CableLabs Announces Next Iteration Cable Broadband Spec

Cable industry research group CableLabs has completed its updates for Full Duplex Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS), which means that upload streams will now be as fast as download streams, at speeds of 10Gbps on HFC (hybrid fiber-coaxial) networks. Now, upstream and downstream traffic will stream concurrently, for twice the efficiency. CableLabs says the upgrade will also reduce the need and cost of networks that install fiber to the premises (FttP), otherwise known as the “last mile.”

ZDNet reports that Full Duplex DOCSIS combines “DOCSIS 3.1 technology, self-interference cancelling technology, passive HFC networks and intelligent scheduling.” CableLabs chief executive Phil McKinney explains that, “in the United States, more than 90 percent of households are connected to an HFC network.” Before the upgrade to Full Duplex, DOCSIS 3.1 enabled 10/1Gpbs speeds whereby the “spectrum is split between upstream and downstream traffic.”

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Nokia’s Bell Labs reached 7.5Gbps speeds of Full Duplex DOCSIS via its “proof-of-concept” XG-CABLE technology, which will be able to “easily integrate into the CableLabs new Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 concept.” Nokia plans to apply these new speeds for Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), which partners with Nokia on networking technology.

NBN will “collaborate on bringing DOCSIS 3.1 and Full Duplex DOCSIS to market with CableLabs members Comcast and Cox Communications from the United States; European and American giant Liberty Global; Japan’s Jupiter Telecom; Canada’s Shaw Communications and Rogers Communications; and Vodafone Germany.” CableLabs, in return, will support NBN’s deployment.

Arris is also launching trials of Full Duplex DOCSIS, with the aim of deploying the technology in 2019, said Arris president of network, cloud and services Dan Whalen. Arris is currently in discussion with NBN on the upgrade’s requirements and timing. According to NBN’s corporate plan for 2018 through 2021, 3.1 million Australian homes “will be connected with HFC, while 1.9 million premises get FttP, 4.6 million get fiber to the node (FttN) or fiber to the basement (FttB), 1 million get fiber to the curb (FttC), 600,000 get fixed-wireless, and 400,000 get satellite.”

VentureBeat notes that Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 will give “cable TV companies more ammo as they battle the phone industry and other Internet providers to attract and retain consumers.” Full Duplex DOCSIS will also be a boon in helping “cable operators get ready to meet future usage needs for technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.”

It also noted that the so-called symmetric services, which refers to the concurrent upload and download streams, can help businesses “improve the customer experience” on their websites and will eliminate the need to “deploy fiber to the home, while still maintaining backward compatibility with previous generations of DOCSIS technology.”