Comcast Preps a Docsis 3.0 Boost
Speaking on an opening panel session at Light Reading Cable's event Thursday, Senior Director of Network Architecture Chris Bastian said Comcast has already completed a field trial with one of its cable modem termination system (CMTS) vendors and is on track to complete a second one with a different supplier by the end of March.
Comcast isn't disclosing the sites of those trials, but the new capabilities tested in those markets will remain in place and be ready to go if Comcast decides to start marketing speed tiers that take advantage of bonded upstream channels.
Comcast has been testing upstream channel bonding on its "Extreme" Docsis 3.0 tiers that, for now, cap the upstream at 10 Mbit/s. Upstream channel bonding would let Comcast raise that ceiling. At last year's event, Bastian said lab trials were producing "sustained" upstream speeds of 75Mbit/s. (See Comcast: Upstream Bonding Tests Yield 'Sustained' 75 Mbit/s .)
Comcast isn't saying how much speed it would add as upstream channel bonding comes online, but the technology certainly would give it a new weapon against competitors such as Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), which has already launched a FiOS tier supporting 35Mbit/s upstream speeds.
Regarding the field trials, Bastian says a technique called partial service mode has worked as expected when applied across bonded upstream channels. That comes into play if one channel has to be taken out of service temporarily due to high noise levels; the modem continues to operate normally using the unaffected upstream channels. The peak speeds of the modem would be lower, but the device would remain in service, Bastian explained.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable