Newport Beach, Calif. - Conexant Systems Inc. has begun shipping a single-chip, dual-processor cable modem in a 17 x 17-mm, 228-pin PBGA package. The InfoSurge CX24943 features typical power dissipation of 500 milliwatts as well as a small package. Nevertheless, it is able to deliver 29,000 packets of any size per second and can maintain the full coaxial cable line rate of 38 Mbits/second, even with packets as small as 160 bytes. The chip supports data over cable service interface (Docsis) and EuroDOCSIS 1.0 and 1.1 standards.
Dan Marotta, senior vice president and general manager of Conexant's Digital Infotainment Division, claimed that the chip, manufactured on an advanced CMOS process, has a smaller footprint and lower power dissipation than other products of its kind. He added that the chip "provides a single, worldwide cable modem platform that reduces system costs and can be software-upgraded to improve performance, support new standards or enable other products and software applications." The chip is based on Conexant's earlier CM9414, which contained two chips, was housed in a 27-mm, 264-pin package and had 1.5-watt power dissipation.
The cable modem's dual-processor engine consists of a 225-MHz ARM9 application processor and a 144-MHz ARM9 media access controller. System functionality is partitioned between the application software and the cable MAC processing tasks. An embedded IEEE 802.3 10/100 MAC with a Media Independent Interface provides direct access to home-networking products including HomePlug power line and HomePNA phone line. The chip also includes a USB 1.1 transceiver for plug-and-play installation, plus a host interface to accommodate Internet Protocol telephony as well as IEEE 802.11b and IEEE 802.11a wireless networking standards.
Marotta said the dual-processor architecture and an enhanced version of Conexant's InfoSurge DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 1.0/1.1 application software together can boost CPU clock rates by 40 percent and triple downstream packet throughput performance. The software can also be used to upgrade older InfoSurge cable modem devices, and the new part is code-compatible with earlier devices.
The chip can be used in Ethernet and/or Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable modems, Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) modems, computer-controlled cable modems, multifunction home-networking products, set-top box solutions, small office/home office equipment and Internet Protocol telephony products. It has sufficient processing power-more than 405 Mips-to support security firewalls, advanced bridging and routing protocols, Network Access Translation, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DH-CP) servers and wireless 802.11b access points, obviating external microcontrollers.
The cable modem integrates downstream and upstream physical layer (PHY) technologies. A sixth-generation physical-layer downstream receiver includes a 10-bit A/D converter that accepts a direct IF signal (at 44 MHz or 36 MHz), and a 4/16/64/256 QAM demodulator with Annex A, B and C forward error correction. An 11-bit D/A converter can accommodate 65 MHz of upstream bandwidth for EuroDOCSIS and Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) applications, and a QPSK/16 QAM burst upstream modulator. Marotta said Conexant's PHY technology exceeds DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 1.0/1.1 requirements for low-bit error rates in noise-filled environments.
Reference designs supporting the chip provide DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 1.0- and 1.1-capable cable modem solutions for Ethernet, USB or PCI applications, to speed customers' time-to-market. Design kits include InfoSurge DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 1.0- and 1.1-capable software, which meet the requirements of @Home and Microsoft's Windows Hardware Quality Lab for XP, Windows 2000, Windows 1998 and NT.
The chip is available and costs $26.50 in lots of 10,000.
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EETInfo No. 611