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Arris Enters RFoG Fray

Cable vendor enters an increasingly crowded RF-over-Glass market and introduces a range of other digital video and Docsis products

Jeff Baumgartner

March 2, 2009

3 Min Read
Arris Enters RFoG Fray

Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) is entering the Radio Frequency Over Glass (RFoG) market, with the FTTMax 1000, a module that handles the optical-to-electrical signal conversions at the side of the home or commercial building. (See Moto, Alloptic Tag-Team on RFoG .) The move into that crowded RFoG pool comes nearly a month after Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) jumped in via a deal with Alloptic Inc.

Arris's FTTMax 1000 will supply an optical output for different flavors of PON should MSOs want to add bandwidth to their RFoG deployments later on. (See RFoG Gets the Squeeze.)

"RF over Glass is just an early step," says Bill Dawson, VP of business development and product strategy at Arris, noting that EPON and GPON add-ons will allow operators to extend the life of their RFoG investments.

Dawson said Arris's new entry will be available for trials starting in March.

Tuned to video convergence
Arris has also shed some more light on its video software and hardware plans now that its reseller arrangement with Verivue Inc. is locked and loaded. (See Arris, Verivue Formalize Deal , Verivue Surfaces With Comcast Backing , and Arris Pumps Up Video With Dolce's Verivue .)

Although Arris's next-gen video strategy will lean heavily on Verivue's new Flash-based storage/switch combo, it also isn't about to throw out the VoD server and software it acquired from C-COR. (See Arris Acquires C-COR and Arris Sews Up C-COR.)

The n4 and n5 servers will live on, but Arris said it has adapted them for deployments in central and regional portions of an operator's network, where the larger libraries tend to reside in newer, hierarchical video delivery architectures.

These "origin" servers, marketed under the Arris XMS umbrella, are outfitted for high storage-to-streaming ratios (for between 200 and 200,000 individual streams) and can house different types of solid state or disk-based storage elements, including Flash, RAM, and SATA drives, according to Paul Delzio, Arris's director of marketing and business development.

Arris will use the Verivue Flash-based switch (relabeled the Arris MDX under the reseller deal) closer to the network edge where higher streaming-to-storage ratios are required. Delzio says the MDX can handle up to 50,000 standard-definition streams.

All of that gear will be placed under a new "ConvergeMedia" suite, which also houses Arris's on-demand management and reporting systems, advanced advertising products, and device applications.

Docsis 3.0 update
Arris also has a few new items cooking in the Docsis pot. In addition to talking up the C4c, a more compact "sister" of its flagship C4 cable modem termination system (CMTS) for smaller operators it touched on last month, the vendor is also working on a new version of its D5 "universal" edge QAM. (See Arris Plays Small[er] Ball .)

For starters, the new "3.0" hardware release of the D5, a device that can share bandwidth among digital video and Docsis applications, will be denser than its predecessor -- offering up to 192 channels in the same two-rack-unit footprint. The original D5 could do 48 channels.

In addition to a 400 percent density improvement, the new version is greener because it reduces per-channel power consumption by 50 percent, says Derek Elder, Arris's SVP of product strategy. Arris expects to begin offering the new release by this July.

Elsewhere, Arris also introduced ServAssure Advanced, a network service management upgrade designed to take on the added complexities of cable's speedier Docsis 3.0 platform.

Docsis 3.0 "is really a new service. It's not as straightforward as… Docsis 2.0," says Bryant Isaacs, president of Arris's media communications systems division. Wideband services, he notes, require network management systems to absorb and distill more data in order to help MSOs distinguish whether capacity- or quality-related issues are occurring on the network or on the home-side modem.

Issacs confirms that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), an MSO that expects to have 65 percent of its network enabled for Docsis 3.0 by year's end, is using the ServAssure Advanced product. (See Comcast Sets Wideband Goal and Comcast Widens Wideband Footprint .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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