Four Break the DOCSIS 1.1 Barrier
Widening the door for advanced cable-based services and applications such as packetized voice, two cable modem manufacturers and two cable modem termination system vendors on Sept. 27 became the first to pass CableLabs' test for the DOCSIS 1.1 specification.
Following a revamped effort for automated testing routines and an "ongoing" wave of DOCSIS 1.1 testing, CableLabs said it concluded certification wave 19 by handing out passing grades to Toshiba's "PCX2500" cable modem model, Texas Instruments Inc.'s cable modem reference design and CMTS gear from Arris Group Inc. and Cadant Inc.
Other vendors that submitted equipment for DOCSIS 1.1 certification and qualification in the most recent wave included 3Com, Ambit Microsystems, Askey, Cisco Systems Inc., Conexant Systems, Ericsson, Tellabs, Joohong, Motorola Broadband Communications Sector, Samsung, Terayon, Thomson Consumer Electronics, ADC Telecommunications, RiverDelta Networks (now part of Motorola Broadband) and Riverstone Networks.
CableLabs noted that the certified 1.1 modems are compatible with existing DOCSIS 1.0 equipment and will be compatible with future versions of the specification, including DOCSIS 2.0, which is designed to mitigate noise and widen cable's upstream pipe.
Among other advancements, DOCSIS 1.1 provides the underlying quality of service platform for CableLabs' PacketCable infrastructure and CableHome initiative.
Certification wave 20 kicked off Oct. 22, with results expected on or around Dec. 21, according to CableLabs' most recent certification schedule.
It took CableLabs 28 months to go from specification to certification for the more advanced 1.1 spec. In comparison, it took a period of 33 months for that to happen for DOCSIS 1.0. CableLabs said it also ended certification wave 19 by stamping approvals on 29 modems and one CMTS (from Motorola) for DOCSIS 1.0. Overall, CableLabs has certified 178 modems and 24 CMTSs for DOCSIS 1.0.
The DOCSIS 1.1 green light is a boon for Cadant, which has concentrated its efforts solely on the advanced specification.
"It's what the company started with in 1999, and it's what we have focused on ever since," said a company spokesman, noting that Sunflower Broadband has deployed Cadant's "C4" CMTS, and that the start-up is engaged in voice and data activities with "major" North American MSOs. Also on the CMTS front, Arris' pizza box-sized "Cornerstone CMTS 1500" model was awarded qualification.
Gaining 1.1 certification is also promising news for TI, which is attempting to grab market share from Broadcom Corp. "We see this as a turning point for us," said Peter Percosan, director of strategy for the company's cable unit.
Specifically, TI's "TNET C405" reference design was certified, and will be marketed to third party manufacturers. Another set of TI silicon was used in Toshiba's PCX2500 model.
Toshiba is TI's only publicly announced partner for its 1.1 technology, but more partners are on the way. When asked if any of those include vendors that presently use Broadcom chipsets, Percosan said yes, but wouldn't divulge specifics.
At the same time, Broadcom wasn't left out of the DOCSIS 1.1 party, as its silicon is used in both Arris' and Cadant's qualified headend gear.
CableLabs, with the more advanced DOCSIS 2.0 specification on the drawing board, has even more work ahead of it. Still, there is no set schedule at this point to farm out DOCSIS testing to third parties, said CableLabs Executive Consultant and DOCSIS Project Leader Rouzbeh Yassini.