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DOCSIS Testing Rides Past Wave 100

As we reported last week, Hitron Technologies was the first vendor (and only, so far) to come out of the 100th CableLabs certification wave with  a passing grade, getting the green light for a miniaturized data-only DOCSIS 3.0 model that’s tailored for U.S. cable’s emerging prepaid Internet market. For the uninitiated, CableLabs conducts these tests to ensure that modems and cable modem termination systems interoperate and adhere to the specifications. Modems must be deemed CableLabs-certified before they can be sold at retail.

Before CableLabs disclosed that Hitron had made it through, we mentioned in the August 26 issue of Multichannel News that CableLabs was on the cusp of this milestone, noting that it was hard to remember when cable was a video-only industry.

And we used it as an opportunity to look back at some important dates from DOCSIS history (here is a grander timeline of events for all of CableLabs).  Here's an extended, wonkier version of what we ran in the book:

-December 1996: CableLabs adopts DOCSIS, an acronym for “Data Over  Cable Service Interface Specification,” as a working project name (the marketers are still cringing).

-November 1997: Industry formalized the DOCSIS modem certification plan.

-March 1999: Following certification wave No. 7, Thomson and Toshiba net the first certifications for DOCSIS 1.0 modems (the Thomson/RCA DCM105 is pictured), while Cisco Systems is the first to secure 1.0 qualification for a cable modem termination system. Flash-forward to today, and Thomson is now Technicolor, and Toshiba is no longer in the DOCSIS business.

-September 2001: Texas Instruments and Toshiba are first to achieve DOCSIS 1.1 certification, while Arris and Cadant (sold the very next month to Arris for $60 million) net 1.1 CMTS qualifications.

-December 2002:  Modems and designs from Motorola, Scientific Atlanta, Terayon, TI and Xrosstech win the race to DOCSIS 2.0 certification, while Terayon comes away with 2.0 CMTS qualification.

-December 2007: CableLabs awards DOCSIS 3.0 qualifications to CMTSs from Casa Systems (Silver), Arris and Cisco (Bronze).

-May 2008: Modems from Ambit (now Ubee Interactive), Arris, Cisco, SMC Networks and Motorola are first to get the stamp for DOCSIS 3.0.

A milestone undetermined: The first gear to get the okay for DOCSIS 3.1. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. CableLabs hasn’t even published the 3.1 specs yet.