Cable TV

Hathway looks to operate from three headends in Mumbai in the long term

Broadband may be a while coming to Indian shores but the big MSOs are all readying the backend for it. Rajan Raheja-promoted Hathway Cable & Datacom, which recently moved its main operational centre to a state-of-the-art headend in the central Mumbai suburb of Parel, plans to consolidate all its headends into three main ones over the next two years.

Hathway earlier had 14 headends controlling operations, mainly in south Mumbai and along the western suburbs. With the Parel headend going onstream, two control rooms in Worli and Mahim have been disbanded, Praveen Shrikande, CTO, Hathway says. According to Shrikande, the whole process will take two to three years.

Due to the geographical layout of Mumbai (it is a linear city), it is not possible for Hathway go the way of Bangalore, where it has consolidated with a fiber optic backbone into one headend. Earlier Bangalore had five headends.

The headend is the data centre for all Internet operations in Mumbai for Hathway. All points are hooked up from here through five CMTSs (cable modem termination system). Depending on the scheme under which a client has joined up, Hathway offers 64-512 kbps bandwidth Navroz P Behramfram, head - technical support, says. Hathway supplies modems as per client requirements but all models are DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Services Interface Specifications) compatible, Behramfram says.

Explaining the operational set-up, Behramfram says satellite signals (for their 92 channel feed) are captured through nine dishes using L band or intermediate frequency (IF) distribution to receiver / decoders. Each decoder transmits a single channel AV and each channel is modulated and then mixed using the principle of frequency domain multiplexing. The objective here is to combine all the individual channel feeds. At the end of it all, a single optic fiber cable carries the feed out from the headend.

Behramfram says the system that has been set up is structured in such a way that it is easy to trace which signal is going where and therefore in case of any problems, pinpointing the source is not difficult.

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