DOCSIS 4.0 'absolutely on the roadmap' at Minim

Minim, a company that holds the Motorola branding license, expects to develop modems and gateways based on specifications that will enable cable operators to deliver multi-gigabit services on HFC.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

February 8, 2022

4 Min Read
DOCSIS 4.0 'absolutely on the roadmap' at Minim

There's still no telling precisely when DOCSIS 4.0 will be ready for mass deployment, but Minim, a device maker and software developer focused on the retail and service provider markets, expects to toss its hat in the ring.

DOCSIS 4.0 "is absolutely on the roadmap," Bill Wallace, VP of hardware engineering at Minim, said. "We fancy ourselves as a Wi-fi company, but DOCSIS is a path to be a Wi-Fi company. We will do a DOCSIS 4.0 product line."

Wallace expects Minim to produce a range of modems and gateways based on the DOCSIS 4.0 specs, which support multi-gigabit speeds, enhanced security and low latencies on the industry's widely deployed hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) network.

Figure 1: DOCSIS 4.0 may be part of Minim's future, but DOCSIS 3.1 is helping to pay today's bills. Pictured is the Motorola-branded MG8725, a gateway equipped with DOCSIS 3.1, support for Low Latency DOCSIS and Wi-Fi 6, and Minim's 'motosync' Wi-Fi management app. (Source: Minim) DOCSIS 4.0 may be part of Minim's future, but DOCSIS 3.1 is helping to pay today's bills. Pictured is the Motorola-branded MG8725, a gateway equipped with DOCSIS 3.1, support for Low Latency DOCSIS and Wi-Fi 6, and Minim's 'motosync' Wi-Fi management app.
(Source: Minim)

But the timing of those products remains a big question, as there's still much work to do on the hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) network – including a shift toward the distributed access architecture – before DOCSIS 4.0 becomes viable.

Operators and suppliers are also keeping an eye on how the DOCSIS 4.0 silicon develops for both network gear and customer premises equipment (CPE) devices. Broadcom, industry sources say, has sought certain commitments in exchange for access to its new D4.0 tech, and MaxLinear has indicated that it wants certain assurances from operators if it's to push forward on tech development.

Wallace said DOCSIS 4.0 won't be a big focus for Minim this year, but he is hopeful that the company will be engaged with operators on the technology in 2023. "We absolutely need to be there," he added.

That idea is starting to take shape more than a year after Minim combined with Zoom Telephonics and came out of the deal with a strategy that combines modems, gateways and other hardware with the company's Wi-Fi management software and services. Minim also emerged from that deal with Zoom's license for the Motorola brand.

DOCSIS 4.0 and Wi-Fi 7 seem a good match

Wallace believes DOCSIS 4.0 and Wi-Fi 6/Wi-Fi 6E make for a good match but sees more opportunity for DOCSIS 4.0 to be paired with the emerging, higher-capacity Wi-Fi 7 standard.

Dell'Oro Group believes that today's supply constraints are dampening enthusiasm for Wi-Fi 6E to the point that it stands to be bypassed by Wi-Fi 7. Comcast, though, appears bullish about Wi-Fi 6E as it has built the technology into its new XB8 gateway.

Update: Dell'Oro clarified that the potential bypass of Wi-Fi 6E for Wi-Fi 7 is only in reference to the enterprise market. The firm likewise sees Wi-Fi 6E as having a very consequential role in the residential sector, with the use of the 6GHz channel for backhaul of traffic from mesh satellite units among the expected important use cases.

"I think Wi-Fi 7 and DOCSIS 4.0 go together just tremendously," Wallace said. "It just feels like they are a great match for each other."

New in-app chat shows encouraging signs

As Minim's D4.0 product plans start to take shape, the company is pressing forward with some new customer service capabilities that include in-app support with real people rather than relegating those tasks to automated bots and phone calls.

Timed with last month's CES, the company added in-app chat support for "motosync," a Wi-Fi management platform designed to help users set up and secure their home networks by connecting them with live networking specialists. While AI-assisted bots can help with high-level problems, the system is now equipped to put customers in touch with a live specialist to help resolve issues.

It's early days for Minim's in-app chat feature, but the company says it has already generated a satisfaction rate of 92.3%, compared to 88% for phone-based help.

Among other early stats, the company says the average chat duration on the in-app system is ten minutes and 25 seconds, compared to 16 minutes when customer inquiries are handled via the phone. The average wait time is one minute with the in-app chat system compared to ten minutes for phone-in inquiries, the company said.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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