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TI unveils UR8 derivatives for residential gateways

Posted: 16 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Texas Instruments? UR8? DSL? ADSL? VDSL?

Texas Instruments Inc. has unveiled five derivaTIves of its UR8 processor architecture at the recent Broadband World Forum in Paris.

The UR8, which combines a multimedia gateway processor (MGP), VoIP processor and DSP PHY device for DSL, fulfills TI's "Uni-DSL" strategy of using a single chip for both ADSL and VDSL networks.

Ben Sheppard, director of marketing in TI's residential gateways business, pointed to significant statistics suggesting DSL growth. Europe has witnessed a compound annual growth rate of 45 percent to 56 million DSL subscribers, while China has grown to 33.3 million subscribers.

Still, global VDSL growth is not without potential pitfalls. Ikanos Communications saw its stock drop 30 percent in early October, as the company anticipated a falloff in Asian DSL chip orders for late 2006 and early 2007.

Sheppard said that one statistic OEMs must be careful about is the continuing gap between ADSL/ADSL2/ADSL2+ shipments on the one hand, and VDSL2 shipments on the other. VDSL2 gets a lot of attention because it can serve as a feeder to passive optical network buildouts.

But global DSL customer premises equipment shipments in VDSL2 still rank under 5 million, while ADSL and its derivatives are at 100 million. ADSL does not plateau until 2009, Sheppard said, while VDSL2 doesn't hit 20 million until 2010.

"The period of time when VDSL2 shipments cross over ADSL still could be 10 years away," he said.

All DSL flavors
That is one of the reasons TI chose to implement a PHY transceiver that could handle all DSL flavors in a single chip, allowing one basic UR8 design to be offered for all home gateways. The core die for UR8 is identical in all device typesMGP, VoIP DSP, DSL DSP, Ethernet Medium Access Control, Wi-Fi link, and interface for PCI bus, UART, USB and other I/O.

The devices can be augmented with an Ethernet switch, a subscriber line interface circuit for analog voice, a Bluetooth connection, a Wi-Fi access point, or interfaces for such home networks as MoCA, HomePlug and Home PNA.

Two of the family members are optimized for VDSL2the TNET8430 and the TNET8431, a version with expansion channels. Three other chips are optimized for ADSLthe TNET7501 with four channels of VoIP, the TNET7531 with expansion plus voice, and the TNET7530 with no VoIP support. All the processors share I/O layout, so that a single board design can be developed for several types of gateways.

Voice versions of the processor come with the Telogy software stack owned by TI, and a comprehensive set of voice codecs. All versions of UR8 include IP Quality of Service capabilities defined under TR-069, and voice quality monitoring and management developed under TI's Piqua program.

While all new versions of the UR8 are specific to twisted-pair copper DSL networks, Sheppard said that new spins are being developed for cable, fiber, and broadband wireless markets as well.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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