CableLabs Certifies First D3.1 Modems

DOCSIS 3.1, the cable industry's great hope for widespread gigabit network upgrades, is one step closer to mainstream deployment with the announcement today that CableLabs has certified its first batch of cable modems as D3.1-compliant.

The winning companies in this certification round include Askey Inc. , CastleNet Technology Inc. , Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR), Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH) and Ubee Interactive . Not listed in the line-up is industry giant Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), which just swallowed up Pace plc and is by far the largest vendor of customer premises equipment (CPE) in the cable business. Other companies known to be testing D3.1 cable modems include Humax Co. Ltd. and Sagem. (See DOCSIS 3.1 Is Right on Schedule.)

Although no modems were officially certified for DOCSIS 3.1 until today, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) started testing the technology with field trials back in December. The giant US MSO plans to be one of the first to use the DOCSIS upgrade to support gigabit broadband speeds over legacy hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) networks beginning this year. At a CableLabs interop event last fall, a Comcast Xfinity-branded D3.1 modem by Technicolor was among those included in a demonstration roundup. (See Comcast Kicks Off D3.1 Era.)

Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) and Videotron Ltd. also expect to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 in 2016.

For more on cable technology trends, visit the cable channel here at Light Reading.

According to CableLabs, the certification of the five D3.1 modems, which also support the prevailing DOCSIS 3.0 spec, marks the largest number of products ever approved in the first certification wave of a new DOCSIS specification. The achievement offers further evidence of the urgent timetable around DOCSIS 3.1. As telecom providers turn up the heat with new fiber-to-the-home deployments, Google Fiber Inc. continues to apply pressure in select cities and even municipalities get into the gigabit game, cable operators need an answer to the promise of higher-capacity broadband from competitors.

Even as some cable companies (including Comcast) move forward with targeted FTTH rollouts, DOCSIS 3.1 is still widely considered to be the best solution for bringing gigabit Internet to a widespread cable audience.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

Camaro922k3 1/14/2016 | 10:35:41 PM
Re: 5 Gbps I bet it's due to the fact full 10Gbps down was designed for HFC network that designed for 1.2 Ghz capacity. No HFC network is built the high. Most are 750 to 870 mhz.
Jean Baptiste 1/14/2016 | 7:17:16 AM
Re: 5 Gbps Great question. I was going to ask the same.
msilbey 1/13/2016 | 2:06:33 PM
Arris response Here's the official line from Arris: 

ARRIS is currently developing several D3.1 products including modems and gateways which we plan to submit for certification next month. We have seen tremendous interest since our October (SCTE) announcement where we first announced our D3.1 modems for service providers and retailers. We look forward to making major customer announcements in the coming months.

msilbey 1/13/2016 | 2:05:56 PM
Re: 5 Gbps Interesting question. I don't know why the limitation, but I'll find out.
KBode 1/13/2016 | 1:44:53 PM
5 Gbps Interesting that these initial modems "only" support 5 Gbps down, 1 Gbps up insead of the 10 gbps down, 1 gbps speeds the full standard supports. Do we know what about making them backward compatible with DOCSIS 3.0 stunts the full potential?
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