Light Reading

Javelin Jabs at Gigabit Cable Upstream

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Javelin Innovations, the new company headed by the former chief of Vyyo Inc., has developed a new line of modules and taps to help cable operators create fresh upstream capacity above 1GHz, Light Reading Cable has learned.

According to industry sources, Javelin is getting ready to introduce a 1.8GHz tap/module that would give MSOs an additional 800MHz of upstream spectrum to play with once that capacity is physically activated. The other product, a full-on 2.8GHz tap, would support even more capacity to help cable fatten up its traditionally skinny upstream path and set the table for multi-gigabit capacities.

Javelin CEO Wayne Davis declined to comment on the company's product plans, but sources say the 1.8GHz module is viewed as a drop-in that would not require operators to re-splice the coax. As explained to Light Reading Cable, the Javelin 1.8GHz module could be placed inside an installed Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) 1GHz tap housing. It's believed that Javelin's also working on a version for Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)-made taps.

"It's literally a faceplate replacement," says an industry source who's familiar with Javelin's product plan. "You don't need to unscrew the tap. You just insert a faceplate with the electronics to go up above 1GHz."

The 2.8GHz version is a full-sized tap that would require operators to recut the coax and do some resizing to install it, a more obtrusive option.

With those scenarios in mind, the 1.8GHz product appears to be more suitable for older cable plant, and the 2.8GHz product better targeted to new developments.

Javelin's products are coming into view as the cable industry, led by a committee at CableLabs , weighs several long-term technical options that would allow MSOs to deliver sustainable upstream speeds well beyond 100 Mbit/s. Sources say the Louisville, Colo.-based cable R&D house has been hearing out a wide range of proposals from a wide range of suppliers, including Motorola and Cisco. (See CableLabs Eyes a Super-Sized Upstream .)

The group is said to be giving attention to a "top-split" approach that would beef up upstream capacity to multiple gigabits per second. The amount of upstream spectrum allocated by US MSOs today (in the 5MHz-to-42MHz range) supports theoretical data capacity of about 120 Mbit/s. Motorola, meanwhile, has been openly proposing the use of a nearer-term "mid-split" that would raise US cable's upstream spectrum ceiling to 85MHz. (See Does HFC Have Plenty of Legs Left? )

That Javelin is targeting upstream spectrum beyond 1GHz isn't a surprise. Davis hinted at it last year but didn't supply any product details. (See Vyyo's New Name & Game .)

Revelations of the new product line come roughly two years after an investment group led by former Vyyo chairman Davidi Gilo made a $45 million tender offer for the publicly traded company, which was struggling to establish its 3GHz overlay technology. (See Exclusive: Gilo Offers $45M for Vyyo , Vyyo on Life Support , and 'New' Vyyo to Rise in March .)

The new private company has been quiet, but it's believed that Javelin's products are being tested in MSO labs and that the company is working on partnerships with bigger suppliers.

Historically, Cox Communications Inc. was Vyyo's marquee customer, using the 3GHz overlay in targeted business services situations. Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) has since obtained the rights to distribute the equipment to Cox, under a supply chain deal with Javelin. (See Vyyo Gear Lives On (at Arris).)

More official details about Javelin's product strategy might be revealed at next week's Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Cable-Tec Expo in New Orleans. At last check, the company's Website directs visitors to "Check back soon for more information."

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:21:16 PM
re: Javelin Jabs at Gigabit Cable Upstream

I think you're right to be a bit skeptical given the trackrecord so far for any sort of cable technology that can work above 1GHz, but the plug-in approach for 1.8GHz at least answers what was a big hurdle in the past because of the resizing requirements. And there was only a very limited market for that original 3GHz product line, anyway.

But I'm also gathering that being private and the renewed hope that goes along with that has given these guys the ability to just hunker down, reassess, spend more time talking with operators to see what they might actually need and buy, versus worrying about life on a quarter-to-quarter basis as a public company.

I'll be interested to learn who their "partner" is, as well. That might be pretty telling in terms of what sort of potential this new product strategy might hold. I'm also hoping to get a better fix on Javelin's broader product strategy should they go public with that at next week's show. JB

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:21:16 PM
re: Javelin Jabs at Gigabit Cable Upstream

The unrealized promise of utilizing new spectrum on existing plant goes back a few years with this company, but a neat working package has been vaporware.  It's past time to show the complete solution.  I think the 1.8GHz plugin is also interesting since their previous stance was that traditional seizure mechanisms provided poor response past 1GHz.  Make sure you follow the technical performance on this one.

The industry is in a different place than it was even two years ago with the sunset of analog, docsis 3,  deeper fiber, and available midsplit equipment.  Is the Javelin solution still relevant?

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