Casa Sees Opportunity in Down-Market Technology
Even though Casa Systems was showing a converged cable access platform (CCAP) line card in a back room at the recent Cable-Tec Expo, which its Founder and CEO Jerry Guo said would be released in the first quarter of 2012, he seemed almost more excited about the company’s new small-form-factor cable modem termination system (CMTS) – dubbed the C1G.
While ARRIS Chairman and CEO Bob Stanzione noted during Expo’s opening session that his company’s top priority is CCAP, Guo said, "We want to lead in current technology. CCAP is very hard from a technical point of view. All of the focus from the industry is on the big stuff; they’ve lost sight of down-market stuff."
Besides the CCAP focus on super-dense CMTS and edge-QAM functions, "another trend we see in many markets is distributed CMTSs put very close to the edge," Guo said.
As such, Casa’s mini C1G is a full-featured DOCSIS 3.0 CMTS designed for the multiple dwelling unit (MDU), hospitality and rural markets. With a compact form factor at 15 in. x 8.75 in. x 1RU, the C1G supports one downstream QAM port, two DOCSIS upstream ports, and two GbE (SFP) network ports. Configurations for the C1G range from 2DS x 2US to as many as 8DS x 8US. Some of the features the C1G supports are upstream and downstream channel bonding; AES encryption/decryption; Quality of Service (QoS); and a rich IP feature set, including support for IPv6. The mini CMTS can serve between 50 and 2,000 subscribers.
Casa Systems touts its DOCSIS certification, pointing out that other CMTS vendors have let their DOCSIS 3.0 certifications received through CableLabs expire. Why? "It’s expensive to go through that certification testing," Guo explained, adding it costs $180,000 per cert wave coupled with five weeks to do the testing. If the CMTS doesn’t pass, a company needs to pay the same fee for a second testing.
So where do the best opportunities lie: CCAP or CMTS? Guo said, "We invest in both ends. We don’t know where the market is going to lead us."