Light Reading

Cable Access Goes for Bigger Broadband

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
9/28/2012
50%
50%
Repost This

The latest Docsis 3.0 modems gun for downstream bursts approaching 1Gbit/s, but work already under way at some of the industry's key Docsis network vendors aims to blow past that. (See Intel's New Docsis 3.0 Chip Guns for 1-Gig .)

On the modem side, Hitron Technologies Inc. has already trotted out D3 gateway models based on the new Intel Puma 6 chip that bonds 24 downstream channels and eight upstream channels. Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) has already indicated plans to do the same, and multiple industry sources say Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) has been showing off a prototype.

But most of the cable modem termination system (CMTS) vendors say they are working on new software that will bond 32 downstream channels -- enough for maximum bursts of 1.2Gbit/s when fully loaded. Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) has been quiet about its plans for a next-gen D3 chip, but those CMTS targets could be indicative of what the chipmaker has in mind. (See Broadcom's Next D3 Chip Will Leapfrog Intel .)

Here's a quick review of the CMTS front:

  • Software on Arris's flagship CMTS, the C4, can handle 24 bonded channels, but the vendor has not issued that release commercially, says Stan Brovont, Arris SVP of marketing and business development, who adds that the vendor can't fully test the software until there's an ample supply of the new customer premises equipment (CPE). "It's one thing to write code to make it work for one modem, versus thousands," he says. He confirmed that a 32-channel CMTS is planned but didn't give a time frame.

  • Motorola Mobility is working on a new CMTS software release that can bond 32 downstreams and eight upstreams, expected to be ready by the first half of 2012, says Director of CMTS Marketing Jeffrey Walker.

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) says its new software release for 24 or 32 bonded downstream channels is slated for its fiscal second quarter, which ends in January. But "we can support it sooner than that for testing and trials," a Cisco spokeswoman says.

  • Casa Systems Inc. , which has been supplying the CMTS for the demos of Hitron's 24x8 modems, has already deployed 24-channel bonding in its CMTS for North American and EuroDocsis environments, according to VP of Marketing and Business Development Mark Sumner.

    CMTS readiness for 24x8 modems will be important for the CPE vendors as they get prepped for certification testing. Hitron says it plans to submit a wireless gateway for testing at CableLabs in November. Cable Europe Labs is ready to begin testing on 24x8 modems now, according to Peter Percosan, the organization's managing director.

    Market uncertainty
    It's not yet clear when cable operators will be ready to use any of this new equipment. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), for example, says it will hold off on any major changes to its Docsis infrastructure while it gauges demand for downstream speeds of 200Mbit/s or more. It's using a surgical fiber-to-the-home/Metro Ethernet approach, rather than Docsis 3.0, for early takers of its 305Mbit/s tier. (See Comcast Gives FTTH a Shot .)

    Other MSOs might move sooner, depending on factors such as competition and how they intend to drive their IP video migrations. Operators in Europe, for example, are faced with more fiber competition or are considering a full IP video simulcast, so they are looking to create a Docsis pipe that can support something in the range of 1Gbit/s, Walker says.

    But most cable operators don't happen to have a bunch of spare channels lying around. Some MSOs are still having trouble finding enough spectrum to fill up today's 8x4 modems, Brovont says. He adds that the CPE and CMTS players need to be ready for when operators do free up more bandwidth and also have a good business reason to use it.

    And it appears that 32 channels could just be a start. Sumner says Casa's already got eyes on a 64-channel downstream, "but nobody will have anything like that anytime soon."

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

    (1)  | 
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
  • Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    tmc8080
    50%
    50%
    tmc8080,
    User Rank: Light Bulb
    12/5/2012 | 5:20:09 PM
    re: Cable Access Goes for Bigger Broadband


    Maybe Comcast and Verizon dont' want to be left out of the GIGABIT party when 2013 comes a-roling around.. 2013 seems to be the year of the gigabit-- or is it? No carriers have [publically] stated that their goal is to offer 1 gigabit speeds to residential consumers as of yet (on a wide-scale basis, that is.. other than Google via FTTP).  Still silent on possible upgrades is Cablevision.. are they eyeing new CTMS or FTTP?

    Flash Poll
    LRTV Custom TV
    Optimizing SDN & NFV Architectures Through Application Awareness

    4|23|14   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


    Jerome Tollet, CTO at Qosmos, explains how network equipment vendors and operators deploying SDN and NFV can take advantage of network intelligence delivered by DPI to strengthen products and services.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

    4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


    Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
    LRTV Documentaries
    Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

    4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


    US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

    4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


    Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
    LRTV Documentaries
    Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

    4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


    Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
    LRTV Documentaries
    Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

    4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


    Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

    4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


    At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

    4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


    Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

    4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


    Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

    4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


    Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

    4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


    Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
    LRTV Documentaries
    Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

    4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


    Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
    Hot Topics
    WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
    Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
    The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
    Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
    What's the Magic of Private Equity?
    Carolyn Mathas, 4/22/2014
    AT&T Turns Up Gig Heat in 21 New Metros
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/21/2014
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed