Juniper Still Not in Love With CMAP

So, is anyone going to make a Packet Shelf for the modular implementation of the Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)-led Converged Multiservice Access Platform (CMAP)?

If the cable industry really wants suppliers to do more than flirt with the idea, it had better start sending flowers, chocolates, or love letters, or friending them on Facebook -- anything to sweep them off their feet and get them to tie the knot or at least commit to commit.

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) was considered by many industry insiders as the relative lock for that component among a small group of vendor candidates that also includes Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Juniper is either not convinced it's a market worth pursuing, however, or is just being coy about what those plans truly are. (See AlcaLu Undecided on Cable Gear Opportunity.)

"We're definitely talking to them [the cable operators] about what their requirements are," says Wendy Cartee, Juniper's VP of technical marketing, when asked about the company's CMAP intentions. "We're always engaged with our customers on their projects."

Granted, Juniper doesn't have to take the CMAP plunge this week to make a real go at it, but the response doesn't exactly make it sound like they're gung-ho at this point.

Still, Juniper does have a product that could help it plot a path to CMAP, acknowledging that its MX80 3D Universal Edge Router has "a lot of the elements in a general sense" to the platform that Comcast and other cable operators could deploy to help fulfill their grand service convergence strategies. "I think the concept is very similar in terms of having a technology that delivers bandwidth and services," Cartee says.

Juniper also allows that it has an "extensive roadmap" to expand the capabilities of that product, but it's not saying if CMAP is one of the stops along the way.

Those with a sense of cable's recent access network history might understand why Juniper would hesitate. It's tried to dive into the cable modem termination system (CMTS) market a couple of times, only to jump back out.

In 2001, Juniper bought a CMTS startup called Pacific Broadband Communications for US$200 million, then shuttered it two years later. It followed by partnering with what's now Motorola Mobility LLC on a modular CMTS design, but they parted ways after Motorola decided it was best to stick with an integrated CMTS design that baked in upstream and downstream capacity in one device.

Vendors that are still mulling a CMAP strategy must weigh the revenue opportunity with the R&D dollars it will require, but Jeff Heynen, Infonetics Research Inc. directing analyst for Broadband Access, holds that companies such as Juniper will still need to commit soon if they plan to play at all. (See RGB Shelves CMAP Product Plans .)

"They don't have a lot of time to go out and develop something," he says, noting that Comcast is expected to push CMAP trials early next year and well-entrenched incumbents such as Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) are coming out with the E6, a high-capacity, CMAP-ish converged edge router platform/

Heynen believes Juniper is best positioned to develop a CMAP Packet Shelf, but "they have to make up their mind pretty quickly."

The Cable Show, set to kick off June 14 in Chicago, may be as good a time as any.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

photon2 12/5/2012 | 5:03:14 PM
re: Juniper Still Not in Love With CMAP

This type of product is low margin and a headache to produce.  Folks need to understand that some products aren't worth the development.


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