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5 August 2019

Commscope needs to address product confusion with new subsidiary Arris

Some confusion surrounds the overlapping product portfolios of Arris and new parent company Commscope. Commscope has just launched a new Remote PHY device for the burgeoning distributed access architecture (DAA) market, called the RD1322 2×2, enabling operators to harness existing network infrastructure to ultimately achieve 10G services.

It appears the new Commscope RD1322 2×2 avoids stepping on the toes of its subsidiary, and vice versa, because the R-PHY device plugs directly into the vendor’s existing base of NC4- and OM4-series fiber nodes. This relates to a specific area of Outside Plant (OSP) DAA products, designed to allow operators to build upon their installed base of nodes to make waves in Extended Spectrum DOCSIS (ESD), Full Duplex DOCSIS (FDX), DAA, Remote PON, Wireless Backhaul, DOCSIS 3.1 and more. Commscope notes this is especially valuable in the labor-intensive OSP domain.

Operators have a variety of paths down which they can direct their capex dollars as they shift towards the edge of the network. Commscope’s appeal is that its optical node footprint at Tier 1 cablecos is already one of the largest the world over.

Commscope’s 10G roadmap comprises an expanding portfolio of traditional and DAA OSP products, along with wired and wireless CPE and Inside Plant (ISP) technologies. Whereas if we take a look at the Arris DAA portfolio, the roadmap is naturally more geared towards video, most recently at Anga Com unveiling a new low latency DOCSIS system demoing IP video running alongside traditional QAM video over an EPON channel at 10 Gbps.

Elements of uncertainty remain however as the announcement never highlighted the difference between the latest product and previous versions. Arris said at the time that both the low latency DOCSIS and software-configurable Frequency Division Duplex (Soft FDD) technologies are “future technology demos” – so presumably proof of concept products in the finishing stages of being readied for trials.

Commscope has also been demoing one millisecond latencies using DOCSIS 3.1, smashing the standard latency range of 25 milliseconds to 35 milliseconds.

Arris has described its strategy as one of a “graceful migration”, leveraging the installed base of robust E-6000 I-CCAP edge routers as well as fully virtualized version of this product. Arris also pegs itself as a major supplier of plant fiber nodes but it’s unclear if this is organic Arris or Commscope, or both.

“As global operators continue to invest in tomorrow’s 10G networks, the outside plant will represent a primary budget focus,” said Kevin Keefe, SVP and segment leader of Commscope’s Network & Cloud division. “Our RD1322 2×2 RPD is the answer for operators looking to maximize their existing infrastructure to deliver tomorrow’s networks and services as quickly as possible.”