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Casa Puts Heat on Cisco, Arris & Motorola

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
5/21/2012
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BOSTON -- The Cable Show -- Casa Systems Inc. will try to get a head start on competitors such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Motorola Mobility LLC here with the release of its first chassis that meets the density requirements of the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), a super-dense architecture that puts all of cable's QAM- and IP-based services under the same roof.

Casa will target the CCAP market with the DS8x96, a module that snaps into its Docsis 3.0-qualified C10G cable modem termination system (CMTS) and bakes in QAM capacity. The module aims to hit the CCAP specs by packing in 96 channels per port, including 32 channels for narrowcast services (IP video, high-speed Internet, video-on-demand, etc.) and 64 channels for cable broadcast services, or a total of 748 channels per module. A full-packed C10G can support more than 8,000 narrowcast/broadcast channels, the company claims. (See The Cable Show 2012: To Docsis 3.0 & Beyond! .)

Casa is well behind Cisco, Arris and Motorola in terms of CMTS market share, but hopes to gain some new footholds as cable operators get set for initial trials and deployments of CCAP later this year. (See Cisco, Harmonic Rule Cable Access in Q3 .)

"We will be very aggressive in this [CCAP] market. There will be opportunities for a lot of swap-outs and new equipment," says Mark Sumner, Casa's VP of marketing and business development. He adds that Casa's goal is to start shipping its CCAP product in the second half of 2012 and says the company already has a deal in place for a CCAP trial with a U.S. MSO he wouldn't identify.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has issued a CCAP request for proposal (RFP) ahead of small-scale deployments set for later this year, and Casa confirms that it did toss its hat into the ring. Sumner expects several European operators, including Ziggo B.V. , Kabel Deutschland GmbH , and Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), to put out CCAP RFIs and RFPs in the third quarter. He views 2013 as mostly a trial year for CCAP, with deployments ramping up in 2014. Casa's biggest customer is UPC Broadband , a unit of Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) that also uses CMTSs from Cisco and Arris.

Why this matters
By entering the CCAP market now, Casa could put some pressure on competitors in the early deployment phases of the architecture and help Casa gain some ground. But the road won't be easy, because every incumbent CMTS maker has products on the way for integrated CCAP gear or more modular implementations that rely on monster edge QAMs.

Among them, Arris has an integrated CCAP chassis that it's still keeping behind the curtain at trade shows and is using edge QAM tech acquired from BigBand Networks Inc. to fulfill the modular end of CCAP. Moto is working on two CCAP implementations. Cisco, meanwhile, will be here at the show touting the DS384, a new line card for its universal edge QAM that gets it a step closer to CCAP.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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