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Broadcom Blows Past 1 Gig With D3 Gateway Chip

Broadcom has unleashed the fi rst gateway chipset to house a DOCSIS 3.0 modem that can bond 32 downstream channels, enough to deliver downstream bursts of more than 1 Gigabit per second.

The Broadcom BCM7145, a system-on-chip (SoC) for “headed” hybrid IP/QAM video gateways, can pump out max downstream speeds of 1.6 Gbps in EuroDOCSIS networks that use 8-MHz-wide channels, and at 1.2-Gbps speeds in North American DOCSIS networks outfi tted with 6-MHz-wide channels. That’s paired with the ability to bond up to eight upstream channels — enough for bursts of about 320 Mbps.

The BCM7145’s 32x8 DOCSIS 3.0 channel bonding capability essentially leapfrogs the 24x8 media gateway confi guration of the Intel Puma 6, a chipset that was introduced about a year ago and reached production earlier this year.

Like Intel’s Puma 6, Broadcom’s new chipset isn’t targeted for stand-alone cable modems, but more for advanced video-capable gateways that can support both QAM and IP-based services. The BCM7145 also includes an H.265/High-Effi ciency Video Coding (HEVC) decoder that will come in handy as MSOs pursue Ultra HD/4K video services. H.265 is expected to be about 50% more bandwidth-effi cient than MPEG-4/H.264.

The chipset also supports version 2.0 of the Multimedia over Cable Alliance (MoCA) platform, which can pump out about 800 Mbps on the home’s coax network, as well as 802.11ac, a new version of Wi-Fi that is targeting wireless speeds of greater than 1 Gbps. Such home networking technologies will enter play as consumers stream more HD video to tablets, PCs, set-tops, gaming consoles and smartphones hanging off the home network. With the native IP capabilities factored in, Broadcom said, the new gateway SoC can stream content simultaneously to more than 10 video clients.

Broadcom’s chipset is designed for “headed” set-top-like gateways with TV video outputs and video rendering capabilities. “Headless” gateways, by comparison, don’t handle the video rendering tasks, but pass signals along to settops, tablets and other devices that output the actual video.

Broadcom said customers are already sampling the BCM7145. It is slated for volume production by 2014.

Although Broadcom’s latest entry currently has Intel beat on downstream channel bonding capabilities, Intel’s Puma 6 chips have already been integrated into multiple gateway products. Hitron Technologies and Netgear, for example, recently obtained CableLabs certifi cations for D3 gateways powered by the Puma 6.