CableLabs Inc. will consolidate its testing program for three projects and lower testing fees by as much as 60 percent, all in an effort to help vendors speed products to market.
The Louisville, Colo.-cable technology consortium has announced it will consolidate its DOCSIS, PacketCable and CableHome testing schedules in 2003, and create shorter testing processes for cable modem vendors seeking re-certification.
Essentially, the same mechanism used to oversee DOCSIS testing will now be applied to PacketCable, the initiative aimed at achieving interoperability of IP devices linked to cable networks, and CableHome, CableLabs' home networking specifications project.
CableLabs also is dropping the prices to test gear. The cost for integrated device testing will fall by as much as 60 percent, while stand-alone cable modem charges will drop about 25 percent. The cost to test cable modem termination system (CMTS) units will not change.
CableLabs presently charges each vendor about $95,000 for each new product they submit for DOCSIS certification and qualification testing.
More good news for vendors is that minor tweaks to their products won't require a full re-certification process. The new test program calls for three testing certification waves lasting 12 weeks for new entrants, and four certification waves lasting nine weeks for those who already have certified or qualified products. At first, these shorter waves will be applied to DOCSIS 1.0 products that have undergone minor changes.
"Our modem and CMTS suppliers have been asking for fewer waves and more time between waves in order to allow them to fix problems that they discover during a certification wave," said Rouzbeh Yassini, senior executive consultant in charge of the cable modem and CableHome projects. "These important changes also will allow our experienced CableLabs team to give suppliers more support in troubleshooting problems."