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News summary for 6/13/07

Wed, 06/13/2007 - 8:43am

Variations ’pon a theme: PON news from Hitachi, SA, Wave7, Zhone 
By Brian Santo, CED

The future is all about fiber. Many service providers haven’t faced the issue yet, but it’s apparently common knowledge among vendors. Hitachi TelecomScientific AtlantaWave7 Optics, and Zhone Technologies all had announcements about passive optical networks (PONs) the week prior to both Cable-Tec Expo and NXTcomm.

SA announced new, compact, high-density optics products in its Prisma II line designed to improve the performance of existing fiber, and plans to unveil at Cable-Tec Expo a new DOCSIS-based passive optical network (D-PON) architecture that will provide an upgrade path for MSOs to stretch fiber-to-the-home (FTTH).

The new access network products extend the Prisma II analog optics platform while maintaining backward compatibility with legacy Prisma II products. Baseband digital reverse optics in a new small form factor support up to two reverse buses with plans calling for implementation of coarse wavelength division multiplexing (CWDM) and dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) for versatile, cost-effective video delivery.

The Prisma II XD chassis now accommodates up to 16 optical modules in a 3RU unit that increases density by greater than 30 percent over the existing Prisma II chassis. Prisma II multi-wavelength forward optics offer both improved performance and increased capacity for cable operators through enhanced fiber use in forward path transmissions, especially at longer distances.

SA expects its D-PON architecture will initially be suitable for FTTH service in greenfield developments. Using a 32-way split PON infrastructure, SA said it enables cable operators to create an effective optical budget in both directions.

Wave7 Optics announced that its Trident7 Universal Access Platform now supports GPON standards. Wave7 claims that support makes its Trident7 the only FTTH platform capable of delivering standards-based EPON and GPON.

"GPON is the standard of choice for network operators in certain geographic areas and market segments, whereas others are deploying the EPON standard," said Emmanuel Vella, chief marketing officer for Wave7 Optics.

Zhone Technologies announced a FTTH gateway with remote management and monitoring. Zhone claims its zNID is the only FTTH network gateway to provide advanced Layer 3 intelligence for remote monitoring and traffic prioritization of applications. Service changes or upgrades are managed remotely via a TR-069 Automatic Configuration Server, the same management standard already used for millions of DSL installations worldwide.

In addition to remote management and diagnostics, zNID supports HomePNAv3, for multimedia home networking. zNID dramatically simplifies provisioning by using standard coax cable and ordinary twisted pair phone lines for complete HomePNA coverage with no new wiring.

Zhone Technologies also introduced a GPON optical line terminal (OLT) card designed for use with its Multi-Service Broadband Loop Carrier (BLC). Each GPON line card allows up to 64 subscribers per link using passive optical splitting. The card can be mixed with other services line cards, offering greater flexibility and network optimization.

Zhone announced three customers for its BLC system and zNIDs: Consolidated Communications Holdings, Taylor Telephone Cooperative, and Yadkin Valley Telecom. 

Hitachi Telecom also announced a PON deployment. Falcon Broadband will install its AMN1220 gigabit PON (GPON) product to deliver services in Colorado Springs, Colo. and surrounding areas.
 
Falcon Broadband has already trialed the Hitachi GPON solution, and will begin installation immediately. Falcon Broadband will offer services based on GPON technology in phases throughout its coverage area, starting with the Flying Horse community currently being developed.

Hitachi and Falcon Broadband claim theirs will be the first commercial deployment in the United States of GPON by a cable television operator. Verizon is also deploying GPON.

Vecima debuts its HyperQAM
By Traci Patterson, CED

Vecima Networks Inc. has launched its next-gen Universal Edge QAM (U-eQAM), the HyperQAM, which supports up to 128 QAM channels in a 2RU, for up to 4,096 streams.

The box sits at the edge of the network; expands the capacity for VOD, SDV and other programming (it can fit 12 to 14 programs in a QAM instead of 10); is compatible with GigE and 10GigE; is upgradeable to DOCSIS 3.0 and M-CMTS; can do channel bonding; and there is no need to replace the chassis if a problem arises, says Douglas Fast, Vecima’s EVP and VP of R&D.

The HyperQAM’s modular design allows more QAM channels to be added - in increments of 1, 2, 4, 6 or 8, to a maximum of 128 - as demand increases. The product has been tested and is compatible with industry-leading cable and VOD equipment. Vecima will showcase its eQAM at Cable-Tec Expo in Orlando, June 19-22.

Cisco joins Edge QAM party
By Traci Patterson, CED

Cisco Systems Inc. has revealed the Cisco RF Gateway 1, the first release from the new Cisco RF Gateway (RFGW) Series of Universal Edge QAM (U-eQAM) products.

The first offering delivers up to 48 D-RFI-compliant QAM channels in a compact 1RU chassis with redundancy options to expand system availability. The design supports eight QAM channels per field-replaceable RF module, with four QAM channels per RF output port, to accommodate expanding digital video services such as VOD, high-speed data services and DOCSIS networks, in small or large increments.

“The Cisco RF Gateway Series extends our fourth-generation of QAM technology with switched digital video support, higher density, improved reliability, 1 GHz RF output and DOCSIS 3.0/M-CMTS capability,” said Dean Rockwell, VP and general manager of Digital Media Networks at Scientific Atlanta.

CableLabs issues CALEA safe harbor
By Traci Patterson, CED

CableLabs has issued its Cable Broadband Intercept Specification (CBIS) to assist cable operators with meeting legal mandates under the federal Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). 

CALEA, enacted in 1994, mandates that providers of communications services - which now include VoIP and broadband - be able to isolate, pursuant to a court order or other lawful authorization, the content of a communication, as well as call-identifying information.

Cable operators who are compliant with CBIS are deemed CALEA-compliant. If an operator is not compliant, it could be subject to a daily fine of $10,000.

In 2004, CableLabs issued the first CALEA safe harbor, for PacketCable digital voice.

Broadband Briefs for 6/13/07

* Entropic launches PQoS chipset 
Entropic Communications Inc. has unleashed the Parameterized Quality of Service (PQoS) and network management diagnostics for its c.LINK platform. Entropic incorporated PQoS into its chipset - and said it is the first company to do so - in order to address service providers’ bandwidth challenges. 

* Sprint to acquire Northern PCS Services
Sprint Nextel Corp. has entered into an agreement to acquire Northern PCS Services for $312.5 million, including the assumption of debt. Northern PCS provides Sprint PCS services in parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa. The acquisition, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is expected to close in Q3.

* Sandvine ups its 2007 revenue estimate
Sandvine said it expects fiscal 2007 revenues to be between $62 million and $67 million, an increase from its previous guidance range of $50 million to $60 million. The company is increasing its estimate, previously published on April 11, because of increased business, including the addition of a Tier 1 DSL service provider with more than two million subs.

* Microsoft, Maven join for Internet TV service
Microsoft Corp. is collaborating with Maven Networks to enable the delivery of cross-platform broadband video with Microsoft Silverlight technology.

Maven’s media company customers will be able to use the workflow automation, publishing and player creation capabilities of the Maven Internet TV Platform to launch Silverlight-enabled Internet TV channels with interactive capabilities and high-quality video.

* Cox chooses HiWired technology
Cox Communications has selected HiWired Inc. to provide the infrastructure for Cox Tech Solutions, a fee-based technical support service for Cox’s customers.

HiWired Smart Technology provides Cox technicians with a platform for provisioning and managing customer support sessions and proprietary diagnostic software, and a platform to deliver targeted marketing offerings across multiple customer segments, the company said. Cox currently uses the technology in New England, San Diego and Orange County, Calif.

* Cedar Point announces customer win
Cedar Point Communications has found a customer in Grupo Hevi, a cable system operator in Mexico. Grupo Hevi is using Cedar Point's Safari C3 Multimedia Switching System to deliver telephony services to Grupo Hevi subscribers. Their contract covers an initial deployment of VoIP service in the Zapopan, Jalisco, market.

* ACA names VP of government affairs
The American Cable Association www.americancable.org (ACA) announced that Ross Lieberman has joined the organization as vice president of government affairs. In this new staff position based in Washington, D.C., Lieberman serves as the trade association’s senior government advocate on Capitol Hill and at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Most recently, Lieberman directed congressional and state affairs for EchoStar Communications.

* Occam POTS/ADSL blade approved for use with Nortel interface
Occam Networks said its Broadband Loop Carrier (BLC) POTS and Combination POTS/ADSL2Plus blades have successfully completed compatibility laboratory testing with Nortel’s DMS-10 Packet Gateway Interface.

"Occam made an extensive investment of time and resources to ensure telco customers that our BLC blades are compatible with Nortel switches," said Russ Sharer, vice president of marketing at Occam Networks. "SIP voice is becoming ever more important in carrier next-generation access deployments and Occam's experience with VoIP is clearly a benefit for our customers."

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