Incognito Steps Up

Cable equipment vendors aren't the only ones gearing up for the industry's upcoming transition to Docsis 3.0. Software providers are concocting their plans as well.

Take Incognito Software Inc. The Vancouver firm, which designs software for device provisioning and network resource management, has put together its own Docsis 3.0-IPv6 Interoperability Program. The idea is to enable equipment makers to test the provisioning of their new cable modems, cable modem termination systems (CMTSs), embedded multimedia terminal adapters (E-MTAs), set-top boxes, and other devices with different vendors.

In particular, Incognito officials want to come up with a uniform way to provision all the CMTSs from different vendors. That's because CMTSs will play a new role under the Docsis 3.0 spec, dynamically configuring and allocating IP addresses for cable modems, E-MTAs, and other gadgets in the subscriber's home.

Although all Docsis 3.0 gear will go through the same certification testing at Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) , beginning in the fall, that doesn't guarantee that all the hardware will be provisioned the same way. "There's typically a lot of wiggle room for interpretation," notes Patricia Steadman, co-founder and CEO of Incognito. "We decided to take the interpretation out of the equation."

Steadman points out that the industry ran into this pesky problem with PacketCable equipment, with each vendor requiring different provisioning support. "Everybody implements their hybrid solution differently," she says. "It really slows down the adoption process."

Incognito, which has already started working with Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), is now looking to sign up Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and about seven other key equipment vendors for its interoperability program. Plans call for staging the first interop event in Vancouver sometime in December. So pack your rain gear, folks.

— Alan Breznick, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

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