Fiber optimization: InnoTrans Communications
Where it's based: San Jose, Calif.
When it was founded: 2006
Why it's Fierce: Cable's flexible HFC networks were built from the start to be split into smaller segments to meet increased subscriber demand. Even so, no one in the industry-or anywhere else for that matter-could have anticipated the onslaught of demand for broadband that threatens to overwhelm today's cable nodes.
Cox and most cable operators built flexible HFC systems designed to grow with future demand. Also like most cable operators, the Atlanta-based MSO was caught somewhat by surprise by the explosive demand for broadband. On top of everything else, Cox had built an efficient and reliable ring-in-ring fiber plant that was great for maintaining service levels but made node splitting difficult, at the least.
"There was really no easy way for them to subdivide and go fiber deep with the fiber network that was there," said Mani Ramachandran, CEO of InnoTrans, which developed a method of multiwave transport that used existing network architecture to segment data packets and target them to specific areas. With multiple waves on the same fiber, the MSO was able to efficiently split data packets for delivery to different locations within the nodes without changing out expensive electronics or reconfiguring the fiber.
"InnoTrans really solved that problem for the industry and that's our standard going forward," said Ken Williams, director of engineering at Cox.