C9 Networks, a cable modem termination system (CMTS) vendor that specializes in small- and mid-sized MSOs, has added wireless capabilities to its CMTS platform.

With special software, C9's C3000 platform box can support both wired and wireless data services. Additionally, operators can give third-party Wi-Fi "hot spot" providers the ability to hook into the system for managed wireless services.

The C3000, which features a built-in, Web-based subscriber management system, can support from 200 to 250 access points and as many as 2,000 wireless users, the company says.

Among applications, company CEO Srini Kola says hotels could tap the platform to offer integrated wired and wireless Internet access services, or MSOs could deploy it to hot-spot downtown areas.

"Most of the interest right now is hotel operators," Kola says, noting that the wireless component adds about $1,000 to the CMTS price.

The C3000 complements C9's flagship CMTS, the C1000.

C9, a survivor of the CMTS shakeout, specializes in low-cost CMTSs. About 500 C9 systems are in the field today with operators such as James Cable, Blue Mountain and Matrix Cablevision, an operator based in the Silicon Valley. About half of C9's deployments are with overseas operators.

The company's 1×4 port (1 downstream/4 upstream) CMTS lists at $7,900, and can support up to 1,000 modems. Its 1×1 box lists for $5,900, and supports up to 250 modems.

"Just because we build a lower-cost box, doesn't mean it's a cheap box," Kola says. "We optimize the box for small operators."

Because of that target market, C9 has forgone getting its equipment tested for DOCSIS qualification at CableLabs.

"Most of the large [MSOs] are picky about qualification," Kola explains. "With small- and mid-sized operators, as long as you work with the modems, they are more willing to listen."

Besides, going through qualification would only jack up the equipment price, he explains.