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IPv6 Trend in Cable Modems

If you read CableLabs’ most recent modem certification report (and really, why wouldn’t you?) you’ll notice that more and more of the hardware certified is IPv6-compliant. In fact, in the last two cert waves, all of the modems certified are listed as supporting the newer protocol.

Depending on which reports you read, we’re on a course to run out of IPv4 addresses some time in the next two to twelve months. This likely won’t have a major effect on consumers, but ISPs have had to get aggressive about managing the transition, and that includes making sure modem manufacturers are supporting the switch. Luckily, the migration to DOCSIS 3.0 created a window for IPv6 upgrades as well. It’s nice when the timing works out.

The most recent CableLabs certification wave, CW 79, included four new D3 modems. Among them- the Motorola SVG7540 voice gateway. In addition to being IPv6 compliant, the SVG7540 was certified for DOCSIS 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, as well as PacketCable 1.0 and 1.5.

Cox Case Study on Better Set-Top Provisioning

It’s been more than a year since I last talked about the Motorola OffLine Loader, the OLL1000, but a new video case study with Cox makes it a good time to revisit the technology as deployed by an actual customer. In brief, the OLL1000 supports high-speed code downloads to set-tops in a secure offline warehouse environment. This solves the bandwidth challenges of provisioning boxes on a live HFC network, and allows operators to pre-load a large number of set-tops before a planned code upgrade.

Cox Communications in the Orange Coast area serves roughly 340,000 households, and provisions between 500 and 700 set-tops a day. Those set-tops include 13 different models, all of which can now be provisioned in bulk and sent out for field use thanks to the OffLine Loader. According to execs, the OffLine Loader paid for itself twice over in one year just in warehouse savings. And as you’ll see from the video above, it’s provided other benefits as well.

For background on the Motorola OLL1000, check out this post from 2009. You can see the official product page here. [PDF link]

New Remote Controls at IBC

The big focus at IBC for Motorola is the introduction of multi-screen TV management solutions, but that doesn’t mean hardware completely takes a back seat. In fact, Motorola introduced several new IPTV remote controls today, including a full-keyboard QWERTY remote! Check out the details and pics below. In addition to the keyboard remote, there’s the eco-friendly NYXgreen, and two mid-range units, including one with backlit buttons.

NYXboard: The NYXboard combines the traditional remote control form with a full keyboard to create a more intuitive navigational experience for sophisticated interactive TV services as well as traditional linear TV. Able to control both the set-top and television set, the NYXboard has sensors to recognise which side of the remote is being used in order to activate the buttons accordingly.

NYXgreen: The NYXgreen and dock is Motorola’s environmentally friendly RCU option. Eliminating traditional batteries, the RCU is powered by super capacitors, which can last for up to two weeks of use after charging via USB for just 60 seconds.

Also on show at IBC is the high quality mid-range M-TREM and the MRCU180-BL, which adds backlighting to the buttons on this already popular unit. Both the M-TREM and MRCU180-BL are available to ship today.

Promo Timbuktu Software Offer with Cable Modems

It’s not often I get to talk about retail products, but cable modems are one exception to the rule. Along those lines, Motorola has launched a promotion today for anyone who buys a retail SB5101 or award-winning SB6120 series modem. With a modem purchase, you can get 50% off Motorola’s Timbuktu remote control software. Install Timbuktu on multiple computers, and you can remotely control desktops for demos, tech support, and more.

Timbuktu originated out of Netopia, which Motorola acquired back in 2007. It may seem far afield from the typical range of products in the Home business, but when you consider the increased focus on service assurance and diagnosing Internet-related problems in the home, it makes a lot of sense.

The Motorola software comes in three different versions, and can be purchased for as few as two computers or for more than 100 in an enterprise environment. A twinpack regularly costs about $70, $90, and $100 for Windows, Mac, and Multiplatform versions respectively. The half-off discount is a nice little back-to-school bonus if you’re in the market for a modem upgrade.

The Cable Show 2010 in Photos

It’s always hectic at a trade show, and difficult to find time to browse any booth. Luckily I got an early entrance into the exhibit hall the first day and was able to shoot pics before the booth got crowded. See the gallery below for shots of Motorola’s Medios reference TV UI across multiple set-tops, TVs, PCs, and mobile handsets; key elements of the access networks portfolio; 3D TV watchers; and a news TV broadcast that took place in the booth. I also included bonus pics from the Maroon 5 concert the NCTA hosted at Universal Studios last Wednesday night. The L.A. location had its benefits.

New Motorola Set-Top with 500GB Storage, MoCA 1.1 & DOCSIS Modem

The latest leaner-meaner-greener set-top is here. Today at The Cable Show, Motorola announced the new DCX3501-M, an HD multiroom-DVR set-top with 500GB of on-board storage. The new set-top supports tru2way, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, and storage expansion via eSATA.

It’s interesting to watch the new numbers war start up around set-top hard drive capacity. If one operator offers 320GB, another has to come out with half a terabyte of storage. Although television services can rarely be evaluated fairly in such stark terms, from an advertising perspective, simple number comparisons are exceedingly powerful.

Other specs for the new Motorola DCX3501-M:

  • Integrated MoCA 1.1
  • 512MB DRAM
  • DOCSIS 2.0+ embedded cable modem with support for downstream channel bonding (Note: no operator has asked for this functionality yet)

Mark of Excellence Award for Motorola D3 Gateway

The Mark of Excellence awards are out again from the Consumer Electronics Association, and this year Motorola’s nabbed one for the Motorola SBG6580 SURFboard eXtreme Wireless Cable Modem. The SBG6580 was announced back in October and wrapped up DOCSIS 3.0 certification last December. It includes a D3 modem, 802.11n access point, four Ethernet ports, and firewall capabilities. The gateway picked up Gold in the CEA’s Structured Wiring category.