Cable modem/CMTS

Hitron Breaks the Docsis 3.0 Barrier

Hitron Technologies Inc. has become the seventh cable modem vendor to obtain Docsis 3.0 certification, according to a recently-updated list (PDF) of certified products on the CableLabs Website.

The site notes that the Taiwan-based vendor obtained certification for a stand-alone modem called the BRG-35503 following Certification Wave 61. [Ed note: We'll publish an updated list of Docsis 3.0 certified/qualified products momentarily.] All Docsis 3.0-certified cable modems must feature the entire suite of specifications, which includes support for IPv6 and the ability to bond at least four upstream channels and four downstream channels -- enough to produce shared speeds in excess of 100 Mbit/s. Cable modem termination system (CMTS) vendors can still obtain Docsis 3.0 qualification via a tiered system that went into effect last year, but is expected to sunset sometime in 2009. (See CableLabs Accelerates Docsis 3.0 Testing .)

Hitron officials were not available Monday for comment, but industry observers say the company has not had much luck penetrating the U.S. cable sector so far, though it appears be poised to make some progress with Docsis 3.0 among European MSOs as operators there trial and deploy faster Wideband services. The challenge faced by Hitron will be developing a support organization that meets MSO requirements, an industry source notes. Regardless, Hitron's certification and market entry could apply pricing pressure on leading Docsis modem vendors such as Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT).

Hitron announced its entry to the Docsis 3.0 cable market in early March. According to an industry source, Hitron originally developed the Docsis 3.0 modem design for Royal Philips Electronics N.V. (NYSE: PHG; Amsterdam: PHI) , which later sold its set-top and "connectivity" division to Pace Micro Technology . (See Pace Shoots for STB Stardom and Pace Tweaks Philips STB Deal .) Although Pace bakes Docsis technology into some of its digital cable set-top products, the company is not pushing Docsis-powered voice modems or stand-alone data-only modem products, so it appears that Hitron will be tackling the Docsis 3.0 modem market alone.

In Wave 61, CableLabs also awarded PacketCable 1.5 and Docsis 2.0 certification to the Cisco DPQ2202, an embedded multimedia terminal adapter (EMTA) that supports both high-speed Internet and voice services. According to the latest schedule, Wave 62 is already underway and results should be known by mid-September.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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