Cable Tech

CableLabs Stamps SMC, C-COR

CableLabs certified an embedded multimedia terminal adapter (EMTA) from SMC Networks Inc. and qualified a policy server from C-COR Corp. (Nasdaq: CCBL), marking another light round of product testing by North American cable's R&D house in its Certification Wave 50.

Though only two products obtained approvals in the most recent round of product tests, activity should pick up this fall, when vendors start to submit equipment for testing against Docsis 3.0, an advanced spec that will push data speeds above 100 Mbit/s.

During the latest Wave, CableLabs awarded PacketCable 1.5 and Docsis 2.0 certification to the SMC8414WG EZ Connect, an embedded MTA that houses an Ethernet port and a USB port for Internet traffic and two ports for IP-based telephony services. SMC said it will make the new model available to cable operators in June, noting that the model is outfitted for residential use as well as small-office/home-office environments.

C-COR, meanwhile, obtained PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) qualification for the latest version of its Policy Service Manager. C-COR originally won PCMM qualification following Wave 34.

PCMM is an emerging architecture that applies quality of service to traditional high-speed Internet services, as well as a range of other IP-based applications, including voice, video, and gaming. Cox Communications Inc. , for example, is using PCMM as the basis for a "Speed Preview" application that allows customers to try out different cable modem service tiers. (See Cox Deploys Camiant.)

Other policy server vendors that have obtained the PCMM stamp include CableMatrix Technologies Inc. , Camiant Inc. , Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) , Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE), Telcordia Technologies Inc. , and Tazz Networks, which is now part of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Cisco Tangos With Tazz.) CableLabs has also awarded PCMM qualification to three CMTS makers: Cisco, BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND), and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT).

The results from Cert Wave 50 follow a similarly light Wave 49, which produced certifications for an EMTA from Motorola and a cable modem from Scientific Atlanta .

The situation should change later this year, as modem, MTA, and cable modem termination system (CMTS) suppliers gear up for the expected, initial round of official Docsis 3.0 testing.

In a bid to put those products on a faster track, CableLabs has introduced a tiered testing scheme that should make it easier for CMTS vendors to obtain Docsis 3.0 qualifications before having to support all requirements of the spec. (See CableLabs Accelerates Docsis 3.0 Testing .)

While CMTS suppliers eventually will need to support the bulk of Docsis 3.0 to obtain the "Full" designation, it's believed that many initially will focus on two features -- downstream channel bonding and IPv6 -- for a "Bronze" level qualification. Gaining the "Silver" stamp will require CMTS gear to also support upstream channel bonding and the Advanced Encryption System (AES).

Motorola and Cisco already have said they expect to submit their flagship CMTS products for Bronze qualification testing later this year. (See Go for the Bronze! )

If getting CMTS and modem equipment in for official Docsis 3.0 testing by the fourth quarter of 2007 remains the stated goal, Certification Wave 56 looks to be the most likely candidate for a "rallying point" for vendors. According to the latest schedule published by CableLabs, CMTSs and modems for that Wave will be due the first week of October, with results expected by early-to-mid December.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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