Arris International’s roots are buried deep in the cable industry, but it has expanded to include much more, selling products into the satellite and telco industries as well.
“We’re spreading our wings way beyond cable,” said Tom Cloonan, CTO of Network Solutions at Arris.
Arris’ presence in the wireless industry will expand even more once CommScope completes its acquisition of the company. Last November, CommScope announced it was acquiring Arris for about $7.4 billion; the transaction is on track to close in the first half of this year.
Since it’s not a done deal, Cloonan couldn’t speak too much about what the combined entity will look like, but looking at the product sets from the two companies, one can draw some conclusions.
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Arris acquired Wi-Fi access point supplier Ruckus Wireless from Broadcom in 2017, but that was only one in a string of acquisitions for the company. Previous acquisitions included Cadant, C-COR, BigBand Networks, Motorola Mobility and Pace, to name a few.
CommScope has been a well-known fixture in the wireless industry, supplying everything from backhaul to macro and small cells. It more recently expanded into the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) space, where it has forged a partnership with Google.
CBRS, LTE and 5G are all part of the future. “We know we’re going to be more than just a provider to Wi-Fi access points,” Cloonan told FierceWirelessTech.
Cloonan said he’s a big fan of the CBRS ecosystem, and believes it has a lot of promise. “To me, it’s kind of like Wi-Fi on steroids,” he said. In fact, he’s confident it will take off, and other countries will adopt some form of it. They might not use the same spectrum, but they are likely to adopt similar models or concepts, he said.
Latency, both upstream and downstream, is a big area of focus for operators in the next three to five years, and it’s an area that Arris is pursuing through its R&D programs. Getting latency down to 1 millisecond is a good goal, and less is even better, he said.
The applications for ultra-low latency are many, including virtual reality and e-gaming, and the number of homes with gamers is growing to immense levels, along with the number of people watching them. Other areas where low latency will be important include autonomous cars and 5G backhaul. “There’s just a large array of applications that will need lower latency,” he said.
CommScope in February announced the top leadership succession at the combined company, but has not shared details about Cloonan’s role. In a statement provided to FierceWirelessTech, the company said the combination will accelerate Arris’ aim to help shape communications connectivity and networks in the future, and the work Cloonan is leading with his team is an important component of this. CommScope also said it intends to build on the strengths of Arris, and the Arris brand will continue to be used when the deal closes.