DOCSIS 3.1 to Enable Symmetrical 10Gbps Broadband
Even while we are trying to figure out the lack of high-speed internet access in rural America and the lack of affordable Internet access in many urban centers, CableLabs recently announced that the group has completed the Full Duplex Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification update to DOCSIS 3.1. This should make symmetrical speeds possible over cable lines.
According to CableLabs, Full Duplex DOCSIS “significantly increases upstream capacity and enable symmetric multi-gigabit services” across HFC services with the uptake of higher bandwidth services worldwide driving the need to increase network capacity.
“In the United States, more than 90% of households are connected to an HFC network and consumers typically have higher download speeds than upload speeds,” CableLabs CEO Phil McKinney said.
Even now, cable operators like Comcast struggle to offer anything faster than 35 Mbps on the upstream side of the equation due to restrictions in the DOCSIS standard.
Cable’s upstream has long been relegated to a limited slice of bandwidth (5 MHz to 42 MHz) referred to as a “low split.” To dramatically increase upstream cable speeds, cable operators have been exploring a “mid-split” that would bump the ceiling to 85 MHz, or a “high-split” that would push it to 200 MHz. Full duplex technology would eliminate the need for these splits entirely.
“Current DOCSIS networks have to juggle available upstream and downstream traffic,” CableLabs Research and Development VP Belal Hamzeh says of the upgrade. “Full Duplex DOCSIS technology supports multi-gigabit symmetric services by enabling concurrent transmissions in the same spectrum, providing the ability to increase the upstream capacity without sacrificing downstream capacity. This has the potential to greatly improve network efficiency and, in turn, customer experience.”
Most analysts seem to agree that the initial wave of full duplex DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades will probably start to appear in the second half of 2019 or early part of 2020.