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Ground breaking

How residential gateways are bringing more bandwidth to the home. By Roy Rubenstein.

The deployment of newer broadband access technologies is causing a more rapid development of residential gateways.
“As broadband access has moved from one generation to the next, the evolution of the residential gateway has accelerated,” said Pranay Aiya, Conexant Systems’ director of marketing for ADSL CO, PON and SDSL. Whereas digital subscriber line (dsl) ics took a decade to move from simple modems to full residential gateways, newer passive optical networking (PON) ics have taken two years to go from supporting data access and voice to a residential gateway architecture that also includes wireless networking.
Yet, despite the challenge of developing gateway ics in shorter time frames, chip makers welcome the opportunity the residential gateway market presents. “[Broadband] semiconductor companies realise that, if they want to make money, the residential gateway chipset has the most potential,” said Aileen Arcilla, a senior analyst for networking, broadband and storage systems ics at IDC.
A residential – or home – gateway bridges the broadband network to the digital home. The residential gateway core ic – which may or may not include broadband modem functionality on chip – supports routing, voice and video, as well as such interfaces as Ethernet and WiFi. As a result, a gateway ic commands a higher selling price than dsl modem chips – $30 compared to less than $10 – and its pricing is far more stable.
Telecom operators, such as British Telecom and France Telecom’s Orange, are keen proponents of residential gateways. Orange, for example, had installed more than 5.7million Livebox home gateways by the end of September 2007. Operators can offer subscribers bundled services, such as voice, video and high speed internet, promising increased revenues.

Roy Rubenstein

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