& cplSiteName &

Comcast Gives FTTH a Shot

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
9/27/2012
50%
50%

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is using the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) capabilities of its Metro Ethernet platform to power a new residential broadband service with a maximum downstream speed of 305 Mbit/s and a potential 65 Mbit/s upstream.

The cable operator is using Docsis 3.0 technology for its widely deployed 105Mbit/s (downstream) high-speed Internet residential service, and has even demonstrated how that service could ultimately achieve speeds of more than 1 Gbit/s on live cable plant. (See Comcast Plugs In Cisco for 1-Gig Docsis Demo .)

Despite that potential, Comcast is keeping Docsis 3.0 on the sidelines for its newest, fastest residential broadband tier, called Extreme 305, which is being offered in several major markets in the Northeastern U.S., including Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

In terms of speeds, it matches Quantum FiOS, a new GPON service from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) that offers 300 Mbit/s downstream and 65 Mbit/s up. (See FiOS Speeds & Prices Take a Quantum Leap .)

Comcast didn't provide much technical detail about the systems that will enable Extreme 305 when it announced the new service in July, and didn't add much detail last week when the service was launched, causing some observers to falsely assume it was a Docsis 3.0 offering. But the company has confirmed that Extreme 305, at least initially, is fiber-based. (See Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier, Comcast's Fastest Broadband Starts Cap-Free and Comcast's Technicolor Dream Gateway.)

This post at Broadband Reports outlines some of the service's technical criteria, noting that eligible customers must be within reach of Comcast's Metro Ethernet platform, which the MSO is already using to go up-market to serve mid-sized business customers. Extreme 305 also appears to be limited to single-dwelling units that are located less than one-third of a mile from a fiber access node. In the home, the service relies on the Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) R6300, an 802.11ac Wi-Fi router. (See Ciena, Cisco & Juniper Get Piece of Comcast's MetroE.)

Essentially, Comcast is fighting fiber with fiber. It's utilizing a business-class platform to deliver a high-end residential service as it tries to discover what sort of demand there is for an uncapped 300Mbit/s product that currently sells for US$300 per month. And, according to this statement from Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas, it appears that Comcast will use the fiber-based approach as a placeholder for very high-capacity residential broadband services until it makes business sense for the MSO to make significant changes to its Docsis platform:

"We've demonstrated our Docsis 3.0 infrastructure, which we currently deliver to more than 50 million homes, is capable of delivering 1 Gbps or more. While demand for faster speeds continues to grow, demand for ultrafast speed tiers (of more than 200 Mbps) is still emerging. In the near-term, until there is clear demand to modify the capacity of our existing Docsis infrastructure, we can provide our new residential Extreme 305 service by leveraging the fiber already in our network and our Metro-E product."


The status of Docsis 3.0
The latest generation of high-volume Docsis 3.0 modems and gateways can bond eight downstream channels, enough for bursts in the area of 300 Mbit/s, though sustained speeds would be much lower than that. Hitron Technologies Inc. , Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and other Docsis 3.0 CPE vendors are also developing models based on new silicon from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) that can bond 16 or 24 downstream channels and up to eight upstream channels. The 24-channel version can achieve downstream rates near 1 Gbit/s when fully loaded. (See Intel's New Docsis 3.0 Chip Guns for 1-Gig .)

But those products are still in their infancy. Hitron, for example, plans to submit a wireless gateway based on the 24-channel configuration to CableLabs for certification testing this November. Results from that test wave aren't expected until late February 2013. Some of the major cable modem termination system (CMTS) vendors, meanwhile, are working on new software that can accommodate these beefier channel-bonding capabilities. Depending on the vendor, that software may not be ready until mid-2013. (See 1-Gig Cable Gateway Gets Ready for Its Close-Up .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
marjsdad
50%
50%
marjsdad,
User Rank: Lightning
12/5/2012 | 5:20:19 PM
re: Comcast Gives FTTH a Shot


Interestingly, using different (actually complementary) technology, Comcast is offering a tier that would be exactly in line with an 8 down, 4 up DOCSIS 3.0 configuration, which I think is quickly becoming the standard until chips and gear for 16 or 24 bonded channels comes on line. So, regardless of the technology, Comcast could offer the same top tier to every market.

AESerm
50%
50%
AESerm,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:19 PM
re: Comcast Gives FTTH a Shot


So apart from the Netgear 6300 in the home, the network interface to the residence is what, just a media converter? Any talk of EPON here?

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:18 PM
re: Comcast Gives FTTH a Shot


Off-hand, I don't know much about the network interface in this instance and how it's similar or different than what Comcast's using to bring MetroE to biz customers (anyone from Comcast care to confirm?). They didn't mention EPON specifically in the context of this new residential MetroE tier, but that's the approach a lot of the cable guys have been taking with their carrier Ethernet/fiber deployments, no? JB


 

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:18 PM
re: Comcast Gives FTTH a Shot


It certainly does, but i wonder if the headroom in 8x4 is big enough to support a product that could be advertised as 300Mbit/s down... maybe it's too tight, meaning that they'd have to look at 16x4 or 24x8.  But this near-term approach seems to make some business sense... use existing fiber and the MetroE platform for one-off deployments as you figure out the demand, then spend more building up more Docsis capacity once there's a broader need to support those bigger broadband tiers... or perhaps when they're ready to employ a full IP video simulcast.  Makes no sense to add all that capacity across the board in a system if it only benefits a sliver of the customer base.  JB


 

AESerm
50%
50%
AESerm,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:13 PM
re: Comcast Gives FTTH a Shot


And no 'fiberhoods,' I gather. 

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:13 PM
re: Comcast Gives FTTH a Shot


As a quick update, there's no EPON involved in this; it's all point-to-point. JB

From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
LRTV Interviews
Colt Sales Exec on Services Trends

7|4|17   |   12:59   |   (0) comments


Colt's sales director for enterprise, James Kershaw, sheds some light on the services currently in demand and how network upgrades are influencing customer demand.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Mobile to Power Online Video Consumption – Zenith
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/19/2017
Can Mushroom Sprout in Crowded SD-WAN Field?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/18/2017
AI Will Be Ubiquitous in 2020 but Overhyped in 2017 – Gartner
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 7/18/2017
Facing the Facebook Video Threat
Gary Miles, Chief Marketing Officer, Amdocs, 7/17/2017
Brocade, Broadcom Merger in Doubt
Iain Morris, News Editor, 7/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Fuzzy Quick Fix Click Here
If you can't access it, is it really broken?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.