Narad Networks has introduced a line of Ethernet switches designed to offer dedicated, 100 Mbps connections that, the company claims, can help operators compete in contested markets served by high- capacity data services fed by fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology.

Narad said the system can be used to support commercial and residential services and be deployed in existing fiber-to-the-curb architectures. The company added that the electronics of its system are "loosely" equivalent to passive optical network (PON) architectures, but with less fiber construction costs.

Narad estimates that fiber construction costs with its platform will average roughly $50 per home passed, though costs will vary by region and geography.

The platform itself places switches at the coax cable tap. Ethernet from fiber and existing video, voice and data services from the coax are then fed into the Narad modular tap switch. Narad modems within the switch convert Ethernet into a modulated carrier at frequencies above existing cable services. Previously, Narad had said its platform works above 860 MHz, but below 1.1 GHz.

"With this new platform, cable operators can future-proof their network to support more advanced services by delivering higher capacity at lower costs and in less time than anything offered by Verizon or AT&T," said Narad CEO Michael Collette, in a statement.

Cablevision Systems Corp. is already using Narad's out-of-band overlay to deliver data services to business customers starting at 50 Mbps. With that deployment, Cablevision initially Narad-enabled two nodes serving customers in Oyster Bay, N.Y.

On the residential end, cable operators already are planning to use DOCSIS 3.0 and channel bonding techniques to deliver Internet services in the 100 Mbps range that will be shared - rather than dedicated - by customers on the node. To meet more near-term competitive pressures, operators are also considering an interim step to DOCSIS 3.0 called DOCSIS 2.0b, which will bond a minimum of two 6 MHz channels and enlist the shared bandwidth model.