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Cable Tech

Technetix jumps in to bridge Cisco's 'GainMaker' gap

ATX Networks, you have company.

Taking aim at a cable amplifier business being left behind by Cisco that is now being pursued by ATX, Technetix has launched a new drop-in amp that, it claims, is compatible with Cisco's soon-to-be-discontinued "GainMaker" module.

Technetix's new DBT-1800C Gamechanger (an update to the vendor's DBT-1200C) is an amplifier plug-in for the Cisco GainMaker amp. That product is surfacing as operators mull a path forward from Cisco's GainMaker platform and consider spectrum upgrades designed to beef up their upstream capacity and begin to prepare the network for DOCSIS 4.0.

While many operators are considering upgrading GainMakers to 1.2GHz, Technetix's latest wares enable MSOs to future-proof up to 1.8GHz, as it supports Extended Spectrum DOCSIS, according to Technetix founder and CEO Paul Broadhurst.

"This gives them [cable operators] next-gen," said Broadhurst. Technetix, he adds, intends to use the new Gamechanger to target a legacy market with millions of GainMakers. He estimates that about 40% of the market uses Cisco equipment.

"We're taking advantage of the opportunity that Cisco leaving the market has opened up," Broadhurst said.

Technetix likens its approach to a "basket replacement," as it allows the operator to remove the legacy GainMaker module and drop in Technetix's updated module.

Broadhurst claims that the new Gamechanger, designed to be remotely controlled and configured with a mobile phone or tablet, is 100%-compatible with Cisco's GainMaker.

Technetix expects to start sampling its new Gamechanger products in the fourth quarter, start trials in December, and roll them out commercially in the first half of 2021, according to Jan Ariesen, Technetix's chief technology officer.

Competition for ATX

Technetix is entering the fray as Cisco effectively exits the cable amp business – Cisco set a deadline of October 15, 2020, as the final day it will take orders for GainMaker amps, though buyers can extend or renew service contracts on those Cisco products through January 13, 2025.

While those end-of-life notices initially were cause for concern for cable operators, ATX Networks recently stepped up to develop and launch a lineup of next-generation cable amplifiers that are compatible with Cisco's GainMaker technology. In preparation to take over Cisco's cable amp business, ATX recently set a distribution deal with Colorado-based Digicomm International that covers ATX's GigaXtend GMC amps, including new 1.2GHz amps and line extenders that are compatible with Cisco's GainMaker product line.

Technetix's move represents a new competitive wrinkle for ATX, as both vendors are now poised to pursue the cable amplifier market that Cisco is in the process of leaving behind.

Technetix made its announcement to coincide with the SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo, which gets underway today (Monday) via a digital/virtual model and runs through this Thursday (October 15).

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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