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Cisco pushes products for cable voice and video deployment

Cisco Systems has begun a major product push to equip cable operators for evolving services such as voice and video.

To help support the new services, Cisco rolled out a version of its Broadband Processing Engine (BPE) for the UBR7246VXR, a CMTS (cable modem termination system) that now can support 12,000 cable modems per chassis.

A higher-capacity version of the BPE was introduced in December for the UBR10012, a larger CMTS that can support 80,000 modems per chassis for densely populated urban areas. The BPEs can be used to upgrade thousands of Cisco CMTSes already in use.

The BPE can offload processing tasks from the central processor of a CMTS to the interface cards, boosting the platform's performance. It also can perform advanced functions such as deep packet inspection, subscriber management and application recognition.

These advanced features can help operators solve the problem of peer-to-peer file-sharing applications taking up too much upstream bandwidth. 

Used along with new software features being introduced in Cisco's IOS (Internetwork Operating System), the BPE will let cable operators identify which of 85 types of applications are being used by a customer and how much bandwidth that application is consuming.

If it found a bandwidth hog, the operator could warn the customer, bump the customer up to a higher level of service that costs more or cut back on the amount of bandwidth available to the application. Operators will also be able to code their own application descriptions.

The same tools could be used to allocate more capacity specifically for video or voice traffic.

The BPE for the UBR7246VXR is due to ship in the third quarter, priced starting at $50,000. The additional IOS features also will ship in the third quarter, although pricing for the features was not immediately available.

For voice-over-cable services, Cisco introduced provisioning services and a bundle of its own and third-party products, all designed to help operators set up these services.

To help cable operators roll out video-on-demand services to broadband customers, Cisco introduced software and optical network components that can integrate a video delivery system more tightly with a typical Ethernet data network.

Video on demand typically is delivered over one-way networks that require some manual coding for setup, said Paul Sanchirico, senior director of Cisco's video networking business unit.

Most of the traffic in video-on-demand services flows downstream to the end user, but commands need to come upstream to control it.

Cisco's products use some unidirectional interfaces for cost savings but can work closely with the rest of the network without special coding. They let operators continue to use dense wave-division multiplexing(DWDM) on an optical network to deliver the traffic.

The company introduced DWDM optical components that can be plugged directly into Cisco Catalyst series switches. These eliminate the need for a transponder platform, a separate device. A version of the optical component that can both send and receive data will cost $6,995. A receive-only version will cost $995.

Cisco also announced the ONS 15216 FlexLayer optical filter platform. An optical filter can combine many wavelengths of light on a single fibre or split them apart. This is Cisco's first modular filter with one-way interface modules, which generally are less expensive than two-way modules.

An ONS 15216 FlexLayer platform can be made bidirectional by equipping it with some unidirectional interfaces going in and some going out.

All the video offerings will be available in the third quarter of this year and are being tested in conjunction with makers of video servers and of quadrature amplitude modulation systems.


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