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Cable/Video

Casa Systems Inc.

COMPANY: Casa Systems Inc.

MARKET SEGMENT: Next-generation cable modem termination systems (CMTSs) and edge QAMs. Both types of device look to factor in to MSO deployments of Docsis 3.0 and switched digital video (SDV).

LOCATION: Andover, Mass.

HEADCOUNT: 50-plus

FORMED: Late 2003

FINANCING: Has not disclosed figures, but so far has been limited to angel investors and investments from company founders. Casa Systems has not closed a traditional series A round. SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) is one of the disclosed investors in Casa.

WHAT IT DOES: Early on, the company focused on edge QAM devices, but later evolved product that incorporates a complete CMTS that supports Docsis 3.0, a CableLabs spec that will add IPv6 and enlist channel bonding techniques to produce shared speeds in excess of 100 Mbit/s.

In addition to supporting the emerging modular CMTS architecture, which will enable operators to scale upstream and downstream capacity independently, Casa's approach also allows for integrated CMTS architectures. Tied to these efforts, the company is championing the concept of delivering IP video over the Docsis infrastructure. A demo of that idea, conducted by Casa Systems competitor Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT), recently got rave reviews at the CableLabs Summer Conference. (See Harmonic's Bright Idea .)

Another goal of Casa's is to develop a 1-Gbit/s Docsis-based system that is competitive with PON from both a performance and economic basis.

CUSTOMERS: Casa Systems, true to its stealthy approach, has not revealed any by name, but company people tells us they are "working" (via trial or deployment) with three of the top five MSOs in the U.S., which, in order, are: Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications Inc. , Charter Communications Inc. , and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC). It has also scored some deals with operators in Europe and Asia, but those, too, have not been disclosed.

PARTNERSHIPS: Casa Systems has announced SeaChange as a distribution partner for video edge QAM products. It has other distributors that have not yet been revealed.

COMPETITORS: For CMTSs, primary competition comes from Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND). For edge QAMs, competitors include Harmonic, Arris, Cisco, BigBand, Motorola, Scientific Atlanta , C-COR Corp. (Nasdaq: CCBL), RGB Networks Inc. , Tandberg Television , and Vecima Networks Inc. (Toronto: VCM).

MANAGEMENT:
  • Jerry Guo, President & CEO – Before founding Casa, Jerry was the vice president of broadband technologies at RiverDelta Networks, a CMTS startup that Motorola purchased for $300 million in 2001.
  • Beyond Guo, Casa has been secretive about the rest of its executive makeup. The "team" section on its Website mentions only that the startup has former execs and engineers from companies such as RiverDelta, Harmonic, Cisco, Lucent, and Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR).

    WHAT TO WATCH: Industry observers, including some top cable MSO engineers, believe Casa Systems will be the first (and possibly only) CMTS vendor to submit a product for "Full" qualification this October when CableLabs begins the first wave of official Docsis 3.0 certification and qualification testing. We will also be on the lookout for Casa to disclose additional channel partners and possibly a Series A round. Because Casa Systems is a small company with few deployments so far, this might also make it a coveted acquisition target among vendors that covet its next-generation technologies.

    RECENT NEWS: — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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