TI Expands Its Modem Capabilities

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Texas Instruments Inc. has unveiled a new voice-over-cable platform that includes wireless local-area networking capability, enabling cable subscribers to have broadband wireless connectivity within their homes.

The technology allows consumers to use laptops to tap into the high-speed cable-modem connection via wireless.

“The VoCable modem is driving home-wiring decisions,” said Patrick Hibbs, product-marketing manager in TI’s cable-products group.

The TNETC731 gateway meets PacketCable 1.5 requirements, Hibbs said, and adds standardized battery backup control and monitoring.

In addition to allowing for high-speed data connectivity to wireless laptops, the new gateway would enable consumers to hand off cell phone traffic inside their homes to the cable network. Hibbs said more and more dual-mode cell phones, capable of connecting to wireless LANs, are being sold, including the new wireless LAN inside the TNETC731. “Now you can tie [the] quality-of-service links together and tie it into the PC infrastructure,” Hibbs said.

TI has incorporated wireless LAN capability in data modems for some time, Hibbs said, but this is the first introduction into phone modems. The company’s chipsets were inside 2.5 million EMTAs shipped in the first half of 2005, largely Motorola Inc. and Arris Group Inc. devices.

TI is talking to modem vendors about incorporating the design into future VoCable modems.

Hibbs said the network’s range varies depending on the house. While getting through cement walls is challenging, connectivity can typically stretch throughout a house. He said TI’s Puma 3 chipset is capable of running one Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification channel throughput.

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