Cable modem/CMTS

Motorola Doubles Up on CMTS Downstreams

Motorola Mobility LLC says it's doubling the capacity of the TX32, its dedicated downstream cable modem termination system (CMTS) blade, using a software upgrade that's expected out in the third or fourth quarter of 2012.

MSOs that employ the upgrade, called TXPlus, will be able to expand blade capacities from 32 downstream ports to 64, meaning a loaded BSR 64000, Moto's flagship CMTS, can support 768 downstream channels and 576 upstream channels, or 384x288 in CMTS deployments that set aside blades for redundancy. Moto will let cable operators unlock that capacity using a license, says Floyd Wagoner, director of product marketing for Motorola's network infrastructure solutions group.

The upgrade essentially lights up the remaining four capacity modules on the card that have been sitting latent. Motorola gained key pieces of that technology through its 2006 acquisition of Broadband Innovations. Moto's coupling the blade upgrades with the debut of the SRM 10G, a new ingest card for the CMTS that sports two 10-Gig Ethernet ports, good for 20Gbit/s of ingest. (See Moto Buys RF Tech.)

The downstream card expansion is one of a slew of announcements Moto made ahead of next week's The Cable Show in Boston. Among them, Moto has also added a Downstream External PHY Interface (DEPI) interface to its Apex 3000 edge QAM. That will let Moto sell the device to MSOs that use a modular CMTS approach that decouples the upstream and downstream capacity using the CMTS for the upstream and separate edge QAMs for the downstreams. This would give Moto's edge QAM a vector into some systems that use gear from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), still the only vendor that's developed a modular CMTS. (See The Cable Show 2012: To Docsis 3.0 & Beyond! )

Why this matters
The new densities get Motorola closer to those required by the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), a next-gen cable architecture that combines the CMTS and edge QAM functions. But the upgrades also give Moto's existing BSR 64000 chassis some extra runway while it develops its integrated CCAP product.

Moto's pay-as-you-go licensing approach with the software upgrade mimics CMTS blade upgrade models that have been put into place by Moto rivals Cisco and Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS).

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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