The cable industry reached a key milestone last September, when two cable modems and two cable modem termination systems obtained the elusive DOCSIS 1.1 stamp from CableLabs. On top of that, CableLabs froze the specs for PacketCable, and plotted plans to begin PacketCable compliance testing this year–two moves that will open the door for Voice-over-Internet Protocol and other packet-based, multimedia applications and services.
While those two goals deserve their share of kudos, don't expect MSOs to begin ripping out their DOCSIS 1.0 stuff in favor of 1.1-compliant gear just yet. Instead, expect some of the larger MSOs to make a graceful migration to the more advanced equipment in anticipation of offering VoIP and data tiering in a few markets late in the year.
Today, a variety of cable operators are in the middle of evaluating CMTSs based on or upgradeable to DOCSIS 1.1. For instance, Cox Communications has already selected ADC Telecommunications' Cuda 12000 and Motorola Broadband's BSR 64000.
As Cox Senior Vice President of Technology Development and Chief Technology Officer Chris Bowick told CED late last year: "The drive [in 2002] will be toward 1.1, but I don't think we'll have all, or nothing but, 1.1-compliant CMTSs out there. That certainly would not be the goal."
Meanwhile, Adelphia Communications also has started to deploy the Cuda 12000 in some western systems in anticipation of offering VoIP and tiered data services.
Out on a limb: In an effort to dilate cable's upstream and to mitigate noise, we'll see at least one CMTS and two cable modems get the green light for DOCSIS 2.0 by the end of the year, provided vendors figure out how to address A-TDMA and S-CDMA in the same bundle of silicon. Why? Industry experts insist that a shift from DOCSIS 1.1 to 2.0 doesn't represent the technology and testing quantum leap that the jump from DOCSIS 1.0 to 1.1 required.