MaxLinear CEO: MSOs Upping DOCSIS 3.0 Channel Counts

Demand for DOCSIS 3.0 modems that can bond 16 or 24 downstream channels picked up in the fourth quarter of 2014, MaxLinear CEO Kishore Seendripu said Monday during the chipmaker's earnings call.

The resumption of demand for those beefier D3 modems followed a drop-off earlier part of the year, which caused a dip in cable revenues for MaxLinear, a maker of silicon tuners and demodulators for modems, set-tops and other cable and satellite TV gear.  On the cable modem front, MaxLinear has been pairing its tuner products with Intel’s Puma 6 DOCSIS 3.0 silicon.  Intel and MaxLinear have also begun to set their sights on a 32-channel D3 platform and the emerging DOCSIS 3.1 platform, which will support multi-gigabit speeds.  MaxLinear is also looking to expand into other markets, including MoCA silicon, via its proposed acquisition of Entropic Communications.

Seendripu said most “major operators,” including Comcast and Liberty Global, have decided to switch over to D3 modems that can bond 16 or 24 channels – enough to support downstream burst rates of 640 Mbps  and 960 Mbps, respectively in North American DOCSIS systems that use 6MHz-wide channels.

D3 modems that can bond up to eight downstream channels is “in the rearview,” the exec said, noting that less than half of MaxLinear’s shipments now support those channel-bonding counts in cable data gateways.

As a result of the increased demand for higher-end D3 products, MaxLinear’s cable revenue mix rose to 63% in the fourth quarter, versus 59% in the previous period.

MaxLinear posted fourth quarter net loss of $2.4 million (6 cents per share) on revenues of $32.5 million, up 2.9% from the year-ago period.