CableLabs® Concludes Milestone Modem Certification Wave
Louisville, Colorado, December 15, 2000—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) announced today that it has concluded the first certification wave covering two generations of high-speed cable modems and cable modem termination system (CMTS) equipment. The modems are part of the Data over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS™) program for versions 1.0 and 1.1.
Five companies—Ambit, D-Link, Elsa, Toshiba, and Zoom—were re-certified for modems that adhere to the 1.0 specification. Two companies—Cisco Systems and RiverDelta—were re-qualified for their CMTS equipment.
These announcements mean that more than 100 version 1.0 cable high-speed data devices have been certified by CableLabs for retail sale. Included in this ever-increasing array of certified cable modems are PCI (peripheral component interface) modems, which are built inside personal computers by manufacturers.
There are several major differences between products under DOCSIS 1.0 and the next revision, DOCSIS 1.1, which builds upon, and is compatible with, DOCSIS 1.0. Chief among these differences is that 1.1 modems have increased capabilities to facilitate delivery of multimedia services, such as voice communications, video telephone calls, and interactive games.
"Having more DOCSIS 1.0 modems and seeing the successes by these other companies as reflected in the 1.0 results is greatly encouraging," said Dr. Richard R. Green, president and CEO of CableLabs. "I am very happy with the strong support being shown in this early wave for the next generation modems," Green added.
"Our proven 1.0 process will, I am sure, prove as effective in getting 1.1 products into our laboratory and out into the market as rapidly," said Rouzbeh Yassini, executive consultant to CableLabs and the head of the DOCSIS project. "We had seven suppliers in this wave with 1.1 products, and, without their help we would not have achieved the significant progress that we have made," Yassini said. "Our members are greatly focused on deploying this next generation of modems and we will continue working and testing DOCSIS 1.1 products in the coming months," Yassini added.
Because of the complexity of 1.1 testing, each certification wave in 2001 will be extended by several weeks to allow for complete tests. There will be four certification waves next year, each of which will be designed to accommodate 1.0 and 1.1 devices.
Of the 1.0 modems certified, Ambit's is a PCI modem, Toshiba's modem is a combination Ethernet and universal serial bus (USB), and the Zoom modem is a USB device. The USB connection is being built into the majority of computers that are being shipped today. The USB connection in a modem allows consumers to plug an always-connected cable modem into their computer's USB connection without requiring a separate Ethernet card.
Certified modems are identifiable by a "CableLabs® Certified™" seal. This seal informs consumers and cable operators that a modem complies with the CableLabs' cable modem specification. It also assures that a modem will work together (interoperate) with qualified CMTSs and with other certified modems that are being deployed worldwide.
There are numerous different regional deployments by cable operators on their broadband networks using cable modem products from the more than one dozen companies producing CableLabs® Certified™ cable modems. The cable industry has created a complete retail certification standard in its data modem program from a standing start four years ago.
A Certification Review Board, comprised of representatives of CableLabs member companies, grants certification status to DOCSIS™-compliant modems, and qualified status to headend equipment, based on lab tests completed by CableLabs as well as on field data.
The qualification process provides the cable operator or broadband service provider with information on how the CMTS will interoperate with multiple vendors' certified cable modems using different silicon.
Qualification is based on the following factors: (1) Vendors provide a signed affidavit affirming that their CMTS meets the published specification and will interoperate with all CableLabs® Certified™ cable modems. (2) The CMTS has exhibited satisfactory performance in various cable operator field trials. (3) The CMTS has passed CableLabs' audit tests in the areas of interoperability, stability, and specification conformance. The qualification program will continue allowing more vendors' CMTS units to be qualified. Qualification does not constitute a CableLabs endorsement or recommendation to purchase. CableLabs member companies may purchase any CMTS they choose.
The DOCSIS effort has achieved widespread cable and vendor consensus on a series of definitions of key interconnection points in a cable data distribution network. It also has achieved North American (by the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers) and international (by the International Telecommunications Union) standardization using key elements of DOCSIS.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org, and www.opencable.com.
CableLabs® is a registered trademark of Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. Other CableLabs marks are listed at http://www.cablelabs.com/certqual/trademarks. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.