Seeking to boost its presence in the rapidly growing cable business services market, Accedian is introducing a small module designed to upgrade DOCSIS networks for Ethernet services such as mobile backhaul.
Accedian says the new module, known as an antMODULE, can turn an ordinary cable modem into an Ethernet access device by using the power of network functions virtualization (NFV) offload technology. The antMODULE, an iPhone-sized device that sits behind the cable modem and can be remotely controlled, is designed to work in tandem with Accedian's virtualized network interface device (V-NID) to deliver Ethernet-quality services over coaxial cable lines without the need to add more fiber to the plant.
More specifically, Accedian says the antMODULE-V-NID combo will enable cable operators to deliver value-added, SLA-based services such as mobile backhaul over their coax lines. Further, the company says, by leveraging the power of the NFV offload engine, the new solution can execute complex Layer 2 and Layer 3 service performance assurance functions that are usually found only in costly test equipment.
"It allows cable operators to take their existing infrastructure, rejuvenate it, and offer business-class Carrier Ethernet service with reportable SLAs," Patrick Ostiguy, president & CEO of Accedian, told Light Reading. He called the solution "quite disruptive from a price-point perspective" because it allows operators to enhance their plant without a "forklift upgrade."
The product introduction by Accedian is notable because it's one of the first cable solutions to tap into the power of NFV. In general, the cable industry has moved much slower to embrace NFV and software-defined networking (SDN) technologies than the telecom sector so far.
The Accedian gambit is also significant because it signals a deeper plunge by the Montreal-based vendor into the swiftly growing cable business services market. Although Accedian has supplied mobile backhaul products over fiber lines to cable operators in the past, the company is now seeking to make a broader push into the commercial market by expanding its roster of products to cover the industry's coax networks as well.
Ostiguy said at least two North American cable operators are now testing and evaluating the antMODULE in their labs and systems, including one marquee MSO. Although he declined to name the operators, the marquee MSO is likely either Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) or Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC).
Accedian sees a promising niche market for the new module in North America, Europe, and Asia as cable operators continue their business services expansion. Heavy Reading, our market research arm, projects that the US cable business services market alone could generate $10 billion in revenues for operators this year. (See Heavy Reading: Cable Biz Sales to Hit $8.5B.)
The big question is how much of that niche market Accedian can capture. "We think it could be a $300 million market opportunity," Ostiguy said. "Whether we could get X percent of it is speculative."
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading