While cable companies currently view DOCSIS 3.1 as a means of pushing Internet speeds over hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) as high as 10 Gbps, Arris Cloud and Network Solutions CTO Tom Cloonan said far greater speeds might some day be realized without the industry having to go all fiber.
"What do we do in the 2030 decade? Maybe we can push DOCSIS up to 50 Gbps, 100 Gbps or even 200 Gbps. Sound crazy? Maybe not," Cloonan said while speaking at the recent CableLabs Summer Conference's Innovation Showcase. Multichannel News first reported on Cloonan's comments.
Cloonan's admittedly "controversial" concept is centered around using DOCSIS 3.1's orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) to increase HFC's capacity to 6 GHz -- a huge leap over the current a 1 GHz standard of the most advanced cable plants. It also involves deployment of fiber to shorten the length of HFC.
Cloonan cited the example of the telco industry, which increased the capacity of twisted pair wiring from 1.5 Mbps in 1995 to 1 Gbps for G.Fast services that will roll out next year. "That's a 700 percent improvement in 21 years," he said.
"How'd they do that? They stretched the fiber and made the copper portion of their network much shorter in length," he said.
Cloonan said adopting this strategy could extend HFC's lifespan beyond 2020. "It may take us out to 2030, or maybe even 2040," he added.
Cloonan's comments are noteworthy considering Arris is the world's largest vendor of DOCSIS equipment, for both CPE and network elements, according to research firm IHS.
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