CableLabs Cheers Casa Chassis

CableLabs has awarded “Full” Docsis 3.0 as well as PacketCable 1.5 qualification to a new cable modem termination system (CMTS) chassis from Casa Systems Inc. that, the vendor claims, is fully redundant -- a requirement for most cable-fed VoIP services.

That product, dubbed the C10200, will do the competitive tango with carrier-class CMTS chassis from Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT).

Chasing the CMTS chassis

So far, Casa Systems, a startup based in Andover, Mass., is the only CMTS vendor to obtain the coveted Full Docsis 3.0 qualification designation from CableLabs. Other CMTS vendors, including Arris, Cisco, and Motorola, have yet to get past the “Bronze” level, which includes features such as downstream channel bonding and IPv6. Silver qualification adds in upstream channel bonding, and Full (obviously) includes everything covered in the Docsis 3.0 specs.

CableLabs granted Full Docsis 3.0 qualification to Casa Systems’s C10200 CMTS following Wave 64. Two other Casa Systems CMTS models -- the C2200 and the C3200 -- obtained Full Docsis 3.0 qualification in previous test waves. Here's an updated list of CMTSs that have gained the Docsis 3.0 stamp:

Table 2: Docsis 3.0-Qualified Cable Modem Termination Systems (CMTSs)
 Vendor    Product    Wave qualified    Highest level of 3.0 qualification achieved*  
Arris C4 CMTS 56 Bronze
Casa Systems C2200 CMTS** 58 Full
Casa Systems C3200 CMTS 58 Full
Casa Systems C10200 64 Full
Cisco uBR10012 56 Bronze
Motorola BSR64000 58 Bronze
* CableLabs presently uses a tiered CMTS qualification system, awarding "Bronze," "Silver," and "Full" designations based on the product's supported features. That tiered system is expected to sunset in early 2009.
** Casa's C2200 CMTS won Silver qualification in Wave 56.
Source: The companies and CableLabs.

CableLabs has not officially announced it, but it’s expected that the Louisville, Colo.-based R&D house will sunset the Bronze qualification level early next year, meaning CMTS vendors will have to shoot for Silver or better in subsequent test waves.

How much good obtaining Full qualification will do for Casa Systems remains to be seen. The vendor has yet to announce any trials or deployments, which has caused some (us, for instance) to wonder if the company could become a coveted acquisition target for an existing CMTS vendor or a more established supplier that is looking to attack the Docsis 3.0 sector head-on as MSOs around the world start to deploy wideband Internet services.

But, according to Casa Systems CEO Jerry Guo, his company does have some deals cooking, and expects to announce “several deployments” in short order. “We are not qualifying [CMTSs] just for the fun of it... We are deploying [CMTSs] in very large scale,” Guo noted in an email to Cable Digital News.

Orient Telecom joins the Docsis 3.0 club
The cable modem side of Docsis 3.0 welcomed a new certified vendor -- Orient Telecom, a South Korea-based company that got the stamp for a model that CableLabs lists as the “ORT3100.”

SMC Networks Inc. also won Docsis 3.0 certification in Wave 64 for the SMCD3G-BIZ, a four-port Ethernet cable modem gateway with an 802.11n option. Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) also got the OK for an embedded multimedia terminal adapter (E-MTA). Fourteen modem models have obtained Docsis 3.0 certification through Wave 64. Here’s an updated list:

Table 1: Docsis 3.0-Certified Modems and E-MTAs
 Vendor    Product    Certification Wave approved  
Ambit U10C035 58, 63**
Arris Touchstone 702G Embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapter 58, 59*, 63**
Arris WBM750A 59, 63**
Cisco DPC3000 58, 63**
Cisco DPQ3202 60, 63**
Hitron BRG-35503 61, 63**
Motorola SB6120 58, 63**
Motorola SBV6220 58, 59*, 63**
Netgear CMD31T 60, 63**
Netgear CVD31XT 64
Orient Telecom ORT3100 64
SerComm Corp. FM301T 63
SMC SMCD3CM 58, 63**
*Device re-certified for Docsis 3.0 and obtained initial PacketCable 1.5 certification in Wave 59.
** Device re-certified for Docsis 3.0 in Wave 63.
Source: CableLabs and the companies

According to the latest CableLabs schedule, Certification Wave 65 will begin in mid-January, with published results expected by mid-April.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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