For Tal Laufer, director and product line manager for Arris’s line of bandwidth and capacity gear, it’s the middle of the high season for RFPs — requests for proposals. Multichannel video and broadband providers are always on the hunt for more network capacity, and especially more Internet-protocol bandwidth. Laufer works in the sweet spot of capacity-related technology, entrenched in the impressively nerdy world of CCAP (for Converged Cable Access Platform), passive optical networks (PONs), and the critically important components that will help operators worldwide deal with the sustained, 50-plus-percent per year growth in broadband service consumption. For those reasons, she’s MCN’s pick for Woman of Tech in the vendor/supplier category.
MCN: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Tal Laufer: Frankly, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be, which was a little bit surprising, as I normally know pretty well what I want! My attraction to technology started in high school, when I studied physics. I really enjoyed the practical work of building things in the lab.
MCN: First job in tech?
TL: During university, I started working as an intern doing chip design and verification at IBM Labs. I worked on their new generation of processors back then, and learned a lot. I came into our industry via BigBand Networks, which Arris acquired in 2011.
MCN: What’s the big thing for your organization in 2016?
TL: We’re focused on CCAP [Converged Cable Access Platform] enhancements, as video converges and DOCSIS 3.1 ramps up for our customers. We’re also dedicating a lot of time and effort into figuring out what will be the future network architecture that will fit the different cable operators around the world — centralized CCAP, distributed CCAP, PON evolution and beyond.
MCN: Favorite geek-out tech term(s)?
TL: My favorite is the first one I learned, coming into the industry: “To configure.” It sounds even weirder when you say it as a Hebrew word. I like how tech people use it for everything, from a hardware chip or router, to their chair, even their lunch!
MCN: Most important quality for women of tech to have?
TL: I think determination is very important, and also the ability to know your priorities — to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not. Those are good for men and women both, but for women, even more so.
MCN: Favorite book of all time?
TL: Atlas Shrugged at the moment, but it keeps changing!
MCN: Best advice you ever received?
TL: “You don’t always have to look at the highest peak you are trying to conquer. Sometimes it serves you better to just target the top of the nearest hill, and worry about the rest of the climb later.”
MCN: Favorite gadget/app?
TL: My phone, naturally, and my new Android watch. Though I can’t wait to see how the wearables technologies advance and provide even greater value to me.
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