BroadLogic Offers Up a Wideband Chip

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BroadLogic Network Technologies has introduced its BL12000 wideband receiver, a device that will allow cable modems to deliver hundreds of Megabits of throughput to broadband subscribers.

The chip set also can be used in digital video recorders, allowing subscribers to simultaneously record dozens of video streams.

The chip, first demonstrated inside a Linksys modem at the National Show and the Society for Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ Conference on Emerging Technologies, is shipping in sample quantities to field trials with several vendors, BroadLogic said.

Jeff Huppertz, vice president of marketing and business development, said it is expected to be available for commercial deployment early next year.

The BL12000 chip set itself is capable of receiving 16 channels of simultaneous Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification traffic, although the Linksys demo started at eight channels and 300 Mb.

“This chip blows the doors off what’s been heretofore been unveiled,” Huppertz said.

Operators are looking at wideband DOCSIS to keep pace with telco fiber plans. The need is actually more acute among cable operators in Europe and Asia, according to Huppertz.

Today’s 256-QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) systems have a natural limit of 38 Mbps across all cable-modem subscribers in a node. As broadband penetration grows, nodes can only be split so much, Huppertz said.

Wideband DOCSIS will allow MSOs to match the speeds of 30 Mbps planned by Verizon Communications Inc., and then some. But pricing is expensive.

Having a wideband integrated chipset — thus reducing the number of tuners necessary for a wideband modem — will help drive down costs.

Huppertz is pitching the chip to large cable-modem vendors. “Those are our target customers,” he said, although the company regularly briefs MSOs on its activities.

CableLabs is still working on the final specifications of wideband DOCSIS, or DOCSIS 3.0, with final documents expected next year.

“The aim is to be forward compatible with DOCSIS 3.0,” he said.

DVR APPLICATIONS

When used in DVRs, he said, the chip obviates the need for more than one tuner. What’s more, the BL12000 would allow a subscriber to receive up to 16 channels simultaneously. With each channel containing 10 to 14 MPEG (Moving Pictures Expert Group) streams, 160 to 200 channels could be recorded at any one time.

BroadLogic isn’t disclosing prices, but said the cost of the DVR would be on par with a three-tuner unit. DOCSIS 3.0 modems will be pricier than DOCSIS 2.0 models, but will become more cost-effective over time.

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