RealTime IT News

Texas Instruments Wireless Cable Modems Almost Here

Texas Instruments (TI) is reporting this week that products based on its residential gateway (RG) cable modem design -- which will include enhanced speed, router security features like NAT firewalls, and 802.11b wireless access points -- are almost ready to ship to retailers.

Companies embracing the RG cable modem design include Toshiba America Information Systems, Netgear, and SMC Networks. Next week at the NCTA show in Chicago, SMC will actually be showing its RG product -- the SMC8013WG Wireless Cable Modem Router, which they announced earlier this month -- in a suite hosted by TI.

The RG design uses TI's TNETC4401 single chip solution for cable modems, which has interfaces for Ethernet, USB, and 802.11. RG support Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 2.0 -- the cable modem certification from CableLabs that increases upstream throughput and lets the cable operator offer some extra services through the bi-directional connection. The 802.11b support is provided by TI's TNETW1100B chip.

TI brings to the table TurboDOX, a software-based bandwidth acceleration technology for increasing speed on applications like P2P file sharing and FTP downloads. TurboDOX was originally offered in late 2001 as a DOCSIS 1.1 improvement. It also works with Euro-DOCSIS modems overseas. TI says the technology will let operators use up to three times the number of modems on a single channel.

TI is also collaborating with embedded software providers Jungo Software Technologies and Ashley Laurent to get their broadband software to compliment TI's DOCSIS code directly.

Toshiba shipped a previous wireless cable modem, the $299 PCX5000 last September, which used Agere WaveLAN chips for its wireless connection. Netgear also has a Wireless Cable Modem Gateway, the $279 CG814M which they announced in November last year. Other companies with announced 802.11-equipped cable modems include Scientific-Atlanta, Pioneer, Motorola, and Linksys.