Mark your calendars. Oct. 23 could become an important date in the evolution of the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification and the PacketCable initiative.
Following several delays that pushed initial DOCSIS 1.1 certification tests from summer into fall, Cable Television Laboratories Inc. officials said the first certification wave for DOCSIS 1.1 equipment will begin Oct. 23.
That wave, which should run about eight weeks, will test the interoperability of cable modems and cable-modem-termination systems (CMTSs) built to those specifications.
CableLabs director of broadband test programs Thomas Gallagher said certification wave 15, set for later this month, will only involve DOCSIS 1.0 products, followed by the first 1.1-only wave in October. Certification wave 17 will test 1.0 wares, and a second 1.1 round should begin in January, he added.
Products that adhere to DOCSIS 1.1 specifications will serve as the underpinnings of PacketCable, an industry initiative to provide the multimedia architecture cable operators will need to offer Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services and more advanced applications, such as virtual private networks and interactive gaming.
"DOCSIS 1.1 is an important step for PacketCable," Gallagher said.
CableLabs late last month said it finished the second round of PacketCable interoperability testing with 15 vendors and started releasing the compliance-test plans that will serve as a tool for gauging the performance of products with PacketCable specifications.
"PacketCable builds on DOCSIS 1.1, so there needs to be an upgrade to 1.1 in the CMTS and at the MTA (multimedia-terminal adapter), such as a PC or a set-top in the home," PacketCable director Edward Miller said.
CableLabs has slated a PacketCable 1.0 interoperability conformance trial run for late this year.
"DOCSIS 1.0 defines a lot of the basic interactions between the CMTS and the cable modems, but 1.1 adds much more to that," said Gerry White, the chief technology officer of RiverDelta Networks Inc., a vendor that plans to submit its "Broadband Services Router 64000" for 1.1 certification.
"DOCSIS 1.1 enables quality of service and ensures that voice calls and data calls can be run simultaneously," White added. "You can break big packets down into smaller ones and enable well-defined IP streams, which is what you need to have in order to handle Voice-over IP."
CableLabs has been waiting for a more efficient 1.1 testing method and battling a shortage of ready-to-test 1.1 products.
RiverDelta said it will submit products for testing in October. Cadant Inc. plans to submit its "C4" CMTS. And Cisco Systems Inc. will likely be the third, industry sources said.