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Broadcom Matches Intel With 1-Gig D3 Chipset

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
1/8/2013
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Broadcom Corp. is matching rival Intel Corp. with the launch of a new line of Docsis 3.0 gateway and modem chipsets that can bond up to 24 downstream channels, enough to create maximum downstream bursts of 1Gbit/s.

The channel configuration in Broadcom's BCM3384 system-on-chip (SoC) -- up to 24 downstreams and 8 upstreams -- is a mirror image of the media gateway version of Intel's Puma 6 chips. The Puma6 also features a 16x4 configuration.

Broadcom is going head-to-head with Intel by unveiling a 16x4 chipset, the BCM33843, that can serve as a "drop-in" upgrade for the company's hardware designs based on Broadcom's widely deployed 8x4 BCM3383 Docsis 3.0 SoC. The new 16x4 BCM33843, which can hit downstream bursts of 640Mbit/s using 6MHz-wide channels, is "pin-compatible" with BCM3383, Broadcom said.

All of Broadcom's new chipsets use the same software as its 8x4 Docsis 3.0 chip. "We're finding that software is the more intensive part of the gateway," says Jay Kirchoff, VP of marketing for Broadcom's cable broadband unit.

Broadcom is integrating its high-end D3 chip with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) 2.0 chips that aim to prevent bottlenecks created by the home network. MoCA 2.0 and 802.11ac will essentially provide customers with speeds around their homes that match those entering their homes via their cable operator's Docsis 3.0 access network.

The setup "allows us to take 1 Gbit/s in, and distribute 1-Gig around the house," Kirchoff says.

Broadcom is sampling the chips at this week's Consumer Electronics Show and will soon provide samples to original equipment manufacturing (OEM) partners. Kirchoff expects customers to submit product for CableLabs certification by early as the first quarter of this year, and believes Broadcom will reach volume production on the new chips by the middle to second half of 2013.

Netgear Inc., by the way, has already obtained CableLabs certification on a product based on the Intel Puma 6.

Why this matters
Broadcom has been playing catch-up, but the Docsis 3.0 upgrades put it on par with Intel as modem and set-top vendors get ready to launch a new class of modems and gateways that can pump out more raw speed and help MSOs lay the foundation for IP video transitions.

The new product set also keeps Broadcom ahead of D3 newcomer STMicroelectronics NV, which announced a 16x4 chipset last week.

For more



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Jeff Baumgartner
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Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/8/2013 | 2:51:20 PM
re: Broadcom Matches Intel With 1-Gig D3 Chipset
Well, Broadcom did not try to leapfrog Intel with its new D3 chipset (http://www.lightreading.com/ca... ...it merely matched it.-á Is a 32-channel D3 chip on the horizon from Broadcom? Never say never... More soon on that. JB
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