CableLabs Seeks DOCSIS Testers

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Hoping to lighten the load a bit amid a growing swarm of cable-equipment
manufacturers, Cable Television Laboratories Inc. said it has started to seek
out third parties to certify and qualify cable modems and
cable-modem-termination systems.

Cable's primary research organization explained the reasons behind that
decision during a two-day briefing with reporters. The briefing covered
CableLabs' major projects: Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification,
PacketCable, OpenCable, CableHome and Go2Broadband.

CableLabs said the DOCSIS-certification board and executive committee will
maintain '100 percent' of the third-party verification project and will be the
only body authorized to bestow licenses to vendor-run testing facilities.

That arrangement is designed to protect the integrity of DOCSIS testing and
to avoid any shady deals between approved verification bodies and equipment
manufacturers, explained Rouzbeh Yassini, executive consultant to CableLabs and
CEO of YAS Corp.

Under the third-party scenario, vendor certification-testing costs will drop
and products will be brought to market more quickly, CableLabs predicted. The
organization recently boosted vendor certification-application fees from the
original $55,000 to $95,000 after a growing number of vendors started to submit
products they had no intention of manufacturing.

CableLabs is poring over about one-dozen potential verification candidates,
and it plans to issue paperwork on the subject before the end of this month,
DOCSIS-certification board chairman and Pilot House Ventures LLC principal David
Fellows said.

CableLabs said it expects to hand out verification licenses by the third
quarter of this year. Those bodies likely will use an automated testing process
for the extremely complex DOCSIS 1.1 specification. That process is still under
development.

Yassini also reiterated that DOCSIS 1.1 testing will continue on an ongoing
basis until at least one cable modem and CMTS get passing grades. 'We won't take
breaks until we get certified and qualified products,' he said.

CableLabs is currently is conducting certification wave 17, expected to end
March 23.

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