Cohere Becomes Gainspeed

Cohere Networks has a new name, but the cable technology startup is still being as secretive as ever as its execs prepare to hit The Cable Show in Washington, D.C.   

The cable access network firm, started up by Terayon Communications co-founder Shlomo Rakib, blasted out an email message Friday alerting recipients that the company has changed its name to Gainspeed, launched a new Web site, secured its own Twitter handle (@gainspeedinc), and added a LinkedIn profile.

“We are excited to let you know that we are making great strides and our efforts are right on track,” Gainspeed said in its communique. “Gainspeed is redefining how cable networks are built,” the new site declares. “Delivering unmatched price and performance while enabling Cable Operators to move to a software-driven all-IP architecture,” it notes elsewhere.

But, as has been its custom, the company is also sharing very little public information about what this purported next-generation cable platform actually is, beyond the hyperbole, anyway. However, the new site has more hard information than the teaser site it was operating as of earlier this week when the company was still known as Cohere:

But Gainspeed, led by CEO Drew Perkins, the former chief technology officer of Infinera, can afford to be secretive. It’s flush. The company landed $22.8 million in funding last fall, marking a rare, recent investment in a startup whose core focus is cable. Andreessen Horowitz, a firm founded by Marc Andreessen, Shasta Ventures, and New Enterprise Associates are among its backers. 

As for the technology the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company is  developing, multiple industry sources have said Gainspeed is developing a “micro” cable modem termination system  (CMTS) platform designed to keep the digital signal intact down to the node, make the network more efficient and support faster speeds. This architecture could be targeting DOCSIS 3.1, a budding CableLabs spec that is shooting for multi-gigabit downstream capacities and upstream speeds up to 1 Gbps.

As for other recent hints hiding out in the open, Rakib, a DOCSIS pioneer in his own right, was awarded a patent (No. 8,311,412) last year that described a distributed device called the Cable Modem Remote Termination System (CMRTS) and a “method for enhancing the data carrying capacity” of the cable network.

Don’t expect a big announcement next week that will reveal all about Gainspeed’s technology and strategy. Company chief strategy officer Jeff White confirmed that the vendor does not plan to announce anything at The Cable Show.

Beyond the new name, the actual other “new” news is a listing of Gainspeed’s advisors and executive advisors, which is full of cable engineering vets, execs and industry technology all-stars.

Advisors include:

  • Bob Harris, former VP of network planning and architecture, Time Warner Cable;
  • Chris Bowick, former CTO of Cox Communications and Charter Communications;
  • Steve Craddock, former SVP of technology at Comcast;
  • Sudhir Ispahani, former CTO and chairman of the technology board for Liberty Global, Europe; and,
  • Tom Staniec, a “special advisor” to Gainspeed, and the former VP of network engineering at TW Cable.

Executive Advisors:

  • Dan Moloney, former president of Motorola Home and Motorola Mobility;
  • David Holly, former president of JDSU, cable networks division;
  • Frank Marshall, early stage technology investor;
  • Jim Henderson, former VP of strategic procurement at Comcast Cable, and former VP of corporate strategy and development at  Charter Communications;
  • William Markey, president, RCBG