Cable Tech

Celeno's Cable Breakthrough

6:00 AM -- Wireless chipmaker Celeno Communications has busted through the Tier 1 cable doors after notching a deal to supply the WiFi component of a video-optimized multimedia gateway that Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) plans to unleash on Europe in 2011. (See Celeno Joins Liberty's Video Gateway Lineup .)

Celeno started to chat up its cable ambitions last year with an 802.11n MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) chip that's designed to shuttle HD video streams around a home network. (See Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA.)

Liberty will be leveraging a second-generation Celeno chip (the CL1820) that has been hitting speeds of 100 Mbit/s during MSO testing -- plenty for wireless distribution of HD video to other set-tops and IP-connected devices hanging off the home network, according to Celeno VP of marketing Lior Weiss. Speeds will vary based on home configurations and wall thickness, but "100 Mbit/s is something we're achieving and targeting," Weiss claims. By comparison, Celeno's first-gen chip was hitting whole-home speeds in the neighborhood of 40 Mbit/s.

Celeno is the latest vendor to join Liberty Global's video gateway lineup. The MSO's upcoming gateways will also use Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) , but a chip partner has yet to be named (Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) and Entropic Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTR) are the candidates). Liberty's intention here is to connect set-tops over MoCA where it can, and use carrier-grade WiFi for third-party devices such as iPads and smartphones. (See Liberty Global Reveals IP Gateway Partners and MoCA Eyes Europe.)

Liberty Global marks Celeno's first design win with a Tier 1 cable operator. Among other biggies, China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA) is also baking Celeno chips into its EPON gateways.

Celeno's gotten some traction with some small US telcos, but hopes to get a foothold with domestic cable, as well, as MSOs here start to develop their own gateway strategies. (See Docsis 3.0 Enters the Gateway Era .)

"We very much hope that cable operators in North America will follow Liberty's footsteps from a WiFi standpoint," Weiss says.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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