CEO Chat With Jerry Guo, Casa Systems

Comparing competitors

SS: Let's talk about competitors' products versus your products. If you take your C100G chassis and you look at it versus Cisco's product, people have told me that you don't actually have as full a feature set. So how have you managed to sell it into accounts where Cisco has got what on the face of it might look like a more full featured product?

JG: Let me just compare the features from several categories. The first category is the DOCSIS features. We have better DOCSIS. Second is the CCAP, especially the video feature. We're the only one deployed and we support EDIS, which is the Time Warner type of video control system, and it will also support the NGOD video control system. We have both the privacy mode encryption (PME) and the PowerKey encryption (PKE) and we also provide a European encryption option (DVB Simulcrypt). We have the fullest video support compared to anybody and we are the only one deployed with video at Time Warner in New York City with both the VOD and SDV.

And then the third category is the router features. We have a complete routing protocol set. We not only do the regular RIP, OSPF, and BGP, we do everything in IPV4 and IPV6. We do ISIS as well and we do PIM [Protocol Independent Multicast] for our multicast. On top of that we have both the Layer 2 VPN MPLS as well as the Layer 3 VPN MPLS. That actually enabled us to win a few accounts. We have a very complete routing feature set.

I couldn't say that we are short of any features for cable operators in routing. We're really not short compared to others. I would say that we have the most complete feature set compared to the other products on the market today.

SS: Do you have to compete on price?

JG: First, we are not a low-price provider.

SS: You're not aiming to be the cheapest.

JG: No, we're not. And second, we stay competitive commercially. We are talking about total cost of ownership. We win a lot of the deals but we lose some deals, as well. But it's usually a very complex decision. For major operators, it's about whether you satisfy the business needs in terms of features, in terms of the direction they are going, and also in terms of the reliability of the system, the high availability and also how comfortable they are with the team support. Can they count on you to resolve issues when things happen? Very complicated, but it's never a price decision for us, at least.

SS: Let's talk about Time Warner, because that's really a revolutionary deployment.

JG: Absolutely, yes.

SS: What did you learn during that? What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?

JG: We have learned a great deal because that's the very first full CCAP deployment. First I have to say Time Warner has been a great partner. This deployment has to be based on a very strong partnership. It cannot be a regular vendor/customer relationship, because you are really creating a new paradigm. That partnership is the most important thing. Because we encounter -- during the whole certification, testing, design, implementation, deployment; the many different phases -- you always encounter issues. And the No. 1 rule is let's figure out how to resolve it, regardless of where the issue comes from.

SS: So there wasn't a lot of finger pointing.

JG: No. The way we conduct our business, regardless of whether it's our fault or not, with any customer, is: let's resolve the issues first. Then we figure out what the root cause is and how to avoid it. Another issue is that with these kind of new services, you have so many eggs in one basket. Redundancy is critical. That's why there's all those pretend CCAP systems that wouldn't work. You need the best high-availability system. You cannot afford to have this thing down.

Next page: The vision thing

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