Silicon startup BroadLogic Network Technologies has released its first product, a “wideband” receiver for cable modems and other consumer premises equipment that can support downstream speeds greater than 600 Mbps.
BroadLogic’s BL12000 Wideband Receiver targets the evolving CableLabs DOCSIS 3.0 specification, which widens the cable pipe by bonding together multiple 6 MHz or 8 MHz channels. BroadLogic said its first product is capable of bonding together as many as 16 channels.
That approach is different than many of today’s pre-3.0 implementations, which typically combine four channels through the fusing of discreet tuners and modulators. BroadLogic believes its wideband implementation is more cost-effective.
“There is a significant impact on cost when you’re quadrupling the amount of components,” said Jeff Hupertz, BroadLogic’s vice president of marketing and business development.
BroadLogic, which will compete for share with chipmakers such as Broadcom Corp. and Texas Instruments, has not released pricing on the BL12000, but said it is cost-competitive to existing three-tuner devices.
Although it’s highly unlikely that a cable operator would free up that many channels for a data service today, BroadLogic sees its approach as a future-proofing move.
“We think the lifespan of [a four-channel-bonded] device would be very limited,” Huppertz said, noting that the cable modem technology needs “to recapture the speed advantage [it had] when it was introduced 10 years ago.”
A four-channel implementation already “underestimates” today’s marketplace, especially in Asia, where some telcos are already selling 100 Mbps services, added BroadLogic President & CEO Tony Francesca.
“Out of the [chute], we think 4 QAMs is not enough. Telco service speeds were underestimated 12 months ago, and will continue to move up,” he said. “The key is that the chip we have today has a cost point that’s competitive to three channel setups. We’ve added that without the burden of cost. That’s the breakthrough.”
In addition to supporting super-charged cable modems that will combat the raw speeds offered by fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) and next-gen DSL platforms, BroadLogic believes its technology will power a new generation of whole-home digital video recorders capable of recording dozens of channels at the same time.
The technology would also come in handy with video mosaics, a navigation technique that is catching on with the cable and DBS industries. And by pre-caching multiple MPEG streams, the pace at which channels are changed in a digital environment can also be sped up significantly, the company believes.
Initially, BroadLogic will offer the BL12000 for evaluation to device manufacturers, but the company plans to reach mass production on it by year-end, according to Huppertz. Cisco Systems Corp. demonstrated the technology at cable shows earlier this year.
BroadLogic has yet to announce where its technology is being trialed and who is testing it, but several operators were quoted in the product release, including Advance Newhouse, ComHem of Sweden, and Korea Digital Cable Media Center Co. Ltd., a cable consortium.