Hitachi Rolls Out RFoG Gear
On Monday, Hitachi introduced two "Node+Zero" modules that are compatible with RFoG, a new cable industry initiative that enables cable operators to install FTTP systems that are capable of communicating with the MSO's existing headend and traditional cable modems and digital set-tops. The SCTE kicked off an RFoG standards-setting project earlier this year. (See Fog Lifting on RFOG.) Several cable operators, including Cox Communications Inc. and WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) , are taking a more formal look at FTTP technologies, including RFoG, for residential greenfields and in support of business service deployments, (See Cox Flirts With Fiber and WOW! Does GPON.)
The product from Hitachi most closely associated with RFoG is the Node+Zero H-112, a standalone device that handles the optical-to-electrical conversion at the customer premises and passes through traditional RF-based cable services, including Docsis. The vendor's Node+Zero H-103 model also passes through RF services but works in conjunction with a GPON optical network terminal (ONT) should operators decide to "future-proof" the system with an extra PON wavelength. (See Hitachi Rolls RFOG Gear .)
Pricing on those products, based on early, small volumes, will range from $120 to $400 each, with the the H-112 coming in on the lower end of the scale.
The H-103 model will work with Hitachi's PON system or with PONs from other vendors, according to Rick Schiavinato, Hitachi's VP of sales and marketing.
Based on MSO discussions so far, Hitachi expects operators to use a mix of the modules, with the RFoG-only version likely targeted for residential environments, and the PON-enhanced product aimed at enterprise services.
Hitachi and an undisclosed cable operator started a field trial about three months ago. Product is in production, and the first units are expected to come off the line in August. Initial commercial deployments are expected by the fourth quarter. "We expect the sales cycle to be relatively short," says David Foote, Hitachi Telecom's chief technology officer.
Hitachi plans to sell the gear directly to MSOs, but the company has also signed on several cable equipment distributors, including TVC Communications and Toner Cable Equipment Inc.
Hitachi will also pursue business for the new product line with ILECs, since many are deploying FTTP networks, but opting to deliver video services over RF rather than via IP.
Although cable's foray into the FTTP arena is spotty and marked by small deployments and trials, the segment has attracted a raft of suppliers.
Alloptic Inc. , which has won deployments for its MicroNode with operators such as BendBroadband and Armstrong Cable , is among Hitachi's closest competitors in this product category.
However, several other vendors are developing RFoG systems or cable-friendly PON systems, including Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Aurora Networks Inc. , Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and CommScope Inc. , among others. (See CommScope Sees BrightPath for Cable FTTP, Moto Expands 'CablePON' Strategy, SA Pitches Cable PON, and Calix Uses RFOG.)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News