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CableLabs completes Full Duplex DOCSIS spec

October 12, 2017

By Colin Mann

US cable industry research and development lab CableLabs has completed the Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 specification, designed to help cable operators find cost-effective solutions to meet the growing demand for faster broadband speeds.

“In the United States, more than 90 per cent of households are connected to an HFC (hybrid fibre-coaxial) network, and consumers typically have higher download speeds than upload speeds. By enabling Full Duplex DOCSIS, the upstream and downstream traffic can flow at up to 10 Gigabits concurrently, doubling the efficiency of spectrum use,” advises Phil McKinney, president and chief executive officer of CableLabs.

Explaining the specification’s development, Belal Hamzeh VP, Research & Development, Wireless Technologies, notes that the number of connected devices and bandwidth-hungry online experiences are expected to increase exponentially in the next decade. Also, with the continuous development of new applications that enable new experiences, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, an increase in upstream capacity demand is a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’. “Operators are continuously challenged to find cost-effective solutions to meet this growing demand for faster broadband speeds. With a focus on solving this challenge of the future, CableLabs recently completed the Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 specification.”

Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 technology builds on the successful completion of CableLabs’ DOCSIS 3.1 specification, which made deployments of 10 Gbps downstream and 1 Gbps upstream broadband possible. Full Duplex 3.1 technology improves upon the DOCSIS 3.1 standard by:

  • Significantly increasing upstream capacity
  • Enabling symmetric multi-gigabit services over existing hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) technology
  • Ensuring that cable operators are ready to meet future usage needs for technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality – although widespread consumer demand for high speed upstream is not yet here, operators need to be prepared when the time comes

“Current DOCSIS networks have to juggle available upstream and downstream traffic. Full Duplex DOCSIS technology supports multi-gigabit symmetric services by enabling concurrent transmissions in the same spectrum, providing the ability to increase the upstream capacity without sacrificing downstream capacity. This has the potential to greatly improve network efficiency and, in turn, customer experience,” suggests Hamzeh.

Starting from Full Duplex DOCSIS as an internal innovation, CableLabs developed the solution in collaboration with its members and industry partners, enabling cable operators to deliver multi-gigabit symmetric services. Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 technology offers high speeds over the existing infrastructure and is less expensive to deploy than fibre, while still maintaining backwards compatibility with previous generations of DOCSIS technology, says CableLabs

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