Advent Networks Ultraband Boosts Cable IP Performance

Startup Advent Networks on Wednesday announced a line of Ultraband switches that promise business customers 40 percent more bandwidth than a T1 line at a little more than half the cost.

ANAHEIM, CALIF.—Corporations looking for alternatives to expensive T1 service may soon get benefits from an unlikely place—cable TV operators.

At the cable industrys Western Show 2003 here on Wednesday, networking startup Advent Networks Inc. of Austin, Texas, showed off its new Ultraband line of switch routers, designed to let cable operators increase cable modem bandwidth from 2 to 10 or more megabits per second.

Advents new Ultraband 8800 works by layering time-division multiplexing on top of a standard DOCSIS-based cable plant. According to President and CEO Geoffrey Tudor, that provides more bandwidth for each user by eliminating overhead, as well as guaranteeing packet delivery.

"Our latency is never over 1.5 milliseconds", Tudor said, which is much better than traditional cable modem plants. Guaranteeing packet delivery will let services such as IP telephony and even HDTV video be delivered via IP, rather than through traditional means.

Based on time slicing, Ultraband can also increase bandwidth dynamically as needed for the delivery of large files, or other transitory data needs, company officials said.

The Ultraband switch router—installed by cable network operators—will work with a number of standard DOCSIS. According to Tudor, his companys hardware will let cable operators deliver speeds of 10 megabits per second or greater to homes and businesses without changing the existing cable plant.

In Japan, Mitsubishi Corp. is already using Advents hardware to deliver that performance to home users for under $40 a month. A Mitsubishi representative in Advents booth confirmed the performance benefits, and said the company was very happy with the systems performance.

Time Warner Inc. is already using Ultraband equipment to provide IP service to business customers in Austin Texas. One of the first customers is IBMs Austin-based research lab.

In general, Tudor estimates that companies will pay "thirty to forty percent less on a monthly basis for thirty to forty percent more performance."

Available today, Advent officials expects that three of the top four cable operators will be using the companys equipment within the next six months.