Cable modem/CMTS

M-CMTS: Turning Japanese

Judging by the public disclosures so far, the bulk of deployment activity involving the modular cable modem termination system (M-CMTS) appears to be occurring outside U.S. borders.

The latest example of this trend was revealed Thursday when BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND) said three Japan-based cable operators -- Cable Networks Akita Co. Ltd., Hino Cable Television Inc., and Bay Communications Inc. -- were deploying the modular version of the Cuda CMTS, coupled with some channel bonding techniques that will push shared downstream speeds to 120 Mbit/s.

The largest cable MSO in Japan, Jupiter Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (J:COM) , has already teamed with BigBand CMTS rival Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) to deploy some pre-Docsis 3.0 technologies, but has not said much yet about plans involving the M-CMTS, although Arris has said its legacy base can be migrated to the modular architecture. (See Japanese MSO Moves 160 Mbit/s.)

One benefit of the M-CMTS is it gives operators the ability to separate the Docsis downstream and upstream and scale them independently. Ops that use the technique can therefore buy capacity where they need it instead of having to purchase upstream and downstream together.

As for BigBand -- a company that is looking to increase its CMTS share and grapple with market leaders such as Arris, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) -- much is riding on its M-CMTS and Docsis 3.0 strategies as operators mull whether to jump to the next level with their installed vendors or give a shot to some new blood.

BigBand has also notched some M-CMTS success earlier this year via a deployment with Dutch MSO N.V. Multikabel and has previously acknowledged an M-CMTS trial relationship with Austria-based Liwest Kabelmedien GmbH . (See BigBand Goes Dutch With M-CMTS.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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