TW Cable to Blend Ethernet With Docsis 3.0
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