Comcast pushing to make new DAA nodes Full Duplex-capable

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Comcast is working with CableLabs and its vendors to make Distributed Access Architecture nodes Full Duplex (FDX)-capable. 

The revelation came from Rob Howald, VP of network architecture for Comcast, who was speaking remotely last week at Light Reading’s “Cable Next-Gen Technologies and Strategies” conference in Denver. (Light Reading’s Mari Silbey featured a report on the event.)

As Comcast and other cable operators begin to integrate DAA into their DOCSIS 3.1 networks, they face the prospect of having to once again upgrade their infrastructure to CableLabs’ Full Duplex DOCSIS standard, which is still a ways away from deployment. 

Comcast would like to be able to upgrade DAA nodes to Full Duplex DOCSIS at a later date once CableLabs is able to finish the specification and the technology moves to the deployment phase. 

“A Full Duplex-capable node has to begin life as just a regular DAA node,” Howald said. 

RELATED: CableLabs releases specs for Full Duplex DOCSIS

As Silbey noted, there’s a challenge here: Comcast wants to press ahead with DAA deployments, but there are no FDX nodes available yet. 

For his part, Howald would like to have FDX-capable nodes available for field trials in the second half of 2018. 

Further, while FDX has gone through numerous lab trials, including cable plant simulations, Howald said he’d like to see “some level of symmetrical service proof of concept” in the field by the end of the year, show that the technology can deliver 5 Gbps symmetrical speeds.