Here’s a statement you will never hear anyone make, not ever, no matter how long on this Earth you shall live: “I am having too much sex.” Likewise, and on an admittedly far less compelling level, you will also never hear a cable operator utter the words, “We have too much bandwidth.” No, sir. That’s crazy talk, and the suits at the major MSOs aren’t paid the big bucks to spout gibberish. Nor are their vendors, for that matter. “Never bet against speed,” says Terayon Communication Systems CEO Zaki Rakib. “That’s a quality that you can never have enough of.” To that end, Terayon is working to help accelerate data transfer rate capacities in cable networks — which should quicken the heartbeats of HSD subs. The company’s DOCSIS 2.0-qualified Cable Modem Termination System gear is being tested by Comcast in the initial stages of what is being characterized as the MSO’s “ubiquitous adoption of 2.0” in their systems. It’s the upstream speed that is of particular interest to Rakib and his team. Conventional wisdom once held that traffic was assymetric by a ratio of 1-to-4; as P2P traffic has exploded, usage patterns describe a symmetrical 1-to-1. While Comcast, Time Warner and Adelphia all announced the availability of 3 Mbps downstream service last week, none had tinkered with their respective upstream rates. Without DOCSIS 2.0, they simply cannot, Rakib says. “With the exception of Adelphia, which has some 2.0 CMTS deployments in place, it’s not possible to boost upstream speeds on a DOCSIS 1.0 or 1.1 network,” Rakib says. Although Comcast did not comment on its 2.0 timeline, CTO David Fellows remarked that the Terayon tests are consistent with its multi-vendor approach. Arris remains the primary source for Comcast’s DOCSIS 1.1 CMTS. And 1.1 is where Comcast will remain for the time being, predicts Friedman Billings Ramsey analyst Alan Bezoza. “We remain cautious as to the timing of any DOCSIS CMTS deployments by Comcast,” Bezoza writes. Friedman Billings Ramsey pegs 2.0 migration to a broad 2004-2005 time line. In the final analysis, it may all come down to sex…or a lack thereof. FBR concludes that 2.0 is “sexy, but not yet needed.” In other words, it’s great, but there’s no rush to actually go out there and get some. Cable’s got just a bit of a headache tonight, apparently. But here comes Rakib, aspirin in hand. “There’s an immediate economic advantge in deploying DOCSIS 2.0,” he says. “That’s my answer to what is or what isn’t sexy.” In Korea, where Terayon has extensive 2.0 deployments, broadband has penetrated 80% of the market. Too much is never enough.

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