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Narad gets aggressive with new 'passive' architecture

Sun, 10/24/2004 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

Narad Networks has launched a new Passive Architecture designed to give cable operators the ability to use their legacy networks to deliver voice and data services to commercial customers.

Narad said its next-gen switched Ethernet overlay architecture requires only passive diplex filters to touch the operator's HFC network. The platform aims to add symmetrical 400 Mbps capacity per node.

Narad originally placed the diplex filters and active switches in the same box. Despite the move to a passive architecture, "the core technology has not changed," said Narad COO Chuck Kaplan.

Narad will continue to support its original active architecture, but "the future quotes and products we're installing now is for the new passive architecture," said Narad CEO James Norrod, noting that operators requested that Narad place a "lighter touch" on the network.

Narad's technology lives above 860 MHz, but below 1.1 GHz. Most cable residential services reside at 860 MHz or 750 MHz and below.

That spectrum strategy essentially creates a virtual parallel network that separates residential services from high-availability commercial services.

The company claimed that a number of unnamed MSOs are testing or have deployed the new architecture, but would not disclose specifics.

To drive deployments, Narad has placed a $7,000 price cap on operators' per-customer costs. The move, the company aid, will reduce financial risk of the operator and help them determine the exact cost and return on their investment prior to deployment.

Previously, the first customer could cost an operator in the mid-teens (in thousands of dollars) to hook up to the Narad platform, and it might take multiple customers per node to hit the $7,000 mark.

"The objection early on was that one to three customers had to pay the lion's share of the equipment," Kaplan said.

Though Narad' margins are lower early on in this pricing scenario, the company believes it's a low-risk move because operators have their own incentives to sell services to small- and medium-sized business customers on Narad-enabled nodes.

"Even a minor success from customers will be successful for everybody based on the new pricing," Kaplan said.

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