& 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
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.
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.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Creating Dynamic Networks to Meet Business Needs

5|26|17   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


As enterprises need more dynamic networks, service providers need to deliver on-demand, virtual services to meet those needs. AT&T is creating a networking fabric to mix-and-match SDN technologies for enterprise customers, says Roman Pacewicz, AT&T senior vice president for offer management and service integration, in an interview at Light Reading's
LRTV Interviews
EdgeConneX on Industry Headwinds & Tailwinds

5|26|17   |   2:41   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017, EdgeConneX CTO Don MacNeil discussed the value of partnerships in the digital world.
LRTV Documentaries
4 Steps Toward a Higher Network IQ

5|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, EXFO CEO Philippe Morin explains how sensors and analytics can boost a network's intelligence and enable on-demand customer experiences. Find more BCE 2017 coverage here.
LRTV Interviews
BT's McRae Sheds Light on 4K Strategy

5|25|17   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017 in Austin, Texas, BT Group's Chief Network Architect Neil McRae talks about what it took for BT to broadcast live sports in 4K. Catch up with all our BCE coverage at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
From the Founder
How the NIA Aims to Advance NFV

5|25|17   |   08:07   |   (1) comment


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.
LRTV Custom TV
Better Solutions That Address Growing Scale

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


For Comcast, the X1 rollout and 17-fold increases in broadband speeds in the past 16 years are among factors driving the need for Energy 2020 solutions that reduce cost and consumption, says Mark Hess.
LRTV Custom TV
Ethernity Network Delivers Instant Offloading of Network Functions With All-Programmable Intelligent NIC

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Levi, CEO of Ethernity Networks, explains that programmability of the hardware makes the company's All-Programmable Intelligent NIC uniquely beneficial for communications service providers that need advanced data appliances with agile support of virtualization. Utilizing the company's patented network processing technology, Ethernity offers data path ...
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Vodafone Gets Obsessed With Cloud-Native

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Vodafone's Matt Beal updates us on Project Ocean and explains why simple virtualization isn't enough of a goal for network transformation. Catch up with other BCE 2017 keynotes and news at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Intel's Take on Network Transformation

5|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In this BCE 2017 keynote, Lynn Comp discusses Intel's vision for areas such as analytics, automation and service assurance. For more videos and BCE coverage, see http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
Order From Chaos: The Steve Saunders BCE Keynote

5|24|17   |   17:27   |   (0) comments


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 testing.
Think of this as the video sequel to the recent columns he's written about NFV and the prospect of a telecom app store. (See

LRTV Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
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
Cities Clamor for More Clout at FCC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2017
What's Blocking 4K TV Today
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 5/22/2017
Sonus & Genband Finally Combine to Form $745M Company
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
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 ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
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.