Korean MSO Takes Wideband Upstream
The latest operator to go prime time with a wideband upstream is SK Broadband of South Korea, which is bonding four upstream channels using Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS)'s flagship cable modem termination system (CMTS), the C4, and the vendor's WBM760 wideband cable modems. (See SK Broadband, Arris Take Wideband Upstream.)
Update: Arris confirmed that SK Broadband is not currently using the WBM760 modem for the upstream channel bonding service deployment, and is indeed using modems from Korean supplier Netwave.
Arris, which still hasn't obtained "Silver" or "Full" CMTS qualification (which includes the upstream channel bonding feature) from CableLabs , claims SK's installation marks the first "regional" high-speed Internet deployment to employ four bonded upstream channels, giving the ISP the opportunity to offer shared speeds in excess of 100 Mbit/s.
The deployment solidifies SK Broadband as an early adopter of emerging cable technologies. Earlier this year, the company inserted a CMTS "bypass" architecture to deliver IPTV services. In that scenario, the operator pipes in IP video through Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) edge QAMs instead of through the core Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) CMTS. (See SK Broadband Goes for IPTV .)
Although SK Broadband is early to the wideband channel bonding game, it's not the first. In March, Japan Cablenet Ltd. announced it would bond both upstream and downstream channels with the debut of its "Speed Star 160" service. However, Japan Cablenet started off by bonding two upstream channels, though it could do up to four with a CMTS software update. (See Japan Cablenet Swims Upstream .)
With upstream channel bonding starting to make its mark in Asia/Pacific, it's still a guessing game as to when it might take off in North America. Earlier this month, Arris director of product management Steven Krapp predicted that the technique might not become become "commonplace" until 2011. (See Is Wideband's Upstream Ready to Go Mainstream? )
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News