In 2017, it was revealed that Intel’s Puma 6 chipset for cable modems had been defective, interfering with the connection for internet users with this modem component. While it is such a small part, the chipset defect was enough to cause a lawsuit against Intel.
While Intel has since worked to correct its error, it still has left a bad taste in many users’ mouths, making them leery to get another modem with an Intel chipset. This is what you need to know.
What is a Chipset?
For those unfamiliar, an Intel chipset is a component that is used on motherboards for Intel processors. The chipset controls communication between the processor and other components of the motherboard, including the memory and peripherals.
Intel’s Puma 6 chipset started appearing in cable modems in 2015. While Intel had previously been known for its high quality components, the Puma 6 fell short.
Signs of Trouble
The first signs of trouble for the Puma 6 component were back in 2011 when cable users started complaining of spikes in coverage and interruptions in streaming. While the same issue existed in the Puma 5, the Puma 6 was more noticeable and became more of a problem.
The vulnerability of the Puma 6 is that a potential cybercriminal could knock your modem offline or increase a connection lag without any struggle. This open vulnerability lead to a lawsuit in 2017.
Filed in the Northern California District Court, a class-action suit appeared in 2017 against Arris brand cable modems. Within the complaint, it was explained that there were violations of consumer protection laws.
Arris’s SURFborad modem was using the defective Intel Puma 6 chipset, which had already been known to have a high tendency for latency. As a result, the modem would have unpredictable connectivity, ruining online gaming and other latency-sensitive apps.
What Happened to Puma 6?
Even though there had been multiple complaints about the Puma 6 chipset, modem manufacturers continued to use this chipset up until quite recently. Intel has also since released a Puma 7 chipset, but that chipset is also known to have bugs in it.
The biggest consequence of the Puma 6 defect, outside of users having their information put at risk, was that modem manufacturers, including Arris, have steered away from the formerly reliable Intel. Knowing already that there are latency concerns, it should come as no surprise that they were forced to start to look elsewhere, especially since the defect was not completely fixed by the Puma 7.
How do I Know if I have a Puma 6 Chipset?
The simplest way to know whether your cable modem has a Puma 6 chipset is to look at the packaging for the modem. If the package has the classic “Intel Inside” logo on it, there is a good chance that it contains the defective Puma 6 or the questionable Puma 7 inside of it. If you do see this logo, best to avoid that cable modem and take a look at another.
Not all modems will advertise on their packaging that they use the Puma 6 chipset, however, and you might need to dig a little deeper in order to get a solid answer. There is a list put together, however, that will show specifically which cable modems have the defective chip in it. Your model number for your modem should be printed on the bottom of the modem itself. You can review the list of modems in question here.
If you have not purchased a cable modem yet, just make sure that it does not have the Intel chipsets in order to make sure you are not getting a defective component.