CableLabs OKs DOCSIS 2.0 Gear

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Cable Television Laboratories Inc. ushered in the DOCSIS 2.0 era last week, granting certification approval to five cable modem and cable-modem termination system manufacturers.

The newly approved gear will give MSOs the ability to design tiered data products for heavy peer-to-peer users and small to midsized businesses.

Motorola Inc., Scientific-Atlanta Inc., Terayon Communication Systems Inc., Texas Instruments Inc. and Xrosstech USA Inc. all were certified in CableLabs's first wave for DOCSIS 2.0 cable modems. Terayon also received approval for its DOCSIS 2.0 CMTS.

The cable industry's research arm also certified 21 DOCSIS 1.1 modems and three 1.1 CMTSs.

The DOCSIS 2.0 certifications will pave the way for operators to deploy new services next year, perhaps sooner than some expected.

"Everyone was caught by surprise" that certifications were completed this year, said Terayon CEO Zaki Rakib.

DOCSIS 2.0 offers speeds up to 600 times faster than a dial-up modem, CableLabs said. And as the 2.0 spec allows for upstream speeds improved by a factor of six over DOCSIS 1.0 gear, MSOs will look to offer peer-to-peer and tiered business services.

CableLabs said DOCSIS 2.0 is compatible with previous DOCSIS iterations. "This is another historic moment for our industry," CableLabs president and CEO Richard Green said in a statement.

Terayon came out the big winner, especially considering it was the only CMTS vendor to received certification. Com21 Inc. was also in the CMTS hunt.

"This means 2.0 is here," Rakib said. It also gives Terayon a boost on the CMTS side. Rakib said Terayon's DOCSIS 2.0 TJ 715 cable modem has been deployed by Cox Communications Inc. and Adelphia Communications Corp. Its DOCSIS 2.0 BW3500 CMTS is being trialed by MSOs, according to Rakib.

While MSOs could launch new tiered services for peer-to-peer, business and IP telephony applications, Rakib believes a switch to DOCSIS 2.0 hardware also will improve bandwidth efficiency, which can save MSOs money.

"You can manage capacity in a much more efficient way," Rakib said. The CMTS also includes per-flow dynamic queuing, virtual Internet service provider routing and hierarchical address resolution protocol. The BW3500 uses a chipset made by sister company Imedia Semiconductor Inc.

Many MSOs have upgraded their data networks by adding DOCSIS 1.1 software in the back office and provisioning areas. "The beauty is with DOCSIS 2.0, they can now leverage all that with the faster pipe," Rakib said. DOCSIS 2.0 would require a hardware upgrade, he said, but it would be backward-compatible to the DOCSIS 1.1 software upgrades.

The 21 modems from 15 manufacturers that received 1.1 certification included gear from Ambit Corp., Arris Group Inc., Askey Inc., Broadxent USA Inc., Com21 Inc., Kinpo, Linksys Group Inc., Motorola, NetGear Inc., Pioneer Electronics Inc., S-A, Terayon, TI, Thomson S.A. and Toshiba Corp.

DOCSIS 1.1 CMTS certifications went to S-A, Arris and Cisco Systems Inc.. Efficient Networks Inc., SMC Corp., Thomson and Toshiba.

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