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Xilinx Enables Cable Operators to Future-Proof Headends to Deliver More Compelling Triple-Play Services to the Home

Flexible Silicon and IP Bundle Delivers 160 QAM Channels on a Single RF Port to Meet Latest CableLabs CCAP Specification

PR Newswire
Nov 14, 2011

ATLANTA, Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) today at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2011 (Booth #302) is demonstrating a cable industry first with Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) delivering up to 160 QAM channels through a single RF port on Xilinx 28nm 7 series FPGAs. This development is vital for multiple system operators (MSOs) offering expanded triple-play services through existing cable headends and demonstrates that FPGA-based headend equipment can deliver the device and signal densities critical in meeting competitive data and content delivery challenges.

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Furthermore, cable equipment vendors incorporating the 7 series FPGA architecture from Xilinx bundled with IP cores and system integration provided by RADX Technologies, Inc. can accelerate the development of equipment to meet the new Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) specification from CableLabs. CCAP allows MSOs to meet the need for voice, video and data transport combined into a single piece of equipment, allowing richer data throughput over existing networking infrastructures.

With CCAP as a driver regarding future design densities supporting up to six full spectrum RF ports, each carrying 160 QAM channels on a single FPGA, Xilinx will provide the density and flexibility vendors need to get new cable equipment to market faster and keep it up to date and in the field longer optimizing ROI. Moreover, a new programmable-based capability for moving more QAM channels through a smaller footprint comes just in time to help fuel a growth area in cable headend hardware driven by steep competition from IPTV.

"EdgeQAM hardware sales are growing rapidly, driven by continued growth in QAM channels used in DOCSIS/M-CMTS, video on demand, and switched digital video applications," said Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband access at Infonetics Research. "Worldwide, sales of CMTS and EdgeQAM hardware were $464 million in the second quarter of the year, which was up 12 percent from the previous quarter. We expect this trend to continue."

"By using Xilinx FPGAs, cable equipment manufacturers can maximize QAM channel density while staying inside existing power envelopes, or further reduce overall power consumption," said Aaron Behman, senior manager, Xilinx Broadcast and Consumer marketing. "Xilinx-based solutions can be deployed today, and because the silicon is field re-programmable, cable operators can future-proof key assets in the headend and will not be forced to upgrade equipment every time standards change or they need to add capacity."

At SCTE Cable-Tec 2011, Xilinx is highlighting the EdgeQAM demonstration platform that allows designers to evaluate the IP and simulate initial proofs of concept related to their equipment design. The demonstration platform incorporates a Kintex™-7 FPGA implemented on 28nm process technology optimized to deliver low power with high performance. The demonstration platform also utilizes a high-speed DAC from Analog Devices or Maxim, as well as evaluation IP cores (J.83 Annex A/B/C, Frequency-Agile Digital Up Converter (DUC) and Digital Pre-Distortion Modules for Analog Devices or Maxim high-speed DACs) from RADX Technologies to deliver up to 160 QAM channels through a single RF port.

"The Xilinx roadmap hits all the features we are looking for in future products - integration, flexibility and a clear path to reduced power," said Saif Rahman, principal engineer, Comcast Cable. "We expect future equipment to be built using the type of performance that is available in the Xilinx solution."

"We expect the Xilinx/RADX relationship to provide customers with a competitive advantage in the broadband marketplace in terms of channel densities, performance and ROI," said Ross Q. Smith, CEO, RADX Technologies, Inc. "Together, we will provide equipment developers with a uniquely flexible and scalable platform for multiple markets which will result in the industry's best foundation for next generation networks."

Xilinx's 7 series FPGAs offer an ideal balance of low power and high performance in a single device. This enables cable equipment OEMs to develop systems that increase QAM channel density while staying inside existing power envelopes. Unified architecture across the 7 series FPGA family allows equipment makers to scale to even denser implementations - beyond six full spectrum ports - or scale down using Kintex-7 devices to address additional applications (e.g. hospitality), as well as markets outside of North America. Overall, MSOs can support customer demands for broadcast and VOD with a single, flexible architecture.

Further drilling down, Xilinx offers (through RADX Technologies) validated IP blocks to system architects and engineering teams as part of a complete evaluation solution that allows for rapid development of EdgeQAM/CMTS/CCAP systems and reducing time-to-market. Today's Xilinx FPGA architecture can be scaled and modified to support multiple market segments. Xilinx has also collaborated with the market-leading high-speed DAC vendors in this application space to deliver integrated solutions.

What DAC Suppliers Are Saying

"Xilinx has the IP cores to provide a complete headend solution," said Carlton Lane, product marketing manager, High Speed Converter Group, Analog Devices, Inc. "Collaborating with Xilinx allows ADI to bring its high-speed data conversion expertise to the complete cable headend equation."

"The flexibility of the Xilinx IP cores combined with Maxim's full spectrum RF-DACs allows us to provide solutions for CCAP and other cable architectures," said Tim Church, business manager, High Speed DACs, Maxim Integrated Products. "Systems using Maxim RF-DACs and Xilinx 7 series FPGAs can scale up to 160 QAM channels per RF port on up to six ports, providing unparalleled QAM density for MSOs."

Pricing & Availability

Individual IP blocks are available today from Xilinx. The Kintex FPGA-based demonstration platform will be available in January 2012. Additional details can be found at http://www.xilinx.com/applications/broadcast/edgeqam/. A hardware development platform with an integrated reference design will be available from RADX Technologies, Inc. in Q1 2012. Please visit www.radxtech.com for more details. To arrange a demonstration of the Kintex FPGA-based demonstration platform on-site, please contact your local Xilinx representative.

About Xilinx in Broadcast

Xilinx is the worldwide leader in programmable logic solutions that offer scalable performance, flexibility, and re-configurability for longer time in market for high-end professional broadcast capture, transport and display systems. Xilinx programmable devices enable faster adoption and migration to the latest standards, interfaces and codecs while lowering overall CAPEX and OPEX. For more information, visit: http://www.xilinx.com/broadcast.

About Xilinx

Xilinx is the worldwide leader in complete programmable logic solutions. For more information, visit http://www.xilinx.com/.


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