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Docsis 3.1: The Final Frontier?

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Cable-Tec Expo -- YAS Capital Partners President and CEO Rouzbeh Yassini is considered by many in industry tech circles to be the "father" of the cable modem, so it follows that we checked in with him at the show to get his thoughts as his baby grows up to become Docsis 3.1. (See Docsis 3.1 Targets 10-Gig Downstream.)

Yassini has lobbied for years that Docsis is in need of a refresh to keep pace with anticipated broadband demand, so he's pleased that the industry, led by CableLabs , is pursuing a more efficient platform that targets 10Gbit/s downstream and 1Gbit/s upstream. (See Looking Beyond Docsis 3.0.)

But does Docsis 3.1 represent the final stage of life for cable's long-time IP data platform before it gives way to fiber-to-the-home (FTTH)?

The short answer: It depends.

The Docsis 3.1 specs are still under development, so it's not yet known if they will include all of the potential optimizations and bells and whistles right off the bat, or if this version will take a more marginal approach and leave some room for a new 3.x version down the road.

If cable decides to go "all-in" with Docsis 3.1, it could indeed mark the final step before cable considers pulling fiber all the way to the home ... even if that step does not have to be taken for many years. And if that's the plan, what will the costs be, and can the vendors live on the resulting product margins?

"Right now our vendors are really pushed to their limits with the cost, cost, cost ... so enabling them [those Docsis 3.1] features might be an issue," Yassini said.

Yassini addresses that question at the 3:14 mark in the video below. During the interview, he also discusses what Docsis 3.1 sets out to accomplish, the operational and business issues MSOs will need to solve during the migration phase, and how long the wait will be for certified 3.1 products.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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