Cisco Reclaims CMTS Lead
Following a hiccup in 2009, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) regained its dominance in the cable modem termination system (CMTS) market in 2010 as it accounted for almost 52 percent of revenues in the category, according to Infonetics Research Inc.
Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), which surged in front briefly in 2009 thanks to aggressive Docsis 3.0 deployments by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), ended 2010 with 26 percent of CMTS revenues, followed by Motorola Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MSI)'s 18 percent. Infonetics estimates that Casa Systems Inc. , the upstart of the group, made some progress with MSOs such as UPC Broadband and Ziggo B.V. but accounted for just 3 percent to 4 percent. (See Arris Beats Cisco in CMTS for '09.)
On the edge QAM side of the cable access network equation, Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) kept its lead, with 35 percent of the market revenues, while BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND) had 17 percent, off 8 percent from 2009, affected in part by Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)'s decision to spread purchasing to other edge QAM vendors. (See Arris Wins at Time Warner Cable .)
Still, most cable access suppliers had a solid 2010. Infonetics estimates that global CMTS and edge QAM revenues for 2010 grew 23 percent to $1.62 billion.
Cisco jumped back in front partly due to the emergence of the 3G60, a new modular CMTS card that beefs up the density of the company's flagship CMTS, the uBR10012, by packing 72 downstream ports and 60 upstream ports. Cisco also introduced a 20x20 card for more integrated CMTS deployments. (See Cisco Aiming to One-Up Cable's Upstream and Cisco Packs On Wideband Muscle .)
Infonetics Directing Analyst for Broadband Access Jeff Heynen believes Cisco is positioned to have a solid 2011. "It [the 3G60] is changing the game a bit," he says.
However, Arris, he said, may also see an uptick as it starts to pull in orders for its recently launched "XD-CAM" CMTS blade, which supports up to 32 downstream -- doubling the capacity of the vendor's legacy cards. (See Arris Boosts CMTS Downstream Density and Arris Leaps Into CMTS Port Licensing .)
The CMAP effect
Heynen doesn't expect any big market share swings in 2011, so it would seem likely that Cisco and Harmonic will stay at atop their respective heaps.
However, cable's migration to the Converged Multiservice Access Platform (CMAP), a higher-density platform that combines CMTS and edge QAM functions, is "definitely an opportunity for a market-share shift," Heynen says, though he expects Cisco, Arris and Moto to play major roles.
But that's a longer-term opportunity for those incumbents as they look to jump up a rung. The same goes for emerging cable access players, such as Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), which is one of the vendors that's expected to develop a Packet Shelf product for the CMAP's more modular implementation. Arris and Motorola, by comparison, are expected to create integrated CMAPs that fuse the CMAP Access Shelf and Packet Shelf.
CMAP field trials aren't expected to begin until late 2011 or early 2012, with initial deployments possibly starting up sometime in 2012. (See Comcast Targets First CMAP Field Trial .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable