Test Time For Netgear’s 1 Gig DOCSIS 3.0 Gateway

A DOCSIS 3.0-powered device from Netgear that’s capable of producing downstream bursts of 1 Gbps is in “multiple” lab trials and is starting to enter field trials, according to Naveen Chhangani, director of product management for Netgear’s service provider unit.

That’s his progress report about six months after Netgear became the first DOCSIS vendor to achieve CableLabs certification for a data/voice gateway that can bond 24 downstream channels – enough to produce max downstream speeds of 960 Mbps using 6MHz-wide channels (in North American DOCSIS configurations), and eclipse the 1 Gbps mark in EuroDOCSIS systems that utilize 8MHz-wide channel spacing.  

“We have [the product] in multiple labs, and heading into field trials,” he said, noting that the current activity is in the U.S., as well as with MSOs in Asia and Europe.

Netgear obtained certification on that product, called the CG4500, last December. It runs on the Intel’s Puma 6 DOCSIS 3.0 chip and the MaxLinear MxL267 24-channel DOCSIS 3.0 receiver.  The device itself was certified with the ability to bond 24 downstream channels and four upstream channels, but it is capable of bonding as many as eight upstream channels, Chhangani said, noting that CableLabs wasn’t yet equipped to test at a 24x8 configuration when Netgear entered it for testing last year.

“We didn’t want to wait,” he said, noting that Intel started production on the Puma 6 in March.

Hitron Technologies secured CableLabs certification earlier this year on a 24x8 device called the CGN3 that’s also powered by the Intel/MaxLinear chipset combo. Although several other vendors have 1 Gig DOCSIS modems on the roadmap, Netgear and Hitron are the only two to obtain certification, a distinction that clears them to sell the products at retail. MSOs also typically require vendors to obtain CableLabs certification before they buy models directly from vendors. 

The CG4500, which can support two lines of VoIP, is also outfitted with an 802.11n Wi-Fi access point. A revised version in CableLabs testing now is outfitted with 802.11ac, which is targeting in-home networking speeds approaching 1 Gbps. The current product also uses the 1.1 version of Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA0 for networking over the home’s coax network. The next generation of Netgear DOCSIS 3.0 gateways will use MoCA 2.0, which can handle baselin net throughout of 400 Mbps, or up to 800 Mbps when supporting the platform’s enhanced, “turbo” mode.

Netgear isn’t saying who is testing its new CableLabs-certified DOCSIS 3.0 gateway. Some of its known customers include Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Comcast (for gateways targeted to business customers), ONO of Spain, and J:COM, Japan’s largest cable operator.

Among DOCSIS consumer premises equipment vendors, Arris was tops in revenue share for the fourth quarter of 2012, followed by Motorola (now part of Arris), Cisco and Netgear, according to Infonetics.

Netgear said it shipped about 4 million cable gateways last year.