MaxLinear Launches Low Power, Full-Spectrum Capture™ DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Receiver for Multi-Gigabit Services

  • MxL278 tuner capable of receiving up to 5Gbps data rates over existing cable network
  • MxL236 companion PGA reduces operator maintenance costs with integrated upstream monitoring

CARLSBAD, Calif. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — September 11, 2015 — MaxLinear Inc. (NYSE: MXL), a leading provider of highly integrated radio frequency (RF) and mixed-signal integrated circuits for broadband communication applications, today announced availability of the MxL278, its industry-leading 28nm CMOS single-chip DOCSIS 3.1 digital cable front-end receiver based on the company’s proprietary Full-Spectrum Capture™ (FSC™) technology, and the MxL236 programmable gain amplifier for new generations of DOCSIS 3.1 gateways.

In conjunction with the latest DOCSIS 3.1 Intel cable SoC platform, cable MSOs will be able to offer their subscribers multi-gigabit-per-second data bandwidth services on existing coaxial cable network infrastructure. The ever-increasing consumer demand for media and over-the-top (OTT) data content is creating enormous downstream bandwidth demand in gateway devices to enable expanded services at home.

The DOCSIS 3.1 standard addresses the need for higher data bandwidth services with the addition of high capacity orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) channels over the existing cable network. Capturing up to 1.2 Gigahertz (GHz) of cable spectrum, the MxL278 DOCSIS 3.1 receiver enables cable operators to meet consumer demand through flexible deployment of downstream bandwidth between OFDM and legacy QAM services. Designs based on the MxL278 will usher in a new generation of high capacity IP data gateways, home media gateways, and hybrid or IP-based set-top boxes.

As cable operators offer greater bandwidth services to meet consumer demand for content, MaxLinear’s proprietary FSC technology replaces the need for several discrete single-channel cable tuners in a gateway or a set-top box with just one broadband multi-channel receiver.

The MxL278 can receive up to 5Gbps with any combination of channels located arbitrarily inside the cable spectrum. As a result, MaxLinear’s FSC cable receivers significantly reduce the power consumption in a gateway or a set-top box, minimize PCB footprint, eliminate expensive external RF components, and simplify design of customer platforms requiring multiple channel access.

Companion PGA Brings Upstream Monitoring to Gateway Design

Complementing MaxLinear’s MxL278 FSC receiver for DOCSIS 3.1 gateways, the MxL236 PGA delivers valuable upstream network maintenance capabilities. The MxL236 introduces functions that report network health and performance parameters on the upstream link, which can be used by cable operators in managing and troubleshooting their networks. This innovative feature allows cable operators to avoid costly technician visits to customer homes by remotely monitoring and diagnosing potential problems with customer premises equipment.

The MxL236 reduces front-end power dissipation by up to 2.9W compared to other DOCSIS 3.1 PGA offerings. As cable operators increase upstream data rates to offer more symmetrical services to consumers, reducing power dissipation in the front-end simplifies thermal design efforts and reduces heat mitigation costs.

“We are very excited about our industry-leading DOCSIS 3.1 receiver and PGA for the deployment of high capacity IP data services,” said Will Torgerson, MaxLinear’s Vice President and General Manager, Broadband Group. “With their incredibly low power consumption, superior integration and small footprint, the MxL278 and MxL236 set the benchmark for simplicity, size and power savings in upcoming multi-gigabit-per-second services. As cable operators migrate to advanced IP-based platforms, our Full-Spectrum Capture technology will not only facilitate more efficient IP distribution, but will also result in significant power and cost savings in gateway designs.”

MxL278 Technical Highlights

Based on MaxLinear’s industry-leading, low-power 28nm CMOS process technology, the MxL278 offers a monolithic digital cable front-end with integrated LNA and signal conditioning functions combined with a Full-Spectrum Capture receiver with up to 1.2GHz that supports up to two OFDM channels and up to 32 legacy QAM channels. The MxL278 also provides an integrated MoCA2.1 transceiver supporting two bonded channels with integrated PA/LNA, DAC/ADC, and switch, thereby eliminating the need for any external components for in-home networking.

When utilizing all OFDM and QAM capabilities, the MxL278 delivers up to 5Gbps data rates downstream and up to 2Gbps data rates upstream, all over the existing cable network while consuming less than 1.4W. Furthermore, the MxL278 can be used in an ultra-low power “battery backup/green” mode, consuming roughly 500mW total, while still meeting cable operator voice call and standby time requirements upon loss of power to the home.

The MxL278 supports remote spectrum analyzer functions on the downstream and upstream links that report network health and performance parameters. This turns every gateway into a tool for operators to diagnose their network health without costly technician visits to the field.

The MxL278 exceeds requirements for DOCSIS 3.1, including the stringent test scenarios under SCTE40 plant loading and impairment conditions. The device supports a high-speed serial interface to a DOCSIS 3.1 modem, and has an integrated single-channel tuner for low-power operation.

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