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Juniper, Motorola Realize DOCSIS Certification

Capitalizing on the upsurge of interest in cable modems, two tech heavyweights say they've got the goods when it comes to the latest Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS ) standard.

Motorola, Inc.'s broadband division and Juniper Networks, Inc. Thursday rolled out a batch of products that have been certified DOCSIS 1.1 compatible.

The new standard builds on the previous version by adding tiered bandwidth, which allows for better home networking and packet telephony.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper said its G10 Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) supports a wide range of the standard including PacketCable IP-based multimedia services. Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola said the five new products that are now DOCSIS 1.1 approved include its SURFboard SB4100, SB4200, and SB4220 cable modems and the Motorola Broadband Services Router (BSR) 1000 and BSR 64000 integrated CMTS/routers.

"It is this kind of assurance that provides the basis upon which operators can move forward with their plans to provide the 'triple play' of services their subscribers are demanding," said Motorola executive vice president Dan Moloney.

Developed by CableLabs and approved by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in March 1998, DOCSIS defines interface standards for cable modems and supporting equipment. Other devices that recognize and support the DOCSIS standard include HDTVs and Web enabled set-top boxes for regular televisions.

The standard specifies downstream traffic transfer rates between 27 and 36 Mbps over a radio frequency (RF) path in the 50 MHz to 750+ MHz range, and upstream traffic tranfer rates between 320 Kbps and 10 Mbps over a RF path between 5 and 42 MHz. But, because data over cable travels on a shared loop, individuals will see transfer rates drop as more users gain access.

"DOCSIS 1.1 qualification represents the achievement of a key milestone for vendors in the CMTS space," said Gartner Dataquest telecommunications analyst Patti Reali. "Cable operators are currently in the midst of assessing their options for next-generation DOCSIS 1.1-based broadband access platforms. When they decide to migrate to these platforms, cable network operators will seek out vendors with robust, reliable, high capacity and highly-scalable technologies that can help them deliver a broad suite of advanced IP services, such as tiered broadband services, IP voice, streaming media, desktop videoconferencing and eventually, video telephony.

Built by combining a new silicon solution with Juniper Networks proven IP expertise, the DOCSIS 1.1 qualified G10 CMTS is the only CMTS that can support a wide range of PacketCable IP-based multimedia services with unparalleled performance and reliability, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), streaming video, interactive gaming and real-time video conferencing.

In 1998, there were 1.2 million cable modems installed across the United States with an average price of $245 per unit, and by 2004, research reports predict there will be 24.3 million units installed across the US with an average price of $50 per unit.

In January, Louisville, Colo.-based CableLabs completed the specs for the DOCSIS 2.0 standard. The company said it is shooting for certification testing in the third quarter of 2002 based on product maturity.