Bye Bye, Edge QAMs?

Will edge QAMs soon go the way of the dinosaur?

Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

January 15, 2008

1 Min Read
Bye Bye, Edge QAMs?

Will today's hot edge QAM modulators go the way of the dinosaur in the not-too-distant future?

Mike Caldwell, senior director of product management for Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), thinks so. Although more than a dozen companies, including his own, are furiously pitching universal edge QAMs to cable operators these days, Caldwell believes that such downstream edge devices may become obsolete in a few short years as the cable industry makes the inevitable shift from traditional RF technology over coaxial cable to more economical and efficient IP technology over fiber links.

Speaking Monday at the PK Worldmedia Inc. "QAM Before the Storm" conference in Los Angeles, Caldwell predicted wistfully that universal edge QAMs "may be the last class of RF downstream edge devices" that the industry ever deploys. He noted that, while RF technology does not get cheaper as it scales and matures, photonic technology does. As a result, he opined, "we may see the end of RF technology over cable in my career."

In his keynote address, Caldwell also predicted that Docsis 3.0 will "come on like a freight train" in the cable industry, eliminating the need to develop higher QAM modulation schemes. In addition, he argued that "analog TV will die quicker than we think," because of the February 2009 digital TV transition deadline, soaring consumer demand for HDTV sets, and "an explosion in HD content" next year.

— Alan Breznick, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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