Cable Tech

Calling Docsis 3.0

Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) has not awarded certification to any Docsis 3.0 modems yet, but one of cable's key suppliers, Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), is already setting its sights on a next-gen device that will support shared 160 Mbit/s downstream speeds as well as cable-fed VOIP services. (See Cisco, Arris & Casa Make the CableLabs Grade.)

While most of the industry's eyes were fixed on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, Arris introduced the Touchstone TM702 Embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapter (E-MTA), a two-line VOIP device that follows in the wake of Arris's stand-alone WBM750 "Wideband" Docsis 3.0-based modem. (See Arris Intros EMTA & Modems .)

Arris, whose C4 cable modem termination system (CMTS) just won "Bronze" Docsis 3.0 qualification, said its decision to intro the new consumer-side combo unit follows an "inflection point" in the third quarter of last year in which global E-MTA shipments exceeded those for data-only modems.

It's also not a bad move from a strategy standpoint for Arris, which has had more success selling bullet-proof EMTAs than it has with stand-alone Docsis modems. Through the first half of last year, Arris owned 47 percent of the EMTA market, well ahead of Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s 27 percent, according to Heavy Reading data. Motorola, meanwhile, led the way with 38 percent of the general cable modem category. Arris was fifth, with a 3.1 percent share. (See Modem Shipments Eclipse Old Record.)

A Docsis 3.0 EMTA will also service cable's service-bundling strategy better than an isolated device that only does high-speed data. But it's expected that most operators will begin to ramp up their 3.0 trials and deployments with stand-alone units because they will be the first to become available.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Docsis 3.0 Strategies: From Product Development to Service Deployment, a conference that will take a comprehensive look at the cable industry's plans to roll out its next-generation architecture around the world. To be staged in Denver, March 19, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.

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