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Cable Accelerates Wideband Response

Michael Harris
News Analysis
Michael Harris
6/29/2006

Cable operators are concerned about telco fiber and IPTV deployments, but they also understand that these formidable competitors can’t move faster than their backhoes. So while the telcos dig and deploy new networks, MSOs are readying competitive responses.

At the top of the list is “wideband” technology that will boost DOCSIS cable modem speeds to more than 100 Mbit/s, fast enough to compete with any near-term telco fiber offering.

Today’s DOCSIS 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0 cable modem networks are only able to support data transmissions within a single downstream 6 MHz radio frequency (RF) channel, limiting maximum throughput to 38 Mbit/s per modem. To hike data rates, CableLabs is cooking up a new standard – DOCSIS 3.0 – that will enable a cable modem to simultaneously tune into multiple 6 MHz channels through packet bonding techniques. The approach creates a wideband channel that can support well over 100 Mbit/s downstream, although the bandwidth is shared among many cable modem users.

While wideband is a powerful weapon in cable’s arsenal, there’s a catch. The DOCSIS 3.0 specification isn't done. In fact, it's not even close. And once it is finished, there will be a long wait for cable modem termination systems (CMTSs) that qualify for DOCSIS 3.0 specification compliance.

“The DOCSIS 3.0 spec has not been issued yet,” says Tom Cloonan, CTO of ARRIS. “If history is any indicator of the future, it may take two to two-and-a-half years to get a qualified CMTS out there.”

Read the complete story at Cable Digital News.

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