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Cable modem/CMTS

Thomson Markets 100-Mbit/s Modem

Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453) isn't waiting for Docsis 3.0. The equipment vendor today announced a new cable modem that uses channel bonding techniques to produce shared downstream speeds in excess of 100 Mbit/s.

The modem, the DCM465, received Docsis 2.0 certification from CableLabs in May. While Docsis 3.0 modems are capable of bonding at least four upstream and four downstream channels, Thomson's new modem entry is limited only to the bonding of multiple Docsis 2.0 downstream channels. Some international MSOs are already taking advantage of these pre-3.0 downstream capabilities to keep pace with Internet speeds delivered by rival telcos. (See Japanese MSO Moves 160 Mbit/s, Vyyo, Moto Test 3.0 , and Virgin Bonds With Docsis .)

Thomson said the DCM465, based on the Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) BCM3381 chipset, is designed to be forward-compatible with Docsis 3.0 cable modem termination systems (CMTSs), but can also be used with legacy CMTS gear with the addition of a channel-bonding software upgrade. Thomson's new model also supports IP multicast and IPv6 -- two other key features of Docsis 3.0.

Thomson officials could not immediately say when they expect the the product to be ready for Docsis 3.0 certification testing, or issue an update on trial and deployment activity for the DCM465 and its new downstream channel-bonding capabilities. Broadcom has not responded to questions about when it expects its modem silicon to be ready for Docsis 3.0 testing. The first, next opportunity to do so is in early January, when CableLabs kicks off Certification Wave 57.

CableLabs is presently conducting its first official Docsis 3.0 certification wave, with results expected by mid-December. It's believed that three suppliers -- Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Scientific Atlanta , and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) -- submitted 3.0 modems for testing in Wave 56, and that all of those models are based on chipsets from Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN). (See Vendors Ride First Docsis 3.0 Wave .)

According to Heavy Reading, Thomson had 9.7 percent of the cable modem market through the first half of 2007. Motorola led the way with 38 percent, followed by SA (20.5%), Ambit Broadband (16%), Thomson, and Arris (3.1%). (See Modem Shipments Eclipse Old Record.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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