Freescale intros new SoC to spur GPON adoption

AUGUST 13, 2008 -- Built on third generation Freescale PON technology, the MSC7104 is a cost reduced version of the company's MSC7120 device, which has been deployed in large volumes worldwide, say company representatives.

AUGUST 13, 2008 -- Freescale Semiconductor (search for Freescale Semiconductor), developer of GPON silicon, today introduced what it claims is a cost-effective, highly integrated system on a chip (SoC) designed to help lower costs for carriers and spur adoption of GPON equipment in markets worldwide.

Built on third generation Freescale PON technology, the MSC7104 is a cost reduced version of the company's MSC7120 device, which has been deployed in large volumes worldwide, say company representatives. It features proven interoperability with many of the world's top carriers.

"As a volume leader in GPON, this offering reflects our view of how GPON technology and the regional markets are evolving," explains Nikolay Guenov, portfolio manager for Freescale's Networking Systems Division. "We have combined proven technologies and production-ready enablement options in the MSC7104 to take broadband data delivery over optical fiber technology into cost sensitive markets. We intend to spur adoption of GPON technology by creating cost-effective entry points into the market," he notes.

The MSC7104 integrates data path engine and Power Architecture technologies to provide high data forwarding throughput rates for the delivery of video and data broadband content to homes and small businesses. The device supports the G.984 GPON Encapsulation Mode (GEM) protocol and is compliant with ITU-T standards, report Freescale representatives.

For carriers, GPON technology supports the convergence of IP over optical networks, offering connection speeds engineered to be much higher than today's DSL- or DOCSIS-based networks. It is a key enabler for bandwidth-hungry applications such as HDTV and Video on Demand.

"Broad scale, global adoption of GPON technology will be largely dependent on the availability of cost-effective solutions for manufacturers, carriers, and consumers alike," says Aileen Arcilla, senior analyst for IDC's Semiconductor Team. "Reducing the cost of GPON deployment is especially important in greenfield markets such as the Asia-Pacific region where the potential for mass adoption is high."

According to the company, the MSC7104 combines the high-speed networking capabilities of the PowerQUICC II Pro platform featuring a Freescale e300 Power Architecture technology core and delivers over 8.5 Gbits/sec peak I/O throughput. The GPON media access controller (MAC) and Freescale's hardwired packet engine are designed to achieve Gigabit wire rate packet forwarding. The integrated OMI/CDR supports 2.4-Gbit/sec downstream/1.2-Gbit/sec full GPON rates. Dual 10/100/1000 Ethernet MACs support GMII, RGMII, and MII modes and IEEE 802.1p QoS. In addition, the MSC7104 includes a 280-MHz/32-bit DDR2 memory controller.

Development tools, hardware platforms, software building blocks and application specific software solutions are available for the MSC7104. The software includes Linux operating system support for the Power Architecture core and a variety of applications software, including GPON software stacks.

A software reference design is available from OpenCon systems. The software package includes user applications and management modules, a comprehensive OMCI stack, and APIs that interface to the Freescale MSC7104. The package enables communication between the GPON CPE and the central office at the service layer, thereby enabling the central office to seamlessly manage and control the data flow to and from the subscriber ONTs. The reference design is expected to prove especially attractive to Asia-Pacific ODM customers looking to enter broadband-over-fiber markets quickly and with relatively low investment levels, say Freescale representatives. Deployment of fiber-based network technologies is gaining momentum in highly populated areas of Asia.

Freescale is sampling the MSC7104 to alpha customers in Q3 2008. It is offered in a 456-pin PBGA package. Pricing starts at a suggested resale price of $12 for 10K quantities.

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