CES 2016: Linksys Revs Up Retail Modem Lineup

Targets Retail with DOCSIS 3.0-Powered Devices
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Linksys is amping up its cable modem game and looking to put pressure on retail rivals with a new DOCSIS 3.0-powered lineup of modems and gateways that will be ready for sale this spring.

Belkin bought Linksys from Cisco Systems in 2013 and added it to Belkin’s home networking business (Cisco acquired Linksys in 2003 for a cool $500 million).

Linksys is starting off with two D3-based modems aimed at U.S. distribution – the CM3008, a device that bonds eight downstream channels and four upstream channels and carry an MSRP of $69.99; and a higher end model, the CM3024, that uses a 24x8 configuration and will sell for $129.99.

That lineup will be complemented by the CG7500, a gateway device that combines a 24x3 D3 modem with dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB 2.0 port.  The CG7500, set for a summer release, will fetch $249.99.

Linksys said it plans to certify those products for use by all major cable MSOs. CableLabs certification is required for DOCSIS modems sold at retail. It was not immediately known whose chipsets are powering Linksys’s new D3 lineup and if the vendor intends to develop modems based on DOCSIS 3.1, a new platform that will enable multi-gigabit speeds over HFC networks. 

Update: Linksys said its D3 lineup is powered by the Intel  Corp.'s Puma 6 DOCSIS chipset. 

Linksys’s entry should apply retail pressure on suppliers such as Arris, Netgear and Zoom Telephonics, which is on track to launch a lineup of cable modems under the Motorola brand in early 2016.

Linksys, citing an IDC report sponsored by the vendor noted that about two-thirds of consumers rent modems from MSOs for about $10 per month, and that just 20% purchase their cable modems from a retailer, and that 75% of them did so in order to sidestep the MSO lease fee.