By Jeff Goldman
July 24, 2006
Residences and businesses are the target customers for future designs to bring WiMax home.
Freescale Semiconductor and Wavesat Inc. today announced a collaboration to provide reference designs for WiMax-enabled CPEs targeted at both residential customers and small to medium sized businesses. The two companies will be demonstrating the solutions this week at the Freescale Technology Forum in Orlando, Florida.
Fawzi Behman, director of Strategic Marketing at Freescale, says the aim is to enable service providers to extend their portfolio of services. “Instead of managing today maybe a modem or a set-top box, down the road, they will be able to manage an integrated set of devices and provide more cohesive management,” he says.
A Total Solution
Freescale, Behman says, comes from a point of strength in the embedded processor market (it recently jumped out of the ultrawideband chip business) – but the logical next step, he says, is to provide an integrated product to customers. “Our Tier 1 and Tier 2 customers are requesting that Freescale deliver not just the infrastructure side for WiMax, but also a CPE solution,” he says.
Instead of reinventing the wheel to do so, Behman says, it made sense to partner with a company like Wavesat. “They have been number one from a certification perspective for WiMax CPE fixed applications, they are proven to have the lowest power consumption, their architecture is quite modular, and they have a strong roadmap towards mobility,” he says.
Each company, Behman says, brings key components to the partnership. “We felt it was a good fit to provide a bundled solution where we take the Wavesat CPE WiMax chipset along with the source code, and have it run it on our processor and our reference design, to be able to deliver a compelling story to our customers,” he says.
The residential CPE reference design adds a wide range of functionality to the typical CPE, including wireless, voice and video, as well as everything from a print server to a media server. “All of this functionality being bundled into one product will provide the consumer with a competitive price, and facilitate the service provider to manage such a device in a much more cohesive way,” Behman says.
The CPE includes a Freescale MPC8323E PowerQUICC II Pro processor, a DSP for VoIP capabilities, and interfaces including a four-port Ethernet switch and two Mini PCI slots – one for a Wi-Fi LAN and the other for WAN over WiMax. “This enables both wired and wireless solutions for residential gateways,” Behman says.
Instead of having to manage a series of separate devices, Behman says, the design allows a service provider to consolidate all their services into one solution. “This is a platform that enables them, with a common management capability, to administer things like QoS and security,” he says. “And later on, we’re adding a number of other capabilities in the roadmap, like storage and intrusion detection and prevention.”
For the small to medium sized business gateway, Behman says, the integrated functionality includes an IP PBX, NAS server and VPN router, as well as storage and security capabilities. The CPE includes a Freescale MPC8349E PowerQUICC II Pro processor and a five-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, as well as both four-port USB and four-port SATA for storage.
It’s similar to the residential CPE, Behman says, but purely IP-centric – and much, much more powerful. “We are applying the same philosophy and the same architecture, but it has much stronger processing power, and capabilities for storage and also for deploying more aggressive types of application services,” he says.
The storage capabilities, Behman says, are becoming an increasingly important resource. “More and more, whether you are in a small business or a residential home, you have lots of content and you need to save it or store it,” he says. “Some of this data you need to save locally and you need to manage it and control it, either because of sensitivity or because of accessibility or availability.”
Other Freescale partners for these types of solutions include Jungo for home and office gateways, Mediabolic for home media servers, and Axentra for remote access gateways. Wavesat’s wireless functionality, Behman says, can be a key asset for all of these products. “As the customer wants more capabilities, we want to ensure that we are enabling these additional applications,” he says.
In many ways, Behman says, this is just the beginning. “These types of platforms for us are an initial stage for adding a number of advanced capabilities we are working on that would deal with things like content processing, intrusion detection and so on – as well as opening up the door to work with a larger set of partners, to add more applications and strengthen the product offering,” he says.