Cable modem/CMTS

Pace Crashes Data Gateway Market

Seeking to expand its influence in the North American cable equipment market, Pace is jumping into the broadband data space with three new DOCSIS 3.0-powered wireless gateways.

Pace plc , which has focused previously on cable and satellite TV set-top boxes and home video gateways in North America, unveiled the three new data gateways at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo show in Denver late last month. Supported by silicon from Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), the three gateways include high-end, mid-range and low-end models. But all three models feature the latest dual-band WiFi capabilities, making them all suitable for community WiFi initiatives that set up two hotspots -- one private and one public -- in each customer location. (See Pace Boasts Stronger Than Expected Gains.)

With the move, Pace, which bought Aurora Networks for $310 million earlier this year, is taking on such powers in the crowded cable broadband space as Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Hitron Technologies Inc. , Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) and SMC Networks Inc. But in spite of the late start, Pace officials think they can make decent headway into the market because of their cable experience, the performance of their DOCSIS data gateways in Europe and strong demand for data products from their North American MSO customers.

"It's difficult to say how much market share we can capture," said Ashley Glover, VP of Marketing and Communications at Pace Americas. "But we think we certainly have the credentials to bring to the party."

Pace executives are also eyeing the emerging market for DOCSIS 3.1 customer premises equipment (CPE). So don't be surprised to see the company start churning out D3.1 gateways and possibly other products as early as next year, as the market for the cable industry's next-gen spec starts to develop.

"We're looking at DOCSIS 3.1," Glover said. "We're looking at leveraging our experience through the networks we have. Then we're looking further into the home."

Want to know more about the market for DOCSIS equipment? Check out our dedicated DOCSIS content channel here on Light Reading.

The three new DOCSIS 3.0 gateways definitely establish a market foothold for greater expansion. The high-end gateway, known as the D5001 Ultra Gateway, can bond up to 24 channels downstream and eight channels upstream. As a result, cable operators that deploy it will be able to deliver downstream speeds as high as 960 Mbit/s. The device also features support for the MoCA 2.0 home networking standard and 802.11 n/ac WiFi functionality.

The mid-range gateway, the D3001 Max Gateway, can bond up to 16 channels downstream and four channels upstream, which means cable providers will be able to deliver downstream speed bursts as high as 640 Mbit/s. Like the Ultra Gateway, the Max version also supports MoCA 2.0 and 802.11 n/ac WiFi.

The low-end model, the D3003 Advanced Gateway, can bond up to 16 channels downstream and four channels upstream and supports 802.11 n/ac, like the Max Gateway. But unlike the Ultra and Max Gateways, it doesn't support MoCA 2.0.

Pace said all three gateways are compatible with TiVo systems and fully integrated into the vendor's Whole Home Architecture, which also includes the MGi Multi-Tuner Video Gateway and Mi3 client devices. Pace is now shipping TiVo-equipped set-tops to five MSO customers. (See TiVo, Pace Team on Cable Gateway.)

While Pace has not received any orders for the wireless gateways yet, it said it has started trials with "a select number of MSOs in North America," which it didn't name. It expects the products to become initially available in November and generally available early next year.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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