Comcast Taps Arris, Technicolor for ‘XB6’ Gateways: Sources

Comcast has tapped Arris and Technicolor as its first two suppliers for the XB6, a DOCSIS 3.1-powered, multi-gigabit advanced gateway that the MSO plans to start rolling out in the first quarter of 2017, according to multiple industry sources.

Comcast declined to name its XB6 suppliers, but confirmed that its first version of the product will employ Intel’s Corp.’s Puma 7 chipset, and that it is also designing a version that will run on silicon from Broadcom. 

Sources said the first Intel-based XB6 model is being made by Arris, and that Technicolor is working on the Broadcom-based model.

Though Comcast is sourcing those products to Arris and Technicolor (Technicolor acquired Cisco Systems's consumer premises equipment business in 2015), Comcast took the reins on the hardware design for the XB6.

Comcast is preparing to accelerate the deployment of the XB6 as it looks to expand its deployment of DOCSIS 3.1 and 1-gig residential broadband service to additional markets in 2017 and as it gets ready to unleash a new “Digital Home” offering announced at CES today that aims to smarten up and simplify the provisioning and management of customer in-home networks.

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Compatible with DOCSIS 3.0 and newer DOCSIS 3.1 networks, the XB6 also supports MoCA 2.0, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, ZigBee, Bluetooth LE  (low energy), as well as ports for digital voice services.  

Comcast has also hinted at a retail strategy for the XB6, which will employ a  new self-install system. 

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“We are taking this to retail,” Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chairman and CEO, said of the XB6 in September at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference.