Washington -- Arris scored on a couple of fronts with its largest customer as the vendor announced Monday that Comcast has begun to deploy Arris’s next-gen cable access network platform as well as an IP-capable video gateway that serves as the centerpiece of the MSO’s new X1 platform.
On the network side, Comcast has taken the Arris E6000 Converged Edge Router from trials to initial commercial deployments. The E6000 CER, unveiled by Arris in October 2012, is starting off as a dense cable modem termination system (CMTS), but the vendor will later integrate edge QAM capabilities that will morph the E6000 into a device that will meet the specs for the budding Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP).
Comcast and other MSOs are looking for superdense CCAP access network gear to reduce per-port costs, reduce headend space and cut down power and cooling requirements as they migrate to a platform that puts all services under one roof and sets the stage for an all-IP transition.
“Comcast’s subscribers are trendsetters in driving today’s IP-enabled interactive and connected experience throughout the home and on multiple screens,” said Rob Slinkard, Comcast Cable’s SVP of product management for communications and data services, in a statement. “The Arris E6000 CER further optimizes our network and becomes part of Comcast’s ongoing and evolving effort to take advantage of IP technology to constantly bring new innovations to market.”
Comcast and Arris did not identify how many E6000s are being rolled out in the early phases of the MSO’s rollout. The first revenues tied to the E6000 started to trickle in for Arris during the first quarter of 2013.
Arris, along with Cisco, Casa Systems, Harmonic, and CommScope, are all chasing a CCAP market that could be worth more than $1 billion by 2017, according to a forecast from Multimedia Research Group.
Separately, Arris announced that Comcast will launch the supplier’s XG1 gateway in the third quarter to support the X1, a next-gen video platform that features a cloud-based interface.
The XG1, based on Comcast’s Reference Design Kit, is a “headed” hybrid QAM/IP video gateway. In January, Arris unveiled a “headless” version based on the RDK called the MG2402 (or the XG5 in RDK parlance) that bakes in an Intel-made DOCSIS 3.0 chipset that can bond up to 24 downstream channels – enough to deliver speed bursts of up to 960 Megabits per second – and a video transcoder from Zenverge that turns QAM video into IP streams that can be distributed to tablets and other devices via the home network.
Arris marks the second set-top maker to join the X1 deployment mix. Comcast has launched X1 in ten markets and expects to have it available in all major markets by the end of the year. Comcast’s initial X1 deployments have been based on the Pace-made box. Comcast is adding multi-room DVR capabilities to the X1 this month.
”The ARRIS commitment to integrating hardware and software solutions in support of our RDK initiative has been instrumental in expanding the Comcast X1 experience,” said Steve Reynolds, SVP of customer premise equipment and home network at Comcast, in a statement.