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Optical/IP

Meet Huawei's New Cable Guy

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has again tapped someone from inside the U.S. cable ranks to take the technical helm of its cable MSO strategy.

Frank Miller, the former chief technology officer of BendBroadband in Oregon, joined the China-based giant last month in the role of CTO (MSO), where he'll take on the task of helping Huawei develop products for the North American cable industry, Light Reading Cable has learned.

Miller is the second cable vet to take the post. The first, Christopher Skarica, left earlier this year to join Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) as account VP, strategic accounts for Canada. (See Arris Pulls Exec From Huawei .)

Miller comes to Huawei after six years with BendBroadband, a Tier 2 MSO that's known for being out in front of cable's technology curve, being among the first operators to roll out hybrid QAM/IP video gateway and to deploy its own wireless network. (See Ericsson at the Core of BendBroadband's HSPA+ Tilt and Arris IDs Its First Video Gateway Customer .)

The addition of Miller gives Huawei a guy who knows his way around cable technology and has some sway in the industry. He's coming on board as Huawei looks to expand its cable presence and will likely try to tickle MSO interest with gear that can undercut its competitors.

The vendor hasn't made many MSO deployment announcements, but Suddenlink Communications has been using Huawei optical gear and its line of Digital Terminal Adapter (DTA) devices, which are one-way digital-to-analog converter boxes that operators are using in tandem with analog reclamation strategies. Huawei also won a key role for Cox Communications Inc. 's wireless network build, which was scrubbed earlier this year. (See Cox Chucks Wireless Network Plan, Huawei DTAs Break In at Suddenlink , Huawei Takes On US Set-Top Market and Cox, Huawei Make Wireless Connection .)

At recent cable events, Huawei's shown off a more complete line of customer premises equipment, including Docsis modems, voice modems, gateways and set-top boxes. (See Huawei Expands Its Cable CPE Universe.)

Miller says Huawei is also positioned now to help MSOs out on the network, as well, with its lineup of routers and content delivery network (CDN) products. Huawei, he adds, is particularly interested in pitching MSOs on cable-tailored gear that complies with Docsis Provisioning over Ethernet (DPoE), a new CableLabs spec that lets MSOs graft their Docsis OSS and provisioning systems to EPON networks that are being deployed to serve business customers. (See Docsis Gets Its EPON On.)

Huawei is also investing in strand-mounted wireless base stations, a cable segment that's showing lots of potential as MSOs install their own Wi-Fi networks and backhaul systems. And that's an obvious heads-up to the segment's current crop of competitors: BelAir Networks Inc. , Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ruckus Wireless Inc. , Motorola Mobility LLC (a BelAir reseller) and Arris (a Ruckus reseller).

Miller says he will be talking to MSOs of all sizes in North America and has already met with a number of key accounts. For now, he's still based in the Pacific Northwest, but notes that Huawei will be opening up locations dedicated to its cable efforts. "We're looking for 2012 to open that up. I've got to walk before I run," he says.

Huawei won't say how many of its people are dedicated to cable, but it currently has about 1,500 employees in the U.S., a market that has been somewhat reluctant to accept Huawei in some sensitive wireless projects due to government national security concerns. (See US Blocks Huawei LTE Bid and US Gets Worried About Huawei .)

Given the kind of domestic challenges Huawei is facing, Miller acknowledges that a big part of his new job will be "listening and establishing trust" with cable MSOs. "But I think all doors are open."

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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