Arris: DOCSIS 3.1 Wave Rising

Offering a clear indication that MSOs are gearing up for DOCSIS 3.1, Arris said it expects to ship upwards of 2 million D3.1-capable modems and gateways this year.

That anticipated shipment milestone “reinforces the momentum surrounding this critical technology upgrade cycle,” Arris CEO Bruce McClelland said Wednesday on the company’s Q1 earnings call.

UPDATE:That's also a conservative estimate in the view of Jeff Heynen, SNL Kagan consulting director, who tweeted that he expects that shipment number for 2017 to be closer to 3 million.

That Arris is seeing momentum for D3.1-based CPE isn’t a huge surprise, as customers such as Comcast, Mediacom Communications and RCN push ahead with DOCSIS 3.1 deployments that will usher in 1-Gbps broadband speeds, at least in the downstream direction early on.

RELATED: Comcast Turns Up DOCSIS 3.1 in Utah

Arris’s first D3.1-certified product is the SB8200, a device tagged for retail. It also has other home-side devices that utilize D3.1, including a new advanced gateway for Comcast.

RELATED: Comcast Taps Arris, Technicolor for ‘XB6’ Gateways: Sources

“We’re ramping production to try and keep up with near-term demand right now,” McClelland said.

Arris posted Q1 sales of $1.48 billion, ahead of Wall Street expectations of $1.46 billion. It expects Q2 sales of $1.64 billion to $1.69 billion, and earnings of 55 cents to 60 cents.

Among individual business segments, CPE sales were down 3% versus the year-ago quarter, as lower set-top volumes were offset by broadband CPE growth. About 40% of CPE shipped in Q1 were broadband-related, Larry Robinson, president of Arris’s CPE division, said.

Arris has also pushed ahead with the launch of a 4K-capable device, recently rebranded as the MG2, that uses the TiVo interface. A yet-unnamed North American operator is starting to deploy it.  Arris is also getting traction with international operators for an Android-powered IP set-top.

Robinson said Arris is also seeing strong demand for X1-compatible devices in the wake of Comcast syndication deals with other operators that currently include Cox Communications and  Shaw Communications. Rogers Communications has plans to roll out an X1-based IPTV platform in early 2018.

RELATED: Rogers Tightens Ties to Comcast

McClelland said he expects Arris’s video CPE business to “snap back” in Q2.

CMTS sales also slowed in Q1 as some customers await Arris’s second-gen downstream line cards for its flagship access network platform, the E6000, according to Dan Whalen, president of Arris’s Network & Cloud unit. Arris, he said, is in full production on its Gen2 upstream line cards and trials with the downstream cards are underway. However, general availability of the Gen2 downstream card has been pushed to Q3.

Whalen said trials are underway for Arris’s remote PHY platform, anticipating full production to commence in early 2018.

McClelland said Arris’s proposed acquisition of Brocade’s Ruckus Wireless and ICX switching business is on track and that they are making “good progress with behind-the-scenes integration planning.”  

RELATED: Arris CEO: Ruckus Buy a ‘Pretty Big Deal’ For Us