What every home needs: 10Gbps to the door, says Comcast

What every home needs: 10Gbps to the door, says Comcast

14 January 2022 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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US cable company and telco Comcast says it has taken the next step in its ambition to upgrade its customers to 10Gbps technology.

The company, which had 18.55 million pay TV subscribers in the US in the third quarter of 2021, announced the successful test of a prototype 10G modem on a single chip.

Charlie Herrin (pictured), president of technology, product, experience at Comcast Cable, said: “The great strength of our smart network design is that we are able to exceed our customers’ demands today, even as we continuously evolve to meet the needs of the future.”

Herrin added: “As our 10G journey continues to accelerate, customers will reap the benefits of ever-increasing security, reliability and speed.”

The trial used a full duplex (that is, two-way) system-on-chip built to the latest cable modem standard – known as data over cable service interface specification (Docsis), first devised in 1997 but now on version 4.0.

Comcast used a system built by Broadcom that delivered upload and download speeds faster than 4Gbps, but Comcast seems confident that this is the next stage in the move to 10Gbps.

As recently as October 2020, the company’s trials delivered 1.25Gbps upload and download speeds over a live production network using network function virtualization (NFV) combined with Docsis 4.0.

Comcast said that Docsis 4.0 is “a key component of 10G, … an evolutionary leap forward in the ability to deliver multigigabit upload and download speeds over the connections already installed in hundreds of millions of homes worldwide”.

Comcast said the demonstrated speeds “are expected to increase significantly as developers refine technology at every level of the 10G architecture”.

Elad Nafshi, senior VP of next generation access networks at Comcast Cable, said: “With each new milestone, we get a clearer picture of how 10G technologies will unlock the next generation of speed and performance for millions of people worldwide.”

Comcast said that “10G is a global industry initiative to stay ahead of consumer demand by developing and deploying new network technology to dramatically increase upload and download capacity in the coming years”.

Cable data speeds have increased steadily in the quarter-century since Docsis 1.0 was defined: it delivered just over 10Mbps, just one thousandth of the speed that Comcast is aiming for today. In April last year Virgin Media, the UK company that has now merged with O2 UK, achieved 2.2Gbps using Docsis 3.2.