Light Reading

Huawei Signs Up for Comcast's RDK

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is among a growing group of vendors to secure licenses for Comcast Corp.'s Reference Design Kit (RDK) for hybrid QAM/IP and IP-only set-tops and gateways, Light Reading Cable has learned.

The license is merely a point of entry. It doesn't guarantee that Huawei will land any of Comcast's set-top business, or the set-top business of any other cable operator that ends up adopting the RDK.

In the U.S., Time Warner Cable Inc. is expected to deploy products based on the RDK. Other service provider licensees include Liberty Global Inc., BSkyB Ltd. and Rogers Communications Inc., according to an industry source, though it's still unclear if those operators are simply evaluating the RDK or have more in mind. Liberty Global is already heavily invested in Horizon, an IP-capable video platform that isn't based on the RDK but uses the NDS (now Cisco Systems Inc.) software stack. (See Liberty Embarks on New TV Horizon.)

Comcast's RDK stack includes the CableLabs reference implementation for tru2way middleware, a Java Virtual Machine and several community-sourced elements such as Gstreamer (a media management/playback framework) and Nokia Corp.'s Qt windowing framework. The RDK also supports optional, proprietary elements, including Adobe Systems Inc.'s Flash engine and the Microsoft Corp. PlayReady digital rights management (DRM).

Comcast is using RDK-based products in X1, a next-gen video platform that uses a cloud-based user interface and has already been launched in five markets. The initial X1 product features the Pace plc-made XG1 DVR/server and the RNG150N, a client box that also supports the new UI and can access recorded content from the XG1 via the home's Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) network. (See Comcast's X1 Gets a Multi-Room Partner.)

Comcast and its vendor partners have also developed "headless" XG5 gateways that will work in tandem with IP-only clients (called Xi3), tablets, smart TVs and possibly game consoles and other connected consumer electronics devices. (See Comcast's All-Service Gateways Go 'Headless'.)

Huawei's U.S. challenge
It's not yet known which RDK product area Huawei will concentrate on, but the company has been eager to win some set-top business with U.S. MSOs, even as it and ZTE Corp. face allegations by the U.S. government that they pose a national security risk. (See US vs. Huawei/ZTE: The Verdict and Can Huawei Change?)

But much of that scrutiny has been centered on Huawei's network gear. It might face an easier climb with set-top and other consumer premises equipment (CPE). Suddenlink Communications, for example, has deployed Huawei-made Digital Terminal Adapters (DTAs) – small "channel-zappers" that convert digital video signals to analog for older TVs -- as well as some of the vendor's optical gear. (See Huawei DTAs Break In at Suddenlink.)

Comcast and Huawei have not commented on their relationship involving the RDK.

Last fall, when the House Intelligence Committee issued its report on Huawei and ZTE, Comcast issued this statement: "We work with many vendors, including Huawei, whose role is limited. We work with multiple vendors to foster innovation and competition, and we regularly evaluate current and potential vendors. Ensuring the security of our network and our customers' information has always been and continues to be our top priority."

Huawei is just one of dozens of vendors that have signed RDK licenses. Others include: Broadcom Corp., Motorola Mobility LLC., Entropic Communications Inc., Evolution Digital LLC, Intel Corp., Humax Co. Ltd. and Cisco. (See Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction.)

Light Reading Cable will publish a more extensive list of RDK licensees soon.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/11/2013 | 2:47:21 PM
re: Huawei Signs Up for Comcast's RDK
yes, the list if very big... several CPE guys, software guys, and a bunch of integrators, along with some service providers.-á More work needs to be done on this by me, but the way i hear it, there's the general RDK and then some special licenses on top of it that are involved if you want to do work with Comcast directly.... still, the RDK license is a requisite step, and not all that hard to get, though I'm not sure (yet)-ánow much $$ are involved. JB
User Rank: Blogger
1/11/2013 | 3:01:04 AM
re: Huawei Signs Up for Comcast's RDK
Maybe the question should be: Who isn't going to jump on the RDK bandwagon? If you want to be any part of cable's STB or gateway future, it seems like you've got to at least kick the RDK tires.
Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 1:10:43 PM
re: Huawei Signs Up for Comcast's RDK
Still working up an updated list of companies that have signed the RDK.... and there are a bunch. Taking some time because it includes most of the usual suspects, plus plenty of integration/services companies that want to help CPE guys make RDK products. And it's the latter that's taking some time... not exactly the kind of companies that tend to be on my radar a lot. But it does speak to the size of the uniform'ish ecoystem that Comcast's trying to develop so the industry doesn't end up with another fragmented mess like it did with the first shot at tru2way (although the tru2way RI is part of the RDK, so there is that)> JB
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Dunroamin'
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 10/2/2015
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cisco's Chambers Rules Out Political Bid
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/6/2015
Infinera Fleshes Out Its Metro 100G Story
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/7/2015
AT&T Gets Green Light for VoWiFi
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/7/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here