Cable Show 2012: Intel Previews 1-Gig DOCSIS Chip

Intel is giving the next-generation Puma 6 DOCSIS 3.0 chip -- which delivers downstream speeds of nearly 1 Gigabit per second -- its first public showing, promising to hit volume production before the end of 2012.

The Puma 6 Media Gateway can bond up to 24 downstream DOCSIS channels, for a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 960 Megabits per second; that's compared with four to eight channels in a typical DOCSIS 3.0 deployment today. On the upstream side, the chip provides eight bonded channels, for up to 240 Mbps, which is double current-generation modems.

Alan Crouch, general manager of Intel's service provider division, said the company is providing engineering samples now, with production volumes expected later in 2012.

"We see this on a fast ramp," he said. "We expect products in early 2013."

Arris Group is using a 16-by-4 version of the Puma 6 in its Touchstone Telephony Gateway TG1672, for up to 640 Mbps down and 120 Mbps up. The TG1672, which also features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, is targeted for fourth quarter availability. In addition, Taiwanese manufacturer Hitron Technologies is developing cable modem based on the Puma 6 that it plans to demo at the Cable Show.

According to Intel, Korean cable operator SK Broadband targeting deployment of a 1-Gbps DOCSIS network in 2013.

"SK Broadband is proud to lead the world in piloting a 1 Gigabit Internet experience," Dae Chul Noh, team leader of the operator's network division, said in a statement. "Our customers use these lightning-fast Internet speeds for high-definition TV, multiplayer gaming, videoconferencing and more."

Intel acquired Texas Instruments' DOCSIS silicon business in 2010. All told, 20 million DOCSIS 3.0 systems have shipped to date since the Puma 5 was introduced in 2007. Intel's primary competitor in the market is Broadcom.

Separately, Intel at the Cable Show will be demonstrating Comcast's Xfinity X1 service, which uses a Pace-manufactured headed gateway demo powered by Intel's CE 4200 media processor.