Arris Brings D3.1 Modem to Retail

Despite some initial delays, Arris is jumping into the retail market for DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems with its latest modem model.

Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), a leading player in the emerging wholesale market for DOCSIS 3.1 modems and other gear, announced that it's now offering its SB8200 modem directly to consumers and businesses through both its own online store and Amazon.com. The modem, which was certified by CableLabs last June, lists on the Amazon site as an Amazon Prime product for $199.99 but is reported to be temporarily out of stock right now. Arris says the modem will soon be available at other retailers as well. (See Arris Bags Ruckus Assets in $800M Deal.)

In an interesting side note on the Amazon site, Arris says that the modem has been approved for use by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Cox Communications Inc. so far. Further, on its own site, Arris says that the modem is pending approval by Charter Communications Inc. and other MSOs, which it doesn't name.

Comcast has been steadily rolling out DOCSIS 3.1 in markets throughout the US since last spring. But Cox, which has been testing D3.1, has not yet announced when it will start rolling out the next-gen cable broadband spec. And Charter has said next to nothing about its DOCSIS 3.1 plans so far.

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It's not yet clear how much of a retail market there will be for DOCSIS 3.1 modems and gateways. But at least two other major equipment vendors are banking on a market developing. Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) is already selling a D3.1 modem for $179.99, while Linksys announced at CES last month that it plans to start selling a D3.1 modem for $199.99 by April.

Like other initial DOCSIS 3.1 modems, Arris' SB8200 model also supports the older DOCSIS 3.0 spec. The SB8200 features two gigabit Ethernet ports, 32 download and eight upload SC-QAM channels for D3.0 channel bonding, two download OFDM and two upload OFDMA channels for D3.1 capability and support for both IPv4 and IPv6.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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