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Cable Show 2011: CommScope Packs In 160 QAMs Per Port

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On the heels of acquiring LiquidxStream, CommScope is launching what it claims is the cable industry's first universal edge QAM solution that can span the full RF spectrum -- up to 1 GHz -- with the ability to deliver 160 QAM channels on a single port.

The high-density LxS-16016 quadrature amplitude modulation system provides up to 160 QAM channels on each of 16 RF ports, delivering a maximum of 2,560 QAMs in a four-rack-unit-high chassis. That easily beats other solutions currently on the market on scale and density, including edge QAM systems from BigBand Networks and Harmonic.

"Getting to 160 QAMs per port is kind of a magical number because you have all 158 QAMs available in the 5 MHz to 1 GHz band," said Shane Eleniak, vice president of CommScope's Advanced Broadband Solutions.

CommScope is positioning the product, which supports any combination of video and data services across all QAMs, as aligning with Comcast's Converged Multiservice Access Platform architecture.

"We see CMAP as having the capability to offer any service in any part of the spectrum," Eleniak said. "The beauty of this is, you clean up the combining network so you're not having to re-cable every time you reconfigure a service group."

The LxS-16016 will ship in August. CommScope is not disclosing specific pricing details but Eleniak said it would come in under $100 per QAM.

Customers can start with a small number of QAMs and pay as they grow, he added. "This may be a bit of overkill for smaller customers, but for any of our larger customers it's a great fit," he said. "The benefit of this is, you are putting a platform in place for growth."

What's driving deployments of high-density QAMs are IPTV and switched digital video projects, Eleniak said, "more so than headend rationalization."

With the LxS-16016, the QAM carriers don't have to be in contiguous frequencies, Eleniak noted. CommScope said the density of the solution will help cut capital and operating expenses by lowering power consumption as well as reducing requirements for cabling, rack space and cooling.

CommScope announced its acquisition of Montreal, Canada-based LiquidxStream on June 2.

"When we started the company it was $400 per QAM," LiquidxStream president and CEO Francois Laflamme said. "Now the bigger customers are talking about under $50 [per QAM]."

The 16016 is the successor to LiquidxStream's 3616 platform, while retaining the latter's 4RU chassis. The new product provides "carrier-grade redundancy," with such features as dual fans and power supplies, Eleniak said.

CommScope plans to demo the LxS-16016 at the Cable Show this week in Chicago. Also at the show, CommScope will debut its new logo and will showcase the BrightPath Optical Solutions fiber-to-the-premises portfolio.

CommScope, based in Hickory, N.C., went private in a $3.9 billion deal with private equity firm Carlyle Group that closed in October 2010.