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New Moto CMTS Blade Paddles Upstream

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
5/5/2010
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Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) says a super-dense cable modem termination system (CMTS) blade that packs in 48 upstream ports will start showing up in MSO networks in July, ahead of volume shipments expected to ramp up in the fourth quarter.

Motorola is showing off that product, the RX48, for the first time at this week's ANGA Cable show in Cologne, Germany, and will be doing the same stateside next week at The Cable Show in Los Angeles.

The RX48 is a dedicated upstream blade that's designed to slide into Moto's flagship CMTS, the BSR64000. A fully optimized RX48 provides nearly 1.5 Gbit/s of upstream capacity per module. It's the sister of the TX32, a downstream-only CMTS card with 32 ports that's already widely deployed in the US and abroad, and generally targeted to Docsis 3.0 deployments. (See Moto Wields Upstream CMTS Blade.)

The RX48 is also a candidate for Docsis 3.0 installations that use upstream channel bonding to produce upstream bursts of 100 Mbit/s or more. However, in the early going, MSOs will likely use the RX48 to supply capacity for faster cable modem tiers that use just one Docsis upstream channel.

Motorola hasn't revealed where the RX48 will appear first, but trials are already set up to begin this summer with MSOs in the US and internationally, according to Floyd Wagoner, director of global marketing for Moto's Access Networks Solutions unit. "We have customers lined up in every region," he claims.

But Moto's not the only company focused on dense blades that fit inside "integrated" CMTS architectures that pack upstream and downstream capacity inside the same chassis.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), for example, just took the wraps off a new line card for its primary CMTS, the uBR10012, that supports 20 upstream and 20 downstream ports and uses the integrated approach. It has also developed an upstream blade with 60 upstream ports for "modular" systems that place all of the upstream capacity in the "core" CMTS chassis and rely on edge QAMs for the downstreams. (See Cisco Packs On Wideband Muscle and Cisco Packs On Wideband Muscle .)

Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), meanwhile, has a CMTS blade with 12 upstream ports that fits inside the C4, a chassis with 16 slots, double what's in the Cisco uBR10012. Arris is working on a denser version, but hasn't tipped its hand on how many upstreams that future blade will wield.

More from Moto
At next week's Cable Show, Motorola will also be introducing a new software platform and a server line that plays into emerging cross-platform TV strategies.

"Medios" is the name of a new family of management software tools from Motorola designed to help operators deliver video services to TVs, PCs, mobile devices, and just about any sort of broadband-connected video display.

Medios isn't middleware, but rather a control plane that sits atop of the video delivery network and acts as a translator to help ensure that video services and their related user interfaces and navigation systems retain a consistent look and feel whether they're being delivered on set-tops, netbooks, or phones that use myriad software stacks.

Moto isn't getting into the guide business, but it will offer a Medios-powered "reference" user interface, notes Buddy Snow, senior director of solutions marketing for Moto's Broadband Home Solutions unit.

He says Medios, a product that's partly spawned by Moto's acquisitions of Leapstone Systems and Netopia Inc., is ready for lab trials, and expects interest to come from both cable MSOs and telcos, since they share a "common pain point" on how to deliver video services cross-platform. (See Moto Closes on Leapstone and Moto Closes on Netopia.)

Moto's addressing multi-screen TV on the server side with the introduction of the M3 Media Server family, which will start shipping by the third quarter and compete with similar products from Verivue Inc. , Arris (a Verivue reseller, by the way), SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC), and Concurrent Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: CCUR), and target video-on-demand systems and broader content distribution networks (CDNs). (See Moto M3 Servers Target TV Everywhere.)

The M3 server family, whose lineage traces back to Moto's buys of Broadbus Technologies and BitBand Technologies, has three members: the M3-S100 (a 1-RU box supporting up to 2,500 standard-def streams); the M3-S200 (a 2-RU "library server" that can store up to 12 terabytes and handle live ingest and streaming); and the M3-C600 (the big dog of the group that, Moto says, can handle 40,000 SD streams and 12 terabytes of Flash storage in a 10-RU chassis). (See Moto to Buy BitBand and Moto Buys VOD Vendor Broadbus.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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