MaxLinear eyes Broadcom gateway share with new AnyWAN chips

MaxLinear unveiled a new trio of AnyWAN chipsets for broadband gateway products, offering operators the ability to use a single product for CPE compatible with 10G fiber, cable, copper, ethernet and 5G fixed wireless access. Dell’Oro Goup VP Jeff Heynen said the new capabilities offered by the chips coupled with the timing of the release could help MaxLinear gain on market leader Broadcom.

The new lineup includes the URX850, URX851 and MxL25641, all of which are based on 16nm process technology. The URX850 and URX851 each have four embedded x86 cores while the MxL25641 has two. Both the 850 and 851 boast four 2.5 Gbps ethernet PHYs, though the former has nine high-speed input/output options to the latter’s eight. The MxL25641 has five high-speed input/outputs. All include tri-band support for Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 configurations.

According to Heynen, a key perk of AnyWAN products is their ability to help operators reduce the number of product SKUs they have for home gateway products, cutting costs and making their supply chain more reliable. That’s especially key for operators like Charter Communications, for instance, who provide a mix of access types.

Heynen noted the AnyWAN range itself isn’t new. It was originally launched by Lantiq in 2012, before that business was acquired by Intel in 2015. MaxLinear bought Intel’s home gateway division in 2020. But he said the technology has “become more relevant now,” particularly when taken alongside MaxLinear’s complimentary AnyLAN offerings.

“If you look at all the change that’s happening, even on the Wi-Fi side with 6E and 7 and 6 obviously still in development now, it becomes really hard for an operator and also the ODM suppliers to address all of these changes without having to refresh the CPE all the time,” Heynen said.

The analyst added the timing of MaxLinear’s AnyWAN refresh is also notable given dominant broadband chipset player Broadcom’s struggles with long lead times and order backlogs. Broadcom is currently the largest producer in the broadband access space.

Broadcom grew its revenue 25% year on year to $8.5 billion in its fiscal Q3 (ended July 31, 2022), with net income rising to $3.1 billion. However, CEO Hock Tan noted on an earnings call that lead times remained at around 50 weeks and its order backlog ballooned to $31 billion, more than double the $14.9 billion backlog it had at the end of fiscal 2021.

Heynen concluded that beyond the technology advances included in the revamp, MaxLinear’s release “is representative of more vendors looking at Broadcom’s supply chain issues and seeing an opportunity to grow at their expense.”