Magazine Store

Silicon 70 2020

MaxLinear, Inc. – Delivering high-performance broadband and networking semiconductors with its analog technology


The market for communications ASSPs has become fragmented across both end-use categories and geographies. In Ethernet, data centers are driving growth while the traditional enterprise market languishes. In broadband, PON is growing while DSL is losing share. Meanwhile, once populated by a mixture of startups, midsized companies, and a few big companies, the supply base has become increasingly concentrated. With more technologies under its roof, the typical chip supplier can better integrate system functions into a single chip to lower system costs. With fewer competitors, the supplier is also more likely to avoid the ruinous price wars that once plagued product markets such as DSL. Companies seeking to understand these dynamics will benefit from the perspective of the leading group of communications semiconductor analysts.

MaxLinear is one such firm that delivers high-performance broadband and networking semiconductors based on its highly integrated radio frequency analog technology. It is pioneering MoCA and Direct Broadcast Satellite ODU single-wire technology. The company's original high performance, radio-frequency receiver products capture and process digital and analog broadband signals, including terrestrial, cable and satellite television, and DOCSIS broadband. These products include RF receivers and RF receiver systems-on-chip, or SoCs, which incorporate highly integrated radio system architecture and demodulator technology. The company's products were based on its pioneering low power, low-cost CMOS process technology.

MaxLinear also offers optical networking driver and trans-impedance amplifier ICs for 100G / 400G optical data center networks. The devices use advanced technology that cut in half the number of channels needed in optical transmission modules, reducing power consumption, size and cost for 100Gbps and 400Gbps networks. MaxLinear technology is trusted by leading telephone, cable and satellite operators, set-top box manufacturers, networking equipment providers, and consumer technology providers.

Leading the broadband sector by offering next-generation services

Data Center Connectivity: MaxLinear's Telluride family of TIAs and PAM4 DSPs enable 400Gbps optical interconnects using 100Gbps over a single optical wavelength of 100G/lambda. The MxL9354X is a family of low-power high-performance PAM4 DSP SoCs that enable 400Gbps optical modules using a 4x100Gbps optics interface. These SoCs are suitable for use within QSFP-DD, OSFP, and COBO module form factors.

Broadcast (STB/Gateway/Sat ODU): MaxLinear's Full-Spectrum Cature™ tuners with integrated DVB-S2 demodulators enable satellite operators to deliver multi-channel and multi-screen services. Leveraging six generations of devices, cable MSOs have relied on MaxLinear Full-Spectrum Capture tuners for their broadband platforms.

Wireless Access/Backhaul: The steady march of increasing mobile usage and functionality is driving consumer demand for faster data networks. MaxLinear's wireless access and wireless backhaul/fronthaul solutions enable the 4G and 5G wireless infrastructure to be built to keep pace with this demand. These all-CMOS, single-chip solutions utilize Full-Spectrum Capture™ technology and provide unprecedented flexibility, integration, and performance with meager power consumption.

Ethernet Switch and Router: MaxLinear offers a wide range of power management, analog and interface products that meet the needs of today's Ethernet switch and router designs. MaxLinear's programmable power management ICs, modules, regulators, and LDOs provide DC/DC power and power conversion solutions. System designers utilize connectivity products from MaxLinear to increase overall system flexibility and enable additional UART/serial, Ethernet, and GPIO ports.

Optical Metro and Long Haul Fiber: MaxLinear's 28G-to-64Gbaud linear and limiting TIAs and drivers enable 200Gbps and 600Gbps coherent long-haul and metro fiber optic solutions. The single, dual, and quad-channel TIAs and drivers feature the bandwidth, noise and distortion performance, crosstalk, and power dissipation needed to support up to 600Gbps single wavelength data rates. The broad portfolio of lower power, programmable software drivers include Mach-Zehnder, Lithium Niobate, Silicon Photonics, and NRZ linear and limiting drivers. Maxlinear TIAs and drivers enable cloud and service providers to increase bandwidth and allow solutions for distances over 1000km.

Last Mile Access: MaxLinear's Full-Duplex (FDX) Fiber Node SoC enables 10Gbit downstream and 5Gbit upstream DOCSIS3.1 services. Its low power and high level of integration allow it to fit into existing fiber nodes. Access and MoCA Access ICs enable the delivery of multi-gigabit content over the last mile to the home using existing phone lines or coax cabling. These ultra-broadband access solutions allow cable operators to deliver gigabit-speed data services ideal for IPTV, video on demand (VOD), and web traffic applications. The baseband processor and analog front-end chipset are fully ITU compliant and deliver the market's highest performance. MaxLinear MoCA Access technology provides an optimized solution for Ethernet-over-Coax (EoC) market.

The mastermind behind the glorious success of MaxLinear

Kishore Seendripu, Ph.D., serves as the Chief Executive Officer of MaxLinear. From July 1996 to July 2002, Dr. Seendripu served in engineering & engineering management roles developing integrated radio frequency & mixed-signal systems-on-chip solutions addressing wireless and broadband communications markets. He has previously worked at Rockwell Semiconductor Systems (predecessor of Skyworks), Broadcom Corporation, and Silicon Wave Inc. (acquired by Qualcomm). From 1990 to 1996, Dr. Seendripu served as a graduate research assistant at the Lawrence Berkeley Livermore National Laboratories, and the Electronics Research Laboratory, U.C. Berkeley.

Dr. Seendripu received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Materials Science Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, a B. Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India, and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

"MaxLinear is a pioneer in the market for the technology that lets consumers create home networks for their Internet and video services using various cabling types."