1-Gig Cable Gateway Gets Ready for Its Close-Up

2012-10-14 16:24:09

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1-Gig Cable Gateway Gets Ready for Its Close-Up
A advanced breed of Docsis 3.0 modem that can get cable within shouting distance of a 1Gbit/s downstream could meet its biggest test yet in November.Hitron Technologies Inc. plans to submit its gateway to CableLabs for certification testing in wave 96, says Todd Babic, the company's chief sales and marketing officer. According to CableLabs, products for wave 96 are due on Nov. 8, with results expected by late February 2013.The gateway is based on the Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) Puma 6 chip that can bond 24 downstream channels and eight upstream channels -- enough to support respective speed bursts of 960 Mbit/s and 320 Mbit/s. The Puma 6 also supports a 16x4 configuration. (See Intel's New Docsis 3.0 Chip Guns for 1-Gig .)Looking further ahead, Hitron is considering submitting a similar Docsis 3.0 gateway with additional PacketCable VoIP capabilities in wave 98, which is slated to get under way in late February or early March. Hitron's initial batch of gateways based on the Intel chip will support 802.11n, following with faster 802.11ac implementations early next year.
Hitron introduced a standalone 24x8 D3 modem at The Cable Show in May and has more than 100 of them out for evaluation by "most major operators," Babic says. But Hitron opted not to certify that product because its strategy is more focused on Docsis 3.0 gateway devices.While obtaining certification would give Hitron the OK to sell its new gateway product at retail, the vendor's strategy is to sell directly to MSOs. Even without the retail angle, certification remains an important interoperability hurdle vendors must pass before cable operators will consider products for further testing and eventual purchases. Boiled down, certification "is a license to hunt," Babic says.But it's unlikely that many cable operators have the channels available or the desire to offer a broadband tier that would fully load a 24x8 modem right away. Hitron believes operators will go for consistency instead, adding channels to the bonding group to stabilize aggregate speeds going for existing tiers, rather than shooting for 1Gbit/s bursts.Several U.S. MSOs offer D3 tiers that advertise downstream speeds in the range of 50Mbit/s to 100Mbit/s. The extreme case is Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), which introduced a new tier that maxes out at 305Mbit/s downstream and 65Mbit/s upstream. (See Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier.)And deployments of 24x8 modems from Hitron and others will hinge on the readiness of cable modem termination systems (CMTSs), which will need software upgrades to accommodate the latest channel-bonding configurations. Hitron has been demonstrating its new modems and gateways on CMTSs from Casa Systems Inc.All major CMTS vendors say they are ready now or will be by the middle of 2013 to support broadband modems gateways outfitted with Intel's new chips. Details about their plans to support the latest generation of D3 customer premises equipment (CPE) will be covered in a future story.
Internet2 Readies Its SDN Launch
Internet2 is ready to launch its first try at software-defined networking (SDN), a little Layer 2 bonus to go with its new 100Gbit/s backbone.The SDN platform should be completed sometime this month, Rob Vietzke, Internet2's vice president of network services, told an audience during the recent analysts' day at Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD).
So, what's it mean that Internet2 is "doing SDN?"At first, it's going to mean OpenFlow provisioning of switches. That means creating virtual LAN (VLAN) connections across the Internet2 network, and going through Internet exchange points housed by Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX).In January, Internet2 will open up other SDN slices for other people to load their applications, Vietzke tells Light Reading."In the early days, I think it's going to be kind of like the app store, where they'll send us the code and we'll test it in the lab before we actually load it up on the infrastructure. But longer-term, the vision absolutely is: Once the rails come up high enough and the slices are protected enough, we'd love for a CS [computer science] class to write applications and try them out."That could start happening as early as May or June, Vietzke hopes. Partly, the timing will depend on how comfortable Internet2's users are with the idea. The network is associated with research and universities, but it does run production traffic that users wouldn't want to get messed up."We're hoping we'll have 100 campuses or so with SDN capabilities going to this infrastructure within a year or so," Vietzke says.It could also be a vehicle for, say, Silicon Valley companies to try out SDN and OpenFlow ideas on a large scale, he says.The point of all this, of course, is to find out what happens when users get a more programmable network.
"Our favorite example is the Facebook example, where the basic investment in putting Ethernet and TCP/IP into the dorm room had no immediate ROI [return on investment]. But we thought it was the right thing to do, because it had the characteristic of fundamentally changing communications," Vietzke says. "I think the same thing's true of OpenFlow."Internet2, a consortium funded by universities and research groups, is also finishing what it says is the first transcontinental 100Gbit/s network. The optical layer, using Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) gear, was recently completed. As of two weeks ago, the Layer 2 gear from Brocade -- the part that would provide SDN support -- was still being installed; Vietzke expected that buildout to be completed by Internet2's next member meeting, next week in Philadelphia.
Cisco, Motorola May Be Next to Settle With TiVo
Here's what's pushing the buttons of broadband and cable today.With AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and, most recently, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) opting to settle with TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) rather than battling it out in the courts, such an outcome is "the most likely" scenario for the upcoming TiVo patent cases involving Motorola Mobility (now part of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), predicts Jefferies & Company Inc. analyst Brian Fitzgerald, in a research note. Barring any settlements beforehand, he expects a claim construction hearing for the Motorola case to occur in late November, followed by a trial in the spring of 2013. Claim construction for the Cisco case could happen in mid-2013. (See RGB Shows Video Packager to ANGA, Verizon to Pay TiVo $250M to Settle DVR Fight and TiVo Sues Motorola & Time Warner Cable.)As gaming consoles continue to become video streaming hubs, it follows that pay-TV operators are looking to turn the tables a bit and deliver high-end video games via the proverbial cloud. AT&T, Cox Communications Inc. , Verizon and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) are among the major service providers that are developing strategies to stream gaming titles directly to customers and amp up the competition among game console makers, Bloomberg reports, noting that trials are expected to start later this year, with initial deployments to follow in 2013.Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is supporting the broadcasters in their legal fight against Aereo Inc. , claiming that the upstart service, which delivers over-the-air TV broadcasts to consumers via the Internet alongside a network-based DVR, violates copyright laws, notes The Los Angeles Times, citing a Cablevision amicus brief filed late last week. Aereo is basing its defense partly on the legal basis of Cablevision's implementation of a network DVR, but Cablevision argued that a "critical legal difference is that Cablevision pays statutory licensing and retransmission content fees for the content it retransmits, while Aereo does not." Barry Diller-backed Aereo says it charges customers for an infrastructure, but isn't subject to retrans fees because it's relying on TV content that's available for free over-the-air. Aereo's service currently is only offered in New York City. (See Diller's Aereo Under Legal Attack, Does Aereo Have a DVR Precedent? and Diller Says Aereo Doesn't Sell Content.)Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX)'s video vault has thinned a bit after dropping about 800 hours of relatively new content from A&E Networks, including episodes from popular series such as Pawn Stars and Ice Road Truckers, reports Variety, noting that the streaming video hub still carries about 300 hours of older fare from the A&E library.
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