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Broadcom Releases Cable Modem Chip as Competitor Falters

After touting its new design earlier this week, Conexant Systems Inc.'s cable modem reference design failed to get certification from an industry standards group. To add to the company's woes, competitor Broadcom Corp. Friday released its new standards-based cable modem chip.

Conexant (CNXT) Monday released the CN9420CM reference design, which the company said supports all worldwide cable-modem standards. But independent group Cable Television Laboratories thought otherwise, and failed to certify Conexant's blueprint as an industry standard.

CableLabs tests cable modem equipment and intellectual property and gives its "CableLabs Certified" seal -- also known as Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) -- to companies that comply with standard cable systems and devices. The company did not comment on why Conexant was rejected for certification.

Michael Harris, president of Kinetic Strategies, Inc. said that it is common for a company to be rejected by CableLabs on its first try getting certified.

"No cable modem or silicon vendor has been certifired in their first attempt at CableLabs," he said. "So the assumption that Conexant was a shoe-in. . .was a bit silly. So like everybody else they're going to have to try, try again and take another whack at it."

The news was followed Friday by the release of a new cable modem chip by Conexant competitor Broadcom (BRCM), an industry leader in Internet infrastructure.

Broadcom's chip, the BCM3350, is certified by CableLabs. It integrates several individual components inside a cable box to provide an all-in-one chip, said Rich Nelson, director of Cable TV for Broadcom.

"The BCM3350 is a significant milestone in the evolution of the DOCSIS cable modem market," he said. "With improved performance, new feature additions and component integration, the BCM3350 clearly provides the cable industry with a level of integration and performance that is unmatched."



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