ZyXEL's David Thompson on CPE, IPv6, and the powerline networking resurgence

David Thompson, ZyXELThe next-generation broadband industry is cooking these days, with increasing speeds, increasing bandwidth demands, and technological innovation struggling to keep up with new consumer demands in capacity and technology.

FierceTelecom recently spoke with David Thompson, product marketing director for ZyXEL. Based in Taiwan with a U.S. subsidiary in Anaheim, Calif., ZyXEL is one of the top four VDSL vendors in the world and has a significant presence in the HPNA and powerline networking space. Thompson spoke with us about the company's recent CPE (customer premise equipment) implementation for a U.S. Tier 1 carrier, their IPv6 readiness, and their view of the resurgent powerline networking space.

FierceTelecom: Tier 1 implementation: Were there any challenges to the implementation?
Thompson: There were definitely some challenges. To the extent that combined with the customer we ended up making some recommendations and proposals back to the Broadband Forum to effect some of the TRs (Technical Reports). Including some more recent TRs such as local speed tests on the CPE implementation, we found needed a little more work than what had been done in the working groups and actually in the field, and came up with some new recommendations and suggestions for implementation. That's fully implemented in our device and those are getting discussed in the Broadband Forum meetings for potential inclusion and amendment to various Technical Reports. ...Sometimes it seems like you've got a standard (so) it should be really easy, everybody could just build to it and go, but if that worked we wouldn't still see, for example, you open a Web page with one browser and it doesn't look the same as when you open it with another one. It's getting better but still needs some work.

They had an awful lot of customization requests, some little tweaks here and there, far more than just the default settings of a turnkey device. They also had a complete GUI that they wanted to use so their tech support does not have to learn intricate details between one device that they send out to the field and another they're fairly familiar with the look and feel, and that keeps the customer experience much stronger. ...We're proud of our own GUI, but we're more than glad to do a change like that for them. That's not been the case with everyone. BellSouth years ago specified a GUI but they ended up pushing that to Broadband Forum so (they) made manufacturers just code exactly what they asked for, so that spec actually got implemented a number of different ways. You still had to do it device by device.