DOCSIS 3.1 moves closer to deployment with interoperability exercise

DOCSIS 3.1, the latest version of the operating system used by cable MSOs in the U.S. and elsewhere that promises to support gigabit download speeds over hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) plant, has taken a step closer to deployment. CableLabs, the industry's non-profit research and development consortium, reports that six technology suppliers have successfully completed the first interoperability test of DOCSIS 3.1 products.

DOCSIS 3.1, the latest version of the operating system used by cable MSOs in the U.S. and elsewhere that promises to support gigabit download speeds over hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) plant, has taken a step closer to deployment. CableLabs, the industry's non-profit research and development consortium, reports that six technology suppliers have successfully completed the first interoperability test of DOCSIS 3.1 products.

The interoperability event included providers of early implementations of cable modems, Converged Cable Access Platforms (CCAPs), and test and measurement equipment focused on physical layer connectivity. The participants tested product interoperability and successfully demonstrated both higher efficiency and wider channels, CableLabs says.

Work began on the DOCSIS 3.1 effort in Fall 2012 and CableLabs released chip specifications in October 2013 (see "SCTE Special Working Group to tackle DOCSIS 3.1" and "CableLabs releases DOCSIS 3.1 chip specifications"). "The remarkable speed at which DOCSIS 3.1 has gone from concept, to specification, to interoperability testing demonstrates the great value of collaboration by industry stakeholders," said Phil McKinney, president and CEO of CableLabs. "This is a great step forward toward future deployment."

DOCSIS 3.1 promises to support shared downstream transmission of up to 10 Gbps and 1 Gbps upstream. In addition to the higher data rates, the new operating system is expected to provide additional benefits, including:

  • Improved quality of experience via Active Queue Management
  • Higher capacity by enabling the ability to transmit up to 50% more data over the same spectrum on existing HFC networks
  • Increased cable modem energy efficiency
  • Flexible migration strategy through backwards compatibilily with older DOCSIS modems.

"The success of this first DOCSIS 3.1 interop validates that multi-Gigabit services will soon be a reality for cable broadband customers," said Tom Lookabaugh, chief research and development officer at CableLabs. "Operators around the world can now look forward to a new generation of capabilities added to their DOCSIS-based networks."

CableLabs expects to facilitate additional interoperability exercises in advance of opening a technology certification program in 2015. The next interop is scheduled for January 19–23 at CableLabs' facility in Louisville, CO.

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