associated additional return path. For example filter 340a can be tuned to Fa+42/54/65 MHz. [0051] Each one of the filtered additional return path traffic can be amplified by a controllable amplifier 345a-c. The amplifiers can be low noise and frequency tuned to the relevant band, for example. The output of each amplifier 345a-c can be sampled by directional coupler 350a-c. The signal's amplitude from the sampled port of each directional coupler 350a-c can be detected and transferred to a SSM controller (SSMC) 370. The main output of each one of the directional controllable amplifier 345a-c can be connected to a power combiner 360 that can combine the additional upstream traffic carried over the additional return paths. The combined upstream traffic can be transferred to the high frequency port of the OSM diplexer 310. The high frequency port of OSM diplexer 310 can be suitable for the frequency band of the additional return paths (1.0 to 1.4 GHz, for example). The legacy return path transmissions and the three additional return paths transmission are transferred from the OSM diplexer 310 toward the FON 130 (FIG. T) via CC 140a.

[0052] SSM controller (SSMC) 370 can be used for monitoring the operation of SSM 300. In some embodiments SSMC 370 may control the power over each one of the forward paths, and the RF power over one or more of the return paths (the legacy return path and up to three the additional return paths). In some embodiments SSMC 370 may deliver reports to the CATV operator on the performance of the system. SSMC may receive a plurality of detected power samples from one or more directional couplers, such as but not limited to directional couplers 350a-c, that can sample the power over one or more paths, forward path or legacy return path or additional return path. It may also receive indication from directional couplers that are located at OSM 200 (FIG. 2) via status and control connection 230. In some embodiments, SSMC 370 may receive information from additional sensors, such as but not limited to temperature sensors, current sensors, etc. Based on the abovementioned information SSMC can control the relevant one or more controllable amplifiers, such as but not limited to amplifiers 345a-c, for example.

[0053] Exemplary SSMC 370 can communicate with an OSM control module via status and control connection 230. In some embodiments of the present invention, SSMC 370 and a controller of the OSM 200 (FIG. 2) can operate in master/slave architecture. In which one of them can be configured to control the other. In other embodiments they can work independently and may be controlled by a centralized controller that is installed in CATV operator premises 110, for example. In some exemplary embodiments of the present invention the control and status applications are not used. In such embodiment the adjustment of the relevant power amplifiers can be done during installation, for example. In such embodiment SSMC 370 and connection 230 are not implemented. More information on SSM 300 can be found below in conjunction with figure 5. [0054] FIG. 3b illustrates relevant elements of an exemplary subscriber's side dongle (SSD) implemented according to exemplary embodiment of the present invention. In some exemplary embodiment of the present invention a distributed architecture can be used such as but not limited to distributed architecture 3000. In such embodiment, exemplary SSM can be implemented in one or more subscriber's side dongles 3300 (SSD), one per each required additional band, and one CC interface dongle 3100 (CCID).

[0055] Each SSD 3300 can have three ports, for example. One port of the SSD, a subscriber-port, can be connected to a coaxial cable coming from a subscriber's branch toward the CDN, CC 14Oe for example. The second port, a trunk-port, can be connected to the relevant subscriber's port in an existing trunk 150a, via CC 250c for example. The third port of the SSD 3300, which can carry the additional required return path via CC 3360, can be connected to an additional-return-path-port of the CCID 3100, for example. Each SSD 3300 can include a diplexer 3320 (similar to one of the diplexer 320a-c FIG. 3 a), a frequency up converter which can include a mixer 3332 and a frequency generator 3330, a filter 3340, a controllable amplifier 3345 and a directional coupler 3350, (similar to one of the mixers 332a- c and a frequency generator 3330 similar to generator 330, similar to one of the filters 340, similar to one of the controllable amplifiers 345 and similar to one of the directional coupler 350 FIG. 3 a, respectively) for example. The operation of SSD 3300 can be understood, to a skilled person in the art, from the above description of SSM 300 in conjunction with FIG. 3a and it will not further described.

[0056] FIG. 3c illustrates relevant elements of an exemplary CC interface dongle (CCID) 3100 implemented according to exemplary embodiment of the present invention. An exemplary CCID 3100 can have one or more additional return-path-ports to which additional return-path CC 3160a-c can be connected; a legacy-port of the CCID that can be connected via CC 260 to the operator-port of the trunk 150a; and an operator port of the CCID that can be connected over CC 140a to OSM 220 (FIG. 2). The exemplary CCID 3100 can comprise a power combiner such as combiner 3120, and an OSM diplexer 3110 (similar to combiner 360 and OSM diplexer 310, FIG. 3a, respectively) for example. The operation of CCID 3100 can be understood, to a skilled person in the art, from the above description of SSM 300 in conjunction with FIG. 3a and it will not further described

[0057] FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary operator side module (OSM) 400 that implements some exemplary techniques of the present disclosure. Exemplary OSM 400 can comprise a diplexer 430. One port, subscribers-port, of diplexer 430 can be connected to SSM 210 (FIG. 2) via CC 140a. The low frequency port of diplexer 430 can be suitable for legacy frequency band 5-860 MHz, for carrying the legacy upstream and downstream. The high frequency port of diplexer 430 can be suitable for the additional return paths frequency band, 1.0 GH to 1.4 GHz, for example. The downstream traffic coming from FON 130 (FIG. 2) via CC 140aa can be amplified by a bi-directional amplifier 410. Bi-directional amplifier 410 can comprise two diplexers (one at each end of the Bi-directional amplifier 410 and two controllable low noise amplifier, one per each direction, forward and return, for example. The power of the downstream traffic can be sampled by a bi-directional coupler 420 and transferred to an OSM controller 490, for example. The downstream traffic can be transferred from the low frequency port of diplexer 430 to the subscribers-port of diplexer 430 toward the subscribers over CC 140a and via SSM 210 (FIG. 2).

[0058] The return paths received from SSM 210 (FIG. 2) via CC 140a to the subscribers- port of diplexer 410, are frequency separated in the diplexer. The legacy return path (legacy upstream traffic), 5-42/54/65 MHz depending on each operator preferences, can be transferred via the low frequency port of diplexer 410 to the bi-directional coupler 420 and from there to bi-directional amplifier 410. The legacy upstream traffic can be transferred via CC 140aa to the same subscriber's port of FON 130 (FIG. 2) to which CC 140a was connected before the change.

[0059] The one or more, up to three, additional return paths, received from SSM 200 via CC 140a, are separated from the legacy return path by diplexer 430 and are transferred via the high frequency port of diplexer 430 to a power splitter 440. The high frequency port of diplexer 430 can be suitable to the frequency band of the additional return paths (1.0 to 1.4 GHz, for example). Divider 440 can split the power to one or more, up to three, branches. [0060] Each branch can be connected to a port of an associated frequency down- converter 452a-c (respectively). The down-converters 452a-c is associated to a frequencies generator 450 for receiving a signal at an appropriate frequency Fa-c (respectively), the same frequencies which are used in SSM 300 (FIG. 3), for example. An exemplary frequencies generator 450 can be a synthesizer that delivers up to three signals, Fa, Fb and Fc in the frequency range of 1.0 to 1.4 GHz. In an exemplary embodiment Fa-c can be 1.0; 1.1 ; and 1.2 GHz, respectively. In other embodiments of OSM 400 the frequencies generator 450 can include three voltage controlled oscillators (VCO). Each VCO can be tuned to one of the frequencies Fa-c. Each one of the down converters 452a-c can be a mixer, for example. The output port of the each one of the down-converters 452a-c can be filtered by a filter 460. Each one of the filters 460 is suitable to the frequency band of the legacy return path frequencies. For example filter 460 can be tuned to 5+42/54/65 MHz depending on the preferences of the operator.

[0061] Each one of the filtered additional upstream traffic, at the legacy return path frequency band, can be amplified by a controllable amplifier 465. The amplifiers can be low noise and frequency suitable to the legacy frequency band. The output of each amplifier 465 can be sampled by directional coupler 470. The power by each directional coupler 470 can be detected and transferred to an OSM controller (OSMC) 490. The main output of each one of the directional couplers 470 can be connected to a CC 240a-c that can carry the additional upstream traffic after being reconverted to the frequency range of 1-1.4 GHz, to the regular frequency band 5-42/54/65 MHz. Each one of the CC 240a-c can be connected to one of the extra RF/optic upstream ports in FON 130. The number of CC 240a-c depends on the BW capacity needs over the return path between the aggregation point 'A' and the FON 130. [0062] OSM controller (OSMC) 490 can be used for monitoring the operation of OSM 400. In some embodiments OSMC 490 may control the power over each one of the forward and one or more of the return paths (the legacy return path and up to three the additional return paths). In some embodiments OSMC 490 may deliver reports to the CATV operator on the performance of the system. OSMC 490 may receive a plurality of detected power samples from one or more directional couplers, such as but not limited to directional couplers 470, 420, that samples the power over one or more paths, forward path or legacy return path or additional return path. It may also receive indication from directional couplers that are located at SSM 300 (FIG. 3) over the other side of CC 140a via status and control connection 230. In some embodiments, OSMC 490 may receive information from additional sensors, such as but not limited to temperature sensors, current sensors, etc. Based on the above mentioned information OSMC 490 can control the relevant one or more controllable amplifiers, such as but not limited to amplifiers 465.

[0063] Exemplary OSMC 490 can communicate with SSMC 370 via status and control connection 230. In some embodiments of the present invention, SSMC 370 and OSMC 490 can operate in master/slave architecture. In which one of them can be configured to control the other. In other embodiments they can work independently and may be controlled by a centralized controller that is installed in CATV operator premises 110, for example. In some exemplary embodiments of the present invention the control and status applications are not used. In such embodiment OSMC 490 connection 230 are not implemented. More information on OSM 400 can be found below in conjunction with figure 5. [0064] FIG. 5 illustrates a flowchart with relevant steps of an exemplary adding paths process 500. Exemplary embodiment of process 500 can be executed over an overloaded CC such as but not limited to CC 140a (FIG. 1), from FON 130 (FIG. 1) to CDN 'A' (FIG. 1), utilizing existing trunk 150a for the forward path and one or more legacy return paths. Method 500 can started 510 by analyzing the frequency response over CC 140a in the additional frequency band of 1.0 to 1.4 GHz of the additional return paths, for example. The response is measured between CDN 'A' and FON 130.

[0065] Checking 510 can be executed by injecting RF signals in the additional frequency band and measuring the RF power received at the other side of the CC 140a. Optionally another exemplary technique for measuring the frequency response can be by measuring (Scattering parameter) S-parameters, for example. At step 512 a decision is made whether the current path between CDN 'A' and FON 130 (FIG. 1) has an acceptable frequency response in the additional frequency band of the return path, 1.0 to 1.4 GHz for example. If the results are in the acceptable range, then the process 500 can proceed to step 520. [0066] If the results are not acceptable 512, then the CC path is searched 514 for a problematic component along the connection of CC 140a (those components are not shown in the drawings). Exemplary problematic component can be one of the connectors of CC 140a, a tap that is installed along the CC 140a, etc. The problematic component can be replaced with a new one that has an acceptable frequency response in the additional frequency band. The inventor found that such new taps have acceptable response in the range of 1.0 to 1.4 GHz, for example. After replacing the problematic component, process 500 may return to step 510 in order to recheck the frequency response over the CC 140a.

[0067] At step 520 the required additional BW capacity of the return path over the overloaded CC 140a is determined. The decision can be made per each subscriber's branch that is connected to trunk 150a, CC 140b-e (FIG. 1) for example. If only one subscriber's branch requires additional BW capacity, then only its associated CC, CC 140c for example, can be transferred from the subscriber port of trunk 150a to a subscriber port of an SSM 210 (FIG. 2) that will be installed at CDN 'A'. In alternate embodiment of the present invention (not shown in the drawings), a subscriber's side dongles (SSD) and CC interface dongle (CCID) can be used. The rest of the CCs (CC 140b,d,e for example) can remain connected to their ports in trunk 150a. The return path of those subscriber's branches will be carried over the legacy return path. In case that each subscriber's branch requires the full BW capacity of the return path, then one branch remains connected to trunk 150a, CC 140b for example, and the other three branches are disconnected 530 from the trunk and being connected to subscribers ports in the SSM 210 (FIG. 2). Each one of the disconnected subscriber ports of trunk 150a can be connected to an appropriate trunk port of SSM 200 via CC 250a-c (FIG. 2), for example. Those CCs (CC 250a-c) will carry the forward path coming from FON 130 via the common trunk 150a.

[0068] At step 540 the overloaded CC 140a can be disconnected from the operator port of trunk 150a and be connected to the OSM port of SSM 210 (FIG. 2). The disconnected operator port of trunk 150a can be connected to the legacy port of SSM 200, for carrying the downstream traffic toward trunk 150a and from there to the four subscriber's branches. [0069] At the other side of the overloaded CC 140a, at FON 130 (FIG. 2) an OSM 220 can be installed. The FON side of CC 140a is disconnected 550 from the subscriber's port of FON 130 and connected to the SSM port of OSM 220. The disconnected subscriber port of FON 130 can be connected to the FON port of OSM 220 via CC 140aa, for example (FIG. 2). In the example of FIG. 2, CC 140aa will carry the forward path coming from FON 130 toward the four subscriber's branches, while only the legacy return path coming from the subscriber's branch that is connected via CC 140b will be carried over CC 140aa toward FON 130.

[0070] Then one or more additional return path ports of OSM 220, depending on the BW capacity needs, are connected 560 to extra RF/optic upstream ports, CC 240a-c for example. In exemplary embodiments in which out of band status and control connection 230 is required between SSM 210 and OSM 220, then such a connection can be set at this stage, for example. At this point of time the system is installed and now the calibration process 570 can be initiated.

[0071] In one exemplary embodiment, the calibration process 570 can be automatic and can be executed under the control of SSMC 379 (FIG. 3), for example. SSMC 379 can instruct the frequency generator 330 (FIG. 3) to inject one or more signals in appropriate frequencies via the one or more additional return paths frequency bands. Then the power samples from the different directional couplers 350a-c (FIG. 3) and/or 470 (FIG. 4) can be collected. According to the sampled power and the required power, which can be a configurable set of parameters, SSMC 370 can adjust the gain of one or more appropriate amplifiers 345a-c (FIG. 3) and/or 465 (FIG. 4). In exemplary embodiment of the present invention, in which the legacy path in SSM 300 or OSM 400 includes bi-directional coupler and controllable amplifier, such as bi-directional coupler 420 and bi-directional controllable amplifier 410 (FIG. 4), the power over the legacy path can be calibrated as well. In such embodiment (not shown in the drawings) a signal generator in the forward legacy band can be a part of OSM 400 and a signal generator in the legacy return path band can be a part of SSM 300, for example. In alternate embodiment, the calibration process 570 can be executed by OSMC 490 (FIG. 2) instead of SSMC 370. Yet in another embodiment, both controllers can participate in the calibration process 570 using a master-slave configuration. [0072] In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, a manual calibration process 570 can be initiated. In such embodiment a technician, by using a signal generator can inject signals in different frequencies, in the band of the legacy return path, to each one of the subscriber ports of SSM 300 and measure the power at the OSM side of CC 140a. Accordingly, the technician can calibrate the gain of the amplifiers 345a-c (FIG. 3). In a similar way the forward path can be adjusted. After the calibration, method 500 of the adding paths process can be terminated and the additional return path over CC 140a is ready to carry additional return paths coming from the subscriber's branches.

[0073] In the description and claims of the present disclosure, each of the verbs, "comprise", "include" and "have", and conjugates thereof, are used to indicate that the object or objects of the verb are not necessarily a complete listing of members, components, elements, or parts of the subject or subjects of the verb.

[0074] In this application the words "unit" and "module" are used interchangeably. Anything designated as a unit or module may be a stand-alone unit or a specialized module. A unit or a module may be modular or have modular aspects allowing it to be easily removed and replaced with another similar unit or module. Each unit or module may be any one of, or any combination of, software, hardware, and/or firmware. Software of a logical module can be embodied on a computer readable medium such as a read/write hard disc, CDROM, Flash memory, ROM, etc. In order to execute a certain task a software program can be loaded to an appropriate processor as needed.

[0075] The present invention has been described using detailed descriptions of embodiments thereof that are provided by way of example and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention. The described embodiments comprise different features, not all of which are required in all embodiments of the invention. Some embodiments of the present invention utilize only some of the features or possible combinations of the features. Many other ramification and variations are possible within the teaching of the embodiments comprising different combinations of features noted in the described embodiments. [0076] It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited by what has been particularly shown and described herein above. Rather the scope of the invention is defined by the claims that follow.

Claims

Claims: I claim:
1. A system for increasing the bandwidth capacity over a return path coming from two or more subscriber's branches that are connected in a hybrid fiber-optics coaxial (HFC) distribution network of a cable television (CATV) operator, the system comprising: a common distributing device located in a coaxial distribution node in the hybrid fiber-optics coaxial (HFC) distribution network, and wherein the return path and a forward path are jointly carried over a first coaxial cable (CC) connecting the coaxial distribution node with a fiber-optic node (FON) and the FON is connected via one or more fiber-optic cables to a CATV operator premises; a subscriber side apparatus (SSA) associated to the common distributing device, and connected to a subscriber side of the first CC; and an operator side apparatus (OSA) associated to the FON, and connected to an operator side of the first CC; wherein the forward path coming from the FON and carrying the downstream traffic toward the two or more subscriber's branches is transferred via the OSA, the first CC, the SSA and from the SSA, via its legacy-port, to an operator-port of the common distributing device and via a first subscriber' s-port of the common distributing device is transferred via a second CC to a legacy subscriber's branch out of the two or more subscriber's branches, and via at least one other subscriber's port of the common distributing device through the SSA toward at least one other subscriber's branch out of the two or more subscriber's branches via at least one other CC; wherein a first return path of the legacy subscriber's branch jointly transmitted with the forward path over the second CC, is transferred via the common distributing device through the common distributing device operator port and from there toward the SSA via the SSA legacy port; wherein at least one second return path of the at least one other subscriber's branch out of the two or more subscriber's branches jointly transmitted with the forward path over the at least one other CC is transferred via the SSA, in which the frequency band of the second return path is up-converted by the SSA; and wherein the SSA join the at least one up-converted return path with the first return path and transfers the joined return paths over the first CC toward the OSA; and wherein the OSA separates the at least one up-converted return path from the joined first return path and the forward path and connects the first return path and the forward path jointly to a subscriber port of the FON and wherein the OSA further reconverts the frequency band of the at least one up-converted return path into the legacy frequency band of the return path and transfers each one of the at least one reconverted return path toward an extra return RF/optical port at the FON.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the two or more subscriber's branches is limited to up to four branches.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein the common distributing device is a common trunk.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein the common distributing device was connected to the first coaxial cable before installing the system for increasing the bandwidth capacity over a return path.
5. The system of claim 1, wherein the SSA further comprising: a. at least one subscriber's side dongle SSD, wherein each SSD up-converts the frequency band of the return path coming from an assigned subscriber's branch to one of the additional-return-path frequency band; and b. at least one CC interface dongle CCID, wherein each CCID received the at least one up-converted return paths coming from the at least one SSD and joins it with the return path coming from the legacy subscriber's branch via the common distributing device and transfers the joined-return paths over the first CC jointly with the forward path toward the OSA.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein the frequency band of the legacy return path is in the range of 5 to 65 MHz.
7. The system of claim 1 , wherein the frequency band of the additional return path is in the range of 1.0 to 1.4 GHz.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein the frequency band of the forward path is in the range of55 to 860 MHz.
9. The system of claim 1, further comprising a power control mechanism for controlling the RF power in order to compensate power changes due to the BW capacity increasing over the return path.
10. The system of claim 1, wherein the common trunk was connected to the two or more subscriber's branches before increasing the BW capacity over the return path coming from the two or more subscriber's branches.
11. A method for increasing the BW capacity over a return path coming from two or more subscriber's branches that are connected to a coaxial distribution node in a hybrid fiber-optics coaxial (HFC) distribution network of a cable television (CATV) operator, and wherein the return path and a forward path are jointly carried over a first coaxial cable (CC) connecting the coaxial distribution node (CDN) with a fiber-optic node (FON) and the FON is connected via one or more fiber-optic cables to a CATV operator premises, comprising:
a. transferring toward the two or more subscriber's branches the forward path in its legacy frequency band via a common distributing device; b. transferring toward the FON a return path coming from a first subscriber's branch out of the two or more subscriber's branches in its legacy frequency band via the common distributing device; c. up-converting the frequency band of a return path coming from a second subscriber's branch out of the two or more subscriber's branches into an additional frequency band; d. combining the up-converted return path coming from the second subscriber's branch in its additional frequency band with the return path coming from the first subscriber's branch via the common distributing device in its legacy frequency band; and e. jointly communicating to and from the FON the combined return paths and the forward path over the first CC.
12. The method of claim 11, further comprising, at the FON side of the first CC: a. separating the up-converted return path coming from the second subscriber's branch in its additional frequency band from the return path coming from the first subscriber's branch in its legacy frequency band; b. jointly communicating via a subscriber port of the FON the separated return path coming from the first subscriber's branch in its legacy frequency band and the forward path coming from the CATV operator premises; c. reconverting the additional frequency band of the return path coming from the second subscriber's branch into its legacy frequency band; and d. transferring the reconverted return path via an extra return RF/optical port at the FON.
13. The method of claim 11, wherein the two or more subscriber's branches is limited to up to four branches.
14. The method of claim 11, wherein the common distributing device is a common trunk.
15. The method of claim 11, wherein the common distributing device was connected to the first coaxial cable before increasing the bandwidth capacity over a return path.
16. The method of claim 1 1, wherein the frequency band of the legacy return path is in the range of 5 to 65 MHz.
17. The method of claim 11, wherein the frequency band of the additional return path is in the range of 1.0 to 1.4 GHz.
18. The method of claim 1 1, wherein the frequency band of the forward path is in the range of 55 to 860 MHz.
19. The method of claim 11, further comprising controlling the RF power over the first CC for compensating power changes due to the BW capacity increasing over the return path.
PCT/IL2010/000279 2009-04-09 2010-04-06 Method and system for increasing upstream bandwidth in existing catv network WO2010116365A1 (en)

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