Netgear Inc. is the first cable modem vendor to reveal that it has obtained CableLabs certification for a modem that can bond 24 channels and get within shouting distance of a shared 1Gbit/s downstream.
Netgear said it received the CableLabs stamp for the CG4500TM, a gateway with two voice ports, integrated Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) for wired home networking, and a dual-band 802.11n access point. The model's 24-channel downstream is paired with a four-channel upstream, the minimal upstream configuration allowed by the Docsis 3.0 specifications.
The device also uses MaxLinear Corp.'s MxL267 Full-Spectrum Capture tuner/front-end receiver. The full-spectrum capability means the modem can grab 6MHz channels from anywhere on the cable spectrum for downstream channel bonding (up to 1GHz). That gives operators more spectrum flexibility, as older D3 cable modem tuners were required to bond channels from distinct 100MHz-wide blocks.
A Netgear spokeswoman also confirmed that the CG4500TM is powered by the Intel Corp. Puma6 chipset, and that the product is expected to reach commercial availability in the first half of 2013.
Arris Group Inc. and Hitron Technologies Inc. are among vendors that have developed Docsis 3.0 products based on the new Intel chipset. Hitron confirmed that it has a product in the current CableLabs certification testing wave that can bond 24 downstreams and 8 upstream channels.
Broadcom Corp. is also working on a next-gen Docsis 3.0 chipset. STMicroelectronics NV jumped into the Docsis 3.0 game recently, but has yet to reveal any specific product plans other than that it expects to release its first D3 system-on-chip in early 2013.
Why this matters
In addition to bragging rights, CableLabs certification gives Netgear the green light to sell the product at retail. CableLabs certification is also a step that vendors are expected to take before cable operators will begin their own product testing.
This new class of D3 gateways will also help cable operators deliver not just faster Internet service tiers, but also help them set the stage for larger IP video transitions. But the question heading into 2013 is how quickly cable operators intend to seed the market with this new class of 1-Gbit/s Docsis 3.0 gateways, as most D3 modems and gateways being shipped today carry an 8x4 configuration.
â€” Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable