Arris Preps First Live DOCSIS 3.1 Demo

DENVER -- Arris is aiming to be the first company to demonstrate a live, public DOCSIS 3.1 transmission at this week's Cable-Tec Expo event here.

The new DOCSIS 3.1 specification is the first cable data spec to use orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM). Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) claims that its demo will be the first to show an OFDM-modulated DOCSIS signal. Arris will run the demo on its E6000 Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) chassis, using pre-production chipsets from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and STMicroelectronics NV (NYSE: STM). Actual MSO deployments of the next-generation cable technology aren't expected until at least the end of next year.

DOCSIS 3.1 will be a topic of several workshops and discussions at this week's Cable-Tec Expo, hosted by the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) . The new specification promises to increase data capacity in cable networks and provide support for speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s in the downstream and 1 Gbit/s in the upstream. The technology will also decrease the cost per bit of data delivery through the use of OFDM and a Forward Error Correction (FEC) technique designed to enable higher order modulations.

Although CableLabs released the DOCSIS 3.1 spec just 11 months ago, vendors are moving quickly to bring new DOCSIS 3.1 hardware to market. It's widely expected that DOCSIS 3.1-capable cable modems and wireless data gateways will be available for lab and field testing within months. (See DOCSIS 3.1: What's Next?)

With the E6000 demo, Arris is looking to prove that its existing CCAP headend hardware can be compatible with DOCSIS 3.1 in the downstream through a software-only update. Once available, the software update should allow operators to run trials with new DOCSIS 3.1 customer premises equipment.

Get the latest updates on cable's next-gen network developments by visiting Light Reading's CCAP/next-gen nets content channel.

At Cable-Tec Expo, Arris is also introducing a new technology called AgileMax, which is designed to eliminate Optical Beat Interference (OBI) in RF over Glass (RFOG) deployments. Because it hampers network performance, OBI has been a persistent thorn in the side of operators considering RFOG implementations to extend the fiber reach of their hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) plant.

Ray Bontempi, Arris vice president of product management, explained that performance problems are only exacerbated with DOCSIS 3.1, making AgileMax a critical innovation for enabling successful RFOG deployments going forward. Arris isn't disclosing any details on how the technology works, but says AgileMax will be commercially available in the first quarter of next year.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

KBode 9/22/2014 | 9:24:46 AM
Upstream Looking forward to see what this is capable of, especially on the upstream where cable offerings tend to be weakest. So around 2016 before we see any significant commercial deployments? I'm guessing there's a number of phone companies (CenturyLink comes to mind) that aren't too eager for that date to arrive. 
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