Cheap Hardware Wanted

By Ellen Muraskin  |  Posted 2004-07-14 Print this article Print

Any designs geared for business not only must comply with existing CableLabs DOCSIS 2.0 and PacketCable 1.0 VOIP specifications, but also must meet higher standards for business use. The ML-MTAs must survive the higher temperatures of utility closets, be wall-mountable or rackable, and provide alarms on malfunction, PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) failover and management tools. Click here to read about an Ultraband line of switch routers from Advent Networks that boosts cable IP performance.
The impetus for the RFP came out of CableLabs Commercial Services Roundtable, a cable industry working group developed "to discuss common needs," Bennington said. Cox was the first to announce that it would put out an RFP for a multiline MTA. When others announced similar interest, the roundtable decided to make CableLabs the focal point for that process.
"In this way, we could get enough uniformity so that it would make economic sense for a vendor to produce the product and sell to a dozen members, rather than designing to sell to one member a dozen times," Bennington said. CableLabs also intends for the process to consolidate the market to a few vendors and get the price down low enough for the operators to bundle the equipment with service. CableLabs RFP contains a minimal set of requirements for the ML-MTA, which—in addition to DOCSIS and PacketCable VOIP conformance—include Ethernet connectivity, support for at least eight concurrent phone conversations, upstream data throughput with mixed frame sizes of 1.5 Mbps and downstream data throughput with mixed frame sizes of 5 Mbps, while all telephony connections are in use. Further requirements should come out of the proposals submitted by vendors. The full RFP can be viewed here in PDF form. Check out eWEEK.coms VOIP & Telephony Center at for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.

Ellen Muraskin is editor of's VOIP & Telephony Center. She has worked on the editorial staff at Computer Telephony, since renamed Communications Convergence, including three years as executive editor. Muraskin's work has also appeared in Popular Science magazine and other publications.

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