Start-up Broadband Access Systems Inc. is introducing a new
cable-service provisioning-software solution to go with its next-generation
Internet-protocol headend equipment.
Two-year-old BAS said its "Cuda Provisioning
Manager" was designed from the ground up to work with its "Cuda 12000 IP-Access
Switch," producing what it calls a more stable and efficient carrier-class solution
for provisioning new cable services such as high-speed data and IP telephony.
The company also touted Provisioning Manager as the first
cable-modem-provisioning application integrated into a cable-modem-termination system,
rather than adapted from an external system.
Provisioning Manager will be available in the first half of
next year, at a cost of $10,000 to $100,000, depending on the configuration and
deployment. Initially, BAS will produce the software only in support of the Cuda 12000,
although the company said it will likely support other vendors eventually.
For now, the provisioning software is intended to be a key
differentiator between BAS and its heavyweight, established competition in the
cable-headend market, including Cisco Systems Inc., Arris Interactive LLC, Motorola Inc.
and 3Com Corp.
Key features of the software include the ability for cable
operators to define and maintain quality-of-service profiles, including parameters such as
bandwidth, jitter and other QOS values operators would use to define a specific or unique
voice, video or data service.
BAS vice president of marketing Mark Komanecky said the
feature enables operators to pick and choose from a menu of such profiles to more quickly
and easily create and launch new services supported by their networks.
Examples might be offering multiple tiers of cable-modem
service with different bandwidth allotments, or creating cross-marketing capabilities by
bundling services from different platforms and integrating them with the operator's
billing setup -- say, a free pay-per-view movie when you subscribe to cable-modem service.
"Assuming other platforms could even support it,
there's no software available enabling operators to do this," Komanecky said.
"It would be a very manually oriented product."
BAS said the software is also able to provision cable
modems automatically through an LDAP-based (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)
distributed database, with dynamic assignment of IP addresses for Data Over Cable Service
Interface Specification cable modems, plus subscriber authentication using modem MAC
(media-access control) addresses and user passwords for security.
Komanecky said the system also supports subscriber
auto-provisioning, although initially, BAS is focusing on its service-creation features
while it continues auto-provisioning development.
Abbot Gilman, chief operating officer of Westborough,
Mass.-based BAS, said the company's software developers met with MSO engineers such
as MediaOne Group Inc.'s operations-support-systems team in Chelmsford, Mass., before
they began developing the provisioning product.
That way, they would understand the environment it would be
operating in and the demands operators would be placing on it, such as the complexities of
moving modem users to new ports when a network gets scaled up.
"The product was designed specifically to meet the
needs of people running these network-operations centers," Gilman said.
Provisioning Manager is getting its first field trial with
turnkey-service provider InterTECH Corp., which plans to use the software, along with the
Cuda 12000 units it will deploy, in two markets for Tele-Media Corp. -- Dallas, Pa., and
Pembroke Pines, Fla.
InterTECH -- which focuses on deploying networks for
operators in secondary markets -- said it plans to use the Cuda 12000 for DOCSIS-based
networks operated by several MSOs.
The deployment marks an early win for BAS, which also has
five boxes running at Cable Television Laboratories Inc. in the current wave of DOCSIS
Gilman said virtually every major U.S. MSO has expressed
interest in testing the Cuda, and the company is also bidding for two operator contracts
outside of the United States.
Besides its own product development, BAS is actively
exploring external partnerships that will enable the company to eventually provide an
end-to-end solution for cable operators, Gilman added.