Cisco Systems Inc. is giving cable operators a way to bridge over to Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), the super-dense, next-generation access network program.
On Wednesday, the company launched two capacity-boosting cards -- the Performance Routing Engine (PRE5) and the 3-Gigabit Shared Port Adapter (3GSPA) -- made to snap into its widely deployed flagship CMTS, the uBR10K. They'll act as an intermediate step toward CCAP, an architecture meant to help cable unify all services, including video, under IP.
Cisco says the 3GSPA, at 72 downstreams per port, can effectively double the downstreams in one uBR10K chassis, to 1,152 from 576. The PRE5, the piece that handles the CMTS's routing functions, quadruples the chassis's processing capacity, to 40 Gbit/s.
The new cards let MSOs approach CCAP densities without having to swap out their existing chassis, says Mark Palazzo, vice president of Cisco's cable access business unit. Palazzo confirmed that Cisco is also developing a new "CCAP-plus" platform, but wouldn't say when it might roll out.
Cisco says trials are planned with "several major" cable operators in the U.S. and abroad starting in the first quarter of 2013. Cisco didn't name them, but Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc., two of Cisco's key customers, are expected to be among the first MSOs to test and deploy CCAP.
Comcast has already issued a CCAP request for proposal (RFP) and has said it will begin some initial deployments this year. More details about that could emerge today at noon E.T. during a Light Reading Cable webinar sponsored by Cisco that will feature John Mattson, Cisco's senior director of strategic marketing, and Jorge Salinger, Comcast's VP of access architecture. (See Comcast Issues CCAP RFP .)
Why this matters
The CCAP race is on, as several major cable operators prepare for the initial wave of deployments, expected to get underway next year and ramp up in 2014.
And Cisco has a lot to protect. It's the clear CMTS market-share leader, but the CCAP migration will open up opportunities for other vendors to elbow their way in. That group will include Cisco's traditional rivals, such as Arris Group Inc. and Motorola Mobility LLC, as well as Casa Systems Inc., Harmonic Inc. and CommScope Inc.. (See CCAP Market Is Cisco's & Arris's to Lose .)
â€” Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable