Cable-Tec Expo: Motorola Chases CCAP

Motorola Mobility is launching a high-density edge QAM platform and releasing a software upgrade that doubles the downstream capacity of its existing CMTS platform, as the vendor tries to align itself with the industry's evolution to the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) headend spec.

CableLabs's CCAP initiative, which integrates the functions of broadcast and narrowcast quadrature amplitude modulators (QAMs) and DOCSIS 3.0 interfaces, synthesizes previous headend-consolidation projects that were under way at Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Motorola says it will help MSOs "target appropriate headends" in high-demand regions for a CCAP migration, as they start looking to bond more than eight downstream channels per serving group. Most operators have deployed, at most, four downstream DOCSIS 3.0 channels.

"When you look at the shift to IP [video], that will happen over time. It's an evolutionary story not a revolutionary one," said Floyd Wagoner, director of global product marketing for network infrastructure. "The increase in capacity of our current CMTS environment can handle early phases [of CCAP]."

Wagoner said Motorola's next-generation Video Services Platform (VSP) is still in development, on track to begin trials by the end of 2011. The vendor is initially targeting 96 channels per downstream blade for the VSP, but he declined to provide additional details. "Our science is right -- we just have to work on port densities," he said.

Paving the way to CCAP is the company's APEX3000 Universal Edge QAM, which supports 384 QAM channels per rack-unit -- or a total of 1,536 QAM channels per 4-RU chassis.

Two APEX3000s can replace two entire racks of the previous-generation APEX1500, saving 20 rack units of space, 280 cable runs and cutting power consumption per QAM (less than 1 watt at maximum capacity) by 72%, according to Motorola. In addition, the APEX3000 provides 12 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports (eight primary ports and four backups).

On the CMTS front, Motorola is releasing "TXPlus," a software upgrade for the TX32 decoupled downstream module that doubles its capacity to 64 DOCSIS 3.0 channels -- for a total of 384 downstream channels in a single BSR 64000 cable modem termination system.

Other Motorola announcements and demos at the show include:

* A hosted client app for the Televation device for transcoding and slinging linear cable TV channels to devices inside a subscriber's home, which Motorola Mobility announced this summer at the Cable Show. The hosted app -- aimed at small and midsize operators -- provides servers to provide the Televation user interface, log capture and code download. Operationally, the setup allows operators to support the Televation units the same way they support their existing base of set-tops.

* A demo of an HTML5-based user interface, based on the platform from Swedish developer Dreampark, which Motorola acquired earlier this year. Initially the vendor is implementing the Dreampark UI on Motorola's DCX3600 set-top.

* A new family of multiwavelength transmitters includes a 85 MHz digital return system that is DOCSIS 3.0 compliant and 256QAM-capable, and features an SFP-based design that supports CWDM, DWDM and 1310 all with the same host transmitter. According to Motorola, operators can deploy the digital return transmitter at any split.

* A version of the 4Home home-monitoring software platform designed for cable operators. Motorola's 4Home -- initially deployed by Verizon Communications this fall -- provides "smart home features" that allow broadband subscribers to control lights, thermostats and door locks remotely. The cable version of 4Home is tailored to CableLabs' OpenCable Applications Platform (OCAP) spec, said Nate Williams, senior director of product marketing in Motorola Mobility's Converged Experiences group.

* The new MOTr modular Hub, a hub replacement solution that provides both full spectrum and legacy broadcast/narrowcast implementations. The MOTr can let operators implement distributed network segmentation, balance passive losses, and add additional capabilities such as RFoG, Ethernet aggregation, and traditional HFC node functions.

Google is in the process of acquiring Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, a deal expected to close by April 2012.