DENVER -- Cable Next-Gen IP Strategies: Entering the Zettabyte Era -- The budding Docsis 3.1 specifications, which will target max downstream speeds of 10Gbit/s, are on track for completion this year as vendors prepare to create and introduce the first wave of 3.1 products next year, a top CableLabs exec said here Tuesday. (See Docsis 3.1 Targets 10-Gig Downstream.)
Changes in the way CableLabs develops the specs and gets vendors involved at an earlier stage in their development should accelerate the product and deployment timeline, said Dan Rice, the VP of access network technology at CableLabs.
According to the latest Docsis 3.1 specification schedule, products should begin to appear in 2014, with initial deployments getting underway in 2015 and 2016. As CableLabs views it, the anticipated timeline for Docsis 3.1 is on a much faster track than several other broadband technologies and standards, including WiMAX and Long-Term Evolution.
Despite that accelerated time frame for Docsis 3.1, "there's still a lot of runway left with Docsis 3.0," said Jeff Finkelstein, the senior director of network architecture for Cox Communications Inc. To aid the transition, the first wave of Docsis 3.1 modems and gateways will be hybrid versions that also support Docsis 3.0, he pointed out. It's expected that the price delta between those 3.1 devices and today's Docsis 3.0 consumer premises equipment will be much lower than it was for the move from Docsis 2.0 to Docsis 3.0, so that should allow operators to migrate to 3.1 more rapidly and more economically.
Operators will also need to decide when to start introducing Docsis 3.1 on the network, namely cable modem termination systems (CMTSs) and a new class of Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) chassis, which will integrate both the CMTS and edge QAM functions. Comcast Corp. VP of Access Architecture Jorge Salinger estimated that operators might start to buy 3.1 line cards in 2014 and 2015, and perhaps buy 3.1 versions of network hardware exclusively by mid-2015.
While multi-gigabit speeds are a key driver for Docsis 3.1, its ability to improve spectral efficiency by about 50 percent is equally, if not more, important.
"It's all about efficiency," Salinger said when asked why 2015 seems to be the target date for significant deployments of Docsis 3.1. "The quicker we can have it [Docsis 3.1], the faster we can use our spectrum more efficiently. You can't just have more spectrum."
It's expected that cable operators will need to free up a minimum of 24MHz of spectrum to support the initial wave of Docsis 3.1, Salinger said.
Docsis 3.1: End of the line?
But will cable need something beyond Docsis 3.1?
"Will somebody ask for 100Gbit/s some day?" asked John Chapman, a fellow and CTO of Cisco Systems Inc.'s cable access business unit. "Never say never."
Cable won't need much more than 3.1 for the foreseeable future "if it's done right," predicted Peter Percosan, managing director for Cable Europe Labs.
CableLabs' Rice predicted that "3.1 gets us at least a decade" of capacity runway before cable might have to consider a architectural change.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.
During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.
She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.