CES2011- CableLabs discusses HD voice CAT-iq interop, more events in 2011

Last week in Las Vegas, CableLabs Vice President (Access Network Technologies) Dan Rice shared his impressions of the organization’s December 2010 CAT-iq interop event and how future events should culminate in equipment certification for HD voice and CAT-iq.

Rice characterized the December CAT-iq event as a relatively “informal” gathering that “stuck to basic calling features and basic HD voice calls… that all seemed to work very well.”  While 8 vendors participated, others were unable to attend due in part to commitments with other CableLabs interop events falling within two weeks of the CAT-iq event.

Another more formal interop event is scheduled for this spring. “The first time was more of a plugfest,” said Rice. “We tested lightly very successfully…. In the second interop, we’ll have more automated scripts… I think we’ll find a lot more testing against specs.”  Signaling and media traffic interfaces will get a workout through the DECT radio interface, but the organization won’t be certifying the actual DECT interface.

One area of contention between service providers not directly related to interoperability is CPE packaging and bundling.

“Do you keep the CPE costs as low as possible with options or do you integrate [CAT-iq]?,” Rice said.  “Some big MSOs think integrated is the way to go, a couple would like to have modular equipment.”

Options range from an integrated gateway that would simplify customer service turn up and technical support issues to a modular solution that would use a dongle to add CAT-iq to a lower-cost piece of gear.

Assuming no hanging ups coming out of the more formal interop event this spring, CableLabs expects to start certifying gear in the second half of the year.

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