LAS VEGAS -- Intel Corp. has entered the digital subscriber line market with a modem based on a chip set from GlobeSpan Inc. Later this year, Intel plans to drive deeper into the sector with its own DSL silicon.
The PRO/DSL 3100 high-speed digital modem is geared for the consumer and small-business markets and supports both full-rate asymmetric DSL and G.Lite protocols, according to Chad Taggard, business unit manager at Intel's Broadband Access Operation, in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
ADSL is a high-speed digital-modem technology that transports data at speeds up to 8 Mbits/s. G.Lite is a stripped-down, consumer-oriented version of ADSL said to transport data at 1.5 Mbits/s.
"When you talk to the phone companies, they want [OEMs and chip makers] to support both standards," Taggard said.
The new modem represents Intel's latest entry in the booming communications sector, although the company's broader DSL strategy is still shrouded in mystery. Taggard confirmed that the new modem uses a chip set from GlobeSpan of Red Bank, N.J., but in the future said Intel also plans to use third-party DSL ICs from Analog Devices Inc.
And Intel's DSL-chip relationship with Analog Devices and GlobeSpan is likely to be only on an interim basis, according to analysts. This year, the Santa Clara, Calif., company is expected to roll out its own DSL chip--a move that would put it in yet another new and booming communications-IC market.
Taggard acknowledged the company is developing its own DSL chipset line, but he declined to comment on the details. "We're progressing in our development plans," he said. "Right now we're using third-party chipsets to reduce our time to market."
Though Intel is designing a proprietary chip set, some analysts speculate that the company could also buy its way into the DSL-chip market via an acquisition. Intel already owns small equity stakes in two competitive DSL-chip makers, including GlobeSpan and Integrated Telecom Express Inc.
And Intel is no stranger to acquisitions, especially in the communications-IC space. Last year, it spent billions to acquire several major communications-chip makers, including DSP Communications, Level One Communications, NetBoost, Softcom Microsystems, and Stanford Telecommunications' cable-modem IC operations.
Intel's new DSL modem will begin shipping next month at a suggested retail price of $295.