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May 5, 2015
CHICAGO -- INTX -- Amid a slew of demos and announcements on customer service investments here, Comcast slid in some new details about where it's headed with DOCSIS 3.1 and RDK-B. According to Comcast Vice President of Hardware Design Fraser Stirling, who was on hand at a company press event, the MSO has nearly 1,000 D3.1-ready headends already in the field, all of which can be updated to the new broadband spec with just a software upgrade.
In March, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) Vice President of Access Architecture Jorge Salinger shared the news that the company is already running live DOCSIS 3.1 tests out of one of its headends. (See Comcast Puts DOCSIS 3.1 Live in the Field.)
Stirling went a step further, however, to say that Comcast will launch new D3.1 network trials starting in the third quarter of this year, followed by trials with D3.1 consumer devices -- like Comcast's just-announced Gigabit Home Gateway -- in both Q3 and Q4. (See Cablecos Going Gaga Over Gigabit.)
Figure 1: Comcast' New Gigabit Home Gateway The new gateway is pictured in two versions: original and mini-me.
In parallel with its DOCSIS 3.1 efforts, Comcast is also working on development of the new RDK-B software stack for broadband devices. Designed to create a common, open-source platform for cable modems and broadband gateways, RDK-B was only talked about publicly for the first time at the 2014 Cable Show. Comcast then announced last September that it was working with Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) to start field trials of a gateway with the RDK-B stack embedded inside. (See Comcast Plans RDK-for-Broadband Gateway Trials in Q4.)
For the latest on the Gigabit Cities movement, visit Light Reading's dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel. And be sure to register to attend Light Reading's Gigabit Cities Live event on May 13-14 in Atlanta.
Stirling explained that initial RDK-B trials are already underway, both with gateways and with new extender devices that are built to boost in-home WiFi signals. Ultimately, all of the company's dual-band routers will be upgradable to RDK-B.
Stirling also said a second wave of RDK-B trials will start up later this year with the new Gigabit Home Gateways. Not coincidentally, he confirmed that Arris is one of Comcast's manufacturing partners for the gigabit gateway device, along with Taiwanese company Compal Electronics Inc. . Stirling emphasized, however, that the design of the new gateway was created by internal Comcast teams.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading
Senior Editor, Cable/Video
Mari Silbey is a senior editor covering broadband infrastructure, video delivery, smart cities and all things cable. Previously, she worked independently for nearly a decade, contributing to trade publications, authoring custom research reports and consulting for a variety of corporate and association clients. Among her storied (and sometimes dubious) achievements, Mari launched the corporate blog for Motorola's Home division way back in 2007, ran a content development program for Limelight Networks and did her best to entertain the video nerd masses as a long-time columnist for the media blog Zatz Not Funny. She is based in Washington, D.C.
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