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TW Cable to Blend Ethernet With Docsis 3.0

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

NEW YORK -- Ethernet Expo 2012 -- Aiming to goose the speeds it can deliver to business services customers connected to its HFC plant, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has a plan under way to offer Ethernet over Docsis 3.0, company execs said here today.

TW Cable is currently complementing its fiber-fed Ethernet service portfolio with one that delivers Ethernet over Docsis 2.0. That essentially gives the MSO a T1 replacement option it can offer to businesses that are connected to its widespread Docsis network.

Today, customers on that platform can typically get symmetrical links of 2Mbit/s, noted Darren Wolner, director of product management at TW Cable. That's being matched with network availability and mean time to restore service level agreements (SLAs). Its carrier-class, fiber-based Ethernet platform offers symmetrical 1Gbit/s connections, and TW Cable intends to bump that up to 10Gbit/s as it puts in a plan to migrate to the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) 2.0 standard. (See Ethernet Expo 2012: Let's Get Certified! and MEF Sticks a '2.0' on Carrier Ethernet.)

When it comes to serving businesses that demand Ethernet, TW Cable presently views Docsis as a "stop gap" of sorts. "You can't always provision fiber quickly," Wolner said.

Combining Docsis 3.0 with Ethernet will give TW Cable an opportunity to improve the performance of its HFC-based business service while also continuing to pack in the current SLAs and put others on its roadmap. Wolner says the resulting platform should be able to target 320Mbit/s downstreams and 120Mbit/s upstreams, though the MSO will likely start off with speeds somewhere below those levels and add speed and capacity incrementally.

So, when will TW Cable pull the trigger on a Docsis 3.0/Ethernet combo? It's not giving a date, but it won't come out until sometime after CableLabs releases updated specs that cover how business services are delivered over Docsis. "But it's not that far off," said Neil Dorsey, TW Cable's director of commercial product sustaining engineering.

But, when the D3-fueled Ethernet service does make it to market, expect it to contribute to TW Cable's already-booming business services strategy. The company raked in $493 million in the category in the third quarter, a 27.4 percent increase versus the year-ago period.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:17:57 PM
re: TW Cable to Blend Ethernet With Docsis 3.0

Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Business all have fast growing $1 billion plus(annual revenue) business divisions. These CableCo business divisions are nurtured by residential divisions that are many times as big - but with flat revenues(cord cutters?) It's a reasonable expectaion that big cable with continue pouring more personnel, effort and MONEY into their double digit growing business divisions.

As these huge cable MSO's upgrade their cable plant to deliver Ethernet services in the metro at 2Mb, 4Mb and 10 Mb increments to their small and medium business clients I think it is likely that regional and national CLECs like tw telecom and Sidera are going to see very serious competition eroding both their base of existing clients as well as reducing the CLEC's available opportunties. Within these 3 cable companies franchise footprints,  over 70% of the US's business targets are within range of their accelerating COAX networks.

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