Cable Television Laboratories Inc. and the California Cable Television Association are preparing to show the world "what's next" in cable technology and applying the finishing touches to the eighth-annual CableNET 2000 showcase, which will run parallel to this week's Western Show in Los Angeles.
It's also just about time to find out what's really behind all of this DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification), PacketCable and OpenCable stuff we've been hearing so much about, and to get a first-hand view of just how far the technologies based on those standards have advanced since our last lap around the sun.
In addition to making technical strides, those projects have also created an extremely fertile breeding ground for longtime technology players and newcomers. In the early 1990s, CableNET supported about 25 participants and 2,500 square feet of floor space.
The annual technology showcase has grown on a large scale since then, and this year will handle roughly 70 participants and 10,000 square feet of wall-to-wall demonstrations.
Last year, a mob of tech enthusiasts and skeptics walked the halls of CableNET, gaining some hands-on experience with interactive-television applications and other nascent technologies and applications that were finally making the pipe dream-to-reality shift.
They'll all be on hand again this year, giving Western Show attendees an opportunity to find out for themselves what technologies are smoking and what ones are perhaps just blowing smoke.
With so much equipment and software to tie together, CableNET has almost become a year-round process. CableLabs' request-for-proposal process with vendors started back in the June-May timeframe.
Today, that focus centers on technology and applications that are threading their way into home or small office/home office settings.
"We'll have about 100 areas devoted to living space," said CableLabs senior vice president of communications Mike Schwartz, who noted that some of those areas will even house replicated kitchens with home networking capabilities.
Though CableNET's size and scope will give show-goers plenty of technology on which to chew, many of the demonstrations play along similar themes and indicate the technical trends that the cable industry is currently exploring, or, at the very least, thinking about.
Judging from this year's yield of demonstrations, voice-over-IP, wired and wireless home networking, interactive television, and streaming media applications should grab the lion's share of the attention.
Another hot topic will be DOCSIS 1.1, which includes specifications that foster integrated QoS and voice and data applications. Cable modem termination system vendors such as RiverDelta Networks Inc., Cadant Inc. and ADC Telecommunications Inc. as well as cable modem manufactures like Future Networks Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. will be demonstrating how their equipment interoperates for the more advanced (and complex) specifications.
CableNET also will show off a variety of digital set-top boxes with point-of-deployment security features, designed to pave the way for a retail set-top market.
Additionally, legions of vendors are also champing at the bit to demonstrate how their technology supports CableLabs' interoperability projects.
More than vendors are getting into the act. CableLabs itself will show off "Go2Broadband," an Internet-based messaging service that informs potential high-speed cable customers if service is available in their neighborhood and lists consumer-electronics stores that carry cable modems on their shelves.
What's in Store at CableNet
<span class="small" id="d9e45-19-small">Company</span>
<span class="small" id="d9e50-23-small">Demonstration</span>
Data connectivity using a wireless cable modem that conforms to the "802.11" home-networking protocol
"SpotOn" technology that fosters customized advertising
Adaptive Networks Inc.
A power line-based home networking platform that runs over cable networks
ADC Telecommunications Inc.
A DOCSIS 1.1-based outdoor residential gateway designed for lifeline IP voice, data and video services, coupled with the Home Phoneline 2.0 protocol
Advanced applications running over cable modems with a variety of user interfaces
AP Engines Inc.
Billing-mediation systems for IP voice and self-provisioning
A Web-based status monitoring and management for DOCSIS cable-modem termination systems and cable modems
Broadband Access Systems Inc. (now part of ADC)
A carrier-class IP switch/router that features a DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS CMTS and service provisioning system
Cable modems, gateways, cable modems and digital set-tops based on Broadcom silicon that provide integrated voice, video and data services
C-Cube Microsystems Inc.
A VoIP-enabled cable modem based on C-Cube's chipset that connects a standard phone through an RJ-11phone jack
Carrier-class, DOCSIS 1.1-based "C4" CMTS and network management system
Canon Information Systems Inc.
Digital set-top box with an integrated imaging service that allows users to share, print or process digital photos
Cisco Systems Inc.
HFC-based video streaming media system
Delivery of streamed, full-screen video to personal computers using the MPEG-2 standard
Interactive shopping via digital cable set-top boxes
Conexant Systems Inc.
A EuroDOCSIS cable modem based on Conexant's reference design
D-Link Systems Inc.
Two computers linked by a cable modem based on HPNA 2.0 and wireless networking technologies
Dream Logic Inc.
Network resource management system
Bridge and router versions of its line of cable modems
Cable modem self-provisioning using a variety of CMTSs
DOCSIS and EuroDOCSIS cable modems and a Bluetooth Ethernet adapter for wireless networking
Applications-on-demand system that uses a remote server for the delivery of software
Future Networks Inc.
Primary-line IP voice service based on the company's DOCSIS 1.1-compliant cable modem
CableLabs' Internet-based business-to-business application that determines where cable modem services are available and which stores in those areas sell the necessary equipment
Its new "NODEcmts," designed to provide cable operators with bolstered return path capacity
An e-commerce and transactional system for digital cable applications
A "Webcaster" that builds and sends data directly to television sets
Cable modem with customer care elements designed to reduce calls to cable operator help desks
Into Networks Inc.
Platform for the real-time delivery of PC applications to the TV set
Performance verification system for cable modems and CMTSs
Wireless home networking applications
Margi Systems Inc.
Device that verifies and tests functionality of OpenCable-based point of deployment modules
Digital set-top box running the "Microsoft TV Advanced" operating system, which handles electronic program guides, Web browsing and digital video recording applications
Broadband tuner that enables cable modems to handle analog and digital signals
Media streaming conditional access using OpenCable-based POD modules
MU Net Inc.
Electric meter business gateway that measures and monitors consumer electronics
NDS Group plc
Digital set-top box application that provides digital photo services
System that analyzes cable system bandwidth and reports users who abuse bandwidth privileges
Navic Systems Inc.
Remote management of set-tops and attached peripherals
Netergy Networks Inc.
VoIP phone calls integrated with data over cable lines
Net & Sys Co. Ltd.
Applications running over its DOCSIS-based cable modem
CMTS and IP voice communications demonstration combined with cable modem auto-provisioning
Middleware running video-on-demand and Web browsing applications on Motorola Broadband's "DCT-2000" digital set-top
Pace Micro Technology plc
Set-top housed with a DOCSIS cable and wireless home networking capabilities
Panasonic Consumer Electronics
Digital cable receiver prototype with an active POD module slot
Philips Consumer Electronics Co.
OpenCable-based set-top with POD extension
Wireless home networking applications
Streaming media over broadband connections
Redback Networks Inc.
Automated provisioning of IP applications for data, video and voice services
RiverDelta Networks Inc.
Carrier-class router/CMTS with QoS support
Samsung Electronics America Inc.
PacketCable-based VoIP cable modem with universal serial bus support
"Explorer 6000" set top box with residential gateway capabilities
SeaChange International Inc.
Video-on-demand and ad insertion systems
Wireless home networking of video, voice and data applications
Devices that monitor the cable plant return path
Development platform for set-tops and personal video recorders
Terayon Communication Systems Inc.
DOCSIS-based IP voice and virtual private network systems for telecommuters
Texas Instruments Inc.
DOCSIS 1.1-based modem with QoS and home networking functions
Thomson Consumer Electronics
High-definition television delivered over cable lines
Cable data-services manager
Toshiba America Information Systems Inc.
"PCX" and VoIP DOCSIS cable modems and its "CableWorks" plant management system
Trivendi Digital Inc.
Data broadcasting system that complies to Advanced TV Enhancement Forum specs
Vicinium Systems Inc.
Service-management system that features home security monitoring, automated home controls and interactive television applicationsWard Laboratories Inc.Gear that removes signal noise from analog and digital video signals