Integrating more circuits onto smaller pieces of silicon real estate, the system-on-a-chip (SoC) is becoming the new norm in semiconductor devices. Broadcom’s BCM6362 is riding that wave, with an ADSL2+ modem, an 802.11n wireless local-area network (WLAN) transceiver, a Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) cordless telephone circuit, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in a single 65-nm device. Designers can combine a separate modem, wireless access point, and cordless telephone into one convenient, lower-cost home networking solution.
Telecom companies offering broadband Internet connections have been upgrading their DSL networks slowly but surely. The latest upgrades use the ADSL2+ format, which can deliver 24-Mbit/s downstream and 1.4-Mbit/s upstream data rates depending on the distance to the neighborhood DSLAM. This performance easily competes with or beats cable TV rates in most cases. The on-chip modem in the Broadcom IC lets consumers take advantage of those faster services.
The BCM6362 also incorporates the latest 802.11n wireless access transceiver with 2x2 MIMO. This radio operates on the 2.4- or 5-GHz band and provides exceptional data rates for Internet connectivity and video applications.
A neat feature of this chip is its DECT telephone circuitry with CAT-iq, which stands for Cordless Advanced Technology-Internet and Quality. Designed for wireless broadband home connectivity, CAT-iq is available in protected frequency bands almost worldwide. It provides VoIP digital calls, furthering the demise of plain old telephone service (POTS).
To support all this circuitry, Broadcom has included four 10/100-Mbit/s Ethernet ports and one Gigabit Ethernet port plus an Ethernet switch to implement the various forms of bridging and routing. A dual-core 400-MHz processor handles the management duties. It supports hardware-assisted IPsec security for virtual private network (VPN) termination, gigabit switching, and USB 2.0 hosts and devices. The integrated software also lets carriers add their own applications on top of this complete solution.