CopperGate Launches New MDU Chipset

CopperGate Communications has introduced a new chipset targeting the multiple dwelling unit and hospitality markets that nearly doubles the communications bandwidth.

CopperGate will initially target sales of the new CG3210M chipset, which allows operators to serve more than 60 apartments or hotel rooms with up to 190Mbit/s of IP traffic using existing coax infrastructure, to multichannel operators and telcos in emerging markets and to the hotel and hospital market in the U.S. and other developed economies.

"It provides service providers trying to deliver low-cost broadband access or triple-play services in urban areas with a lower cost, high-performance alternative to DOCSIS and DSL solutions," said Michael Weissman, vice president of marketing for the Americas at CopperGate.

CopperGate has systems using its HomePNA technology for both the home network market and the MDU and hospitality markets. The new CG3210M chipset is designed for the MDU and hospitality market; different chipsets are used for the home network applications.

In the home networking market, CopperGate's HomePNA technology is being deployed by four of the five largest IPTV providers in North America. In the U.S., for example, AT&T uses HomePNA for its whole-home DVR, which allows users to watch standard- and high-definition content from their DVR on TVs in different rooms.

In the MDU market, Weissman believes early demand for the CG3210M chipset will come from emerging markets.
"In the U.S. and Western markets, the biggest application will be in hotels and hospitality," he said. "The big operators in North America are focused on home networking," not MDUs.

Although HD has been relatively slow to take off in emerging markets, Weissman said dramatic price drops in the cost of fiber is now making it possible for some operators to offer bandwidth intensive services, including high-definition content and high-speed data.

The new chipset has several advantages in these emerging markets. By doubling the bandwidth, it allows an operator to serve more apartments and hotel rooms with a higher through-put. In addition, "the new chipsets have improved the performance to get a higher signal-to-noise ratio, which is important in emerging markets where the quality of the infrastructure is not as pristine," he said.

In contrast to other systems, their MDU solution does not require the heavy upfront investment needed for DOCSIS. "Our solution is based on pay-as-you-add customers," he said. A typical master that can service up to 50 apartments costs about $50, he added.