STMicroelectronics NV unveiled the channel configurations for its first set of Docsis 3.0 chipsets on Friday, and they're not exactly overwhelming.
STMicro, which is taking on Intel Corp. and Broadcom Corp. in the D3 silicon market, is starting off with chipsets that can bond up to 16 downstream channels and 4 upstream channels -- enough for downstream bursts of 640Mbit/s for North American Docsis, which uses 6MHz-wide channels, or 800Mbit/s in EuroDocsis systems that use 8MHz-wide channels.
But STMicro is already behind the state of the art. Intel's new Puma6 platform comes in a 16x4 configuration that matches STMicro's and a 24x8 media gateway version that can create downstreams of almost 1Gbit/s. Broadcom has an 8x4 D3 chipset on the market now, but has yet to reveal what's coming next.
STMicro is starting off with two D3 chips for set-tops and gateways (the 12-channel StiD125 and 16-channel StiD127), and the 16-channel StiD128 for standalone cable modems and cable gateways.
The company expects to release product development kits for its three D3 chipsets in the first quarter. It has not announced any Docsis 3.0 modem partners, nor has it said when it will add a 24x8 D3 product to its lineup. The company was not immediately available for comment on Friday morning.
Why this matters
Depending on how quickly STMicro can win original equipment manufacturing (OEM) partners and get products certified at CableLabs, the vendor could become a third Docsis 3.0 option as cable operators introduce faster Internet speed tiers and migrate more video traffic to IP.
STMicro tried unsuccessfully to take on Broadcom and Texas Instruments Inc. (Intel bought TI's cable modem assets in 2010) with Docsis 2.0 chips a few years ago. STMicro's best angle this time around, however, may be to bundle its Docsis 3.0 silicon with its set-top silicon rather than concentrating on standalone modems and data gateways.