Cable Television Laboratories Inc. stamped five more
interoperability seals of approval on cable modems last week, doubling the number of
vendors able to offer certified product.
Earning CableLabs' Data Over Cable Service Interface
Specification sticker were products from Askey Computer Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Philips
Consumer Electronics Co., Samsung Telecommunications America Inc. and Sony Corp.
Missing the mark in the latest testing wave were Com21
Inc., Motorola Inc. and Zenith Electronics Corp.
The growing number of certified modems feeds the cable
industry's plans to move toward a retail model for its customer-premises equipment,
ensuring buyers that modems they pick up at Circuit City Stores Inc. or RadioShack
locations will work with any standards-qualified cable system.
Still pending are qualification decisions for
cable-modem-termination systems submitted for DOCSIS testing by 3Com Corp., Motorola and
Arris Interactive LLC. Any qualifications are likely to be announced in the next several
Although some newly certified vendors have already deployed
a significant number of DOCSIS-based modems, the CableLabs stamp gives them greater
credibility, which should help them to win larger orders from cable operators.
For example, Samsung said it accounts for 29 percent of all
DOCSIS-compliant modems deployed in North America, but it admitted that finally getting
certification will provide a further boost.
"We have talked to many large MSOs, and they have been
evaluating our product," said YoungSoo Ryu, executive vice president of
Samsung's broadband-network division. "They have been satisfied with it, but
they have been holding off because it hadn't passed DOCSIS certification."
Paul Kagan Associates Inc. analyst Leslie Ellis said the
growing number of certified vendors, combined with recent retailing initiatives by
operators, were positive signs that cable's retail presence would pick up momentum
later this year.
"I thought MediaOne Group Inc.'s launch of an
all-retail model in Richmond, Va., tied in with this nicely," she said. "Their
work with Circuit City to do an all-retail, no-lease model is a good portent of
what's to come."
At the same time, some vendors are looking beyond the
current DOCSIS 1.0 certifications and toward meeting the more advanced 1.1 protocols, for
which certification is expected to begin early next year.
Andy Audet, general manager of Motorola's
cable-data-products division, said the company was disappointed that it could not get
certified the second time around. It will continue with the process, focused on getting a
DOCSIS 1.1 modem ready.
Motorola will actually submit a 1.1-based modem into the
next 1.0 certification wave, Audet added. The product has new features such as a
universal-serial-bus port and redesigned package.