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Texas Instruments chips in Wideband, cellular support

Sun, 08/21/2005 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Texas Instruments has introduced a new cable chipset that incorporates cellular codecs and a "Wideband" reference design based on the forthcoming DOCSIS 3.0 specification

TI's DSP-based TNETC47xx (Puma-4) voice-over-cable chipset comes equipped with cellular codecs, a strategy the company believes will grow in importance as cable operators take a closer look at mobile voice strategies that use dual-mode cellular/WiFi phones. Embedding cellular codecs alongside voice codecs specified by PacketCable will help avoid transcoding drops.

The chipset also supports IP-based fax applications, furthering VoIP's potential as a replacement for traditional circuit-switched phone lines, said TI, which has about 66.5 percent of the embedded multimedia terminal adapter (eMTA) chipset market, according to Kinetic Strategies.

Today, TI's chips can be found in cable modems and eMTAs from ARRIS, Hitron Technologies, Motorola Inc. and Terayon Communication Systems TI's primary competitor in this sector is Broadcom Corp.

Irvind Ghai, the director of worldwide marketing for TI's cable group, noted that cable eMTAs have reached an "inflection point" as the price delta between silicon for a data-only cable modem and the chipset for a voice-capable eMTA approaches $5. Costs for the device itself have come down to the point that cable operators are not thinking twice about deploying eMTAs to customers who are taking only the data product, in the hopes that they will also take the MSO's IP telephony service sometime down the road. Ghai estimates that 35 percent of all cable modems shipped in 2005 will have voice capabilities.

On the DOCSIS 3.0 front, TI has launched a Wideband DOCSIS reference design for equipment manufacturers. The design includes elements such as board schematics, production files and DOCSIS software. The coming DOCSIS 3.0 spec will use channel bonding techniques to produce data speeds in excess of 100 Mbps.

TI expects to sample its new voice chip by Q4. The company also expects to begin delivery of its Wideband DOCSIS reference designs by Q4.

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