Arris Targets 16-Channel DOCSIS 3.0 Gateway For Q4

Arris Group is aiming to ship its Touchstone Telephony Gateway TG1672 -- which features dual-band Wi-Fi and uses Intel's Puma 6 DOCSIS 3.0 chipset with support for up to 16 downstream bonded channels to deliver up to 640 Megabits per second -- in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The next-generation voice-data modem gateway's dual-band Wi-Fi provides greater in-home wireless network range and throughput, and also supports integrated Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) 1.1. In addition, the TG1672 can bond four upstream channels for up to 120 Mbps.

Derek Elder, senior vice president of Arris's Touchstone business unit, said a key feature of the TG1672 is its support for 802.11n Wi-Fi, which uses 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

"One of the things that is most challenging for the operators is whole-home coverage, and ensuring their customers... don't have dead spots," he said, predicting that MSOs will begin to widely deploy dual-band Wi-Fi gateways in 2013.

The new gateway uses wireless silicon from Celeno Communications that enhance the rate and range of Wi-Fi through an advanced beam-forming multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) technology.

While the Arris TG1672 provides up to 16 downstream bonded channels, Intel's Puma 6 DOCSIS 3.0 chipset supports up to 24 downstream channels, for up to 960 Mbps down. Intel acquired Texas Instruments' DOCSIS silicon business in 2010.

Arris is shooting to deliver production units by the fourth quarter, with the schedule gated by mass production the Puma 6 chipsets, Elder said. Compared with Arris's current-generation telephony gateways, the primary driver of additional cost in the TG1672 comes from from adding the second Wi-Fi radio and the MoCA chip, he said.

The company also will have two other versions in the line: the TG1662, which will omit MoCA, and the TG1682, which will include an integrated DECT radio for cordless phones.

With support for 640 Mbps of throughput downstream, the TG1672 could be a stepping stone for cable operators to offer full IPTV to customers, Elder said: "You could envision simply having a MoCA-enabled client in the home" to receive IP video.

In addition, the support for 16 downstream channels will allow MSOs to load-balance DOCSIS services across subscribers in a service group, according to Arris. "There is a huge benefit to these huge bonding groups for lower-speed tiers," Elder said.

Arris plans to show off the TG1672 at the 2012 Cable Show in Boston May 21-23.