Network and Engineering
Comcast Conducts Groundbreaking Test of 'Full Duplex' Chip that Will Support Future Multigigabit Upload and Download Speeds
Lab test – the first of its kind for this Broadcom device – demonstrates the potential for Full Duplex (FDX) DOCSIS technology to deliver the next generation of ultra-fast speeds.
Comcast today announced the achievement of another 10G technical milestone, conducting the first-ever live lab test of the Full Duplex DOCSIS system-on-chip (SOC) device that will pave the way for Comcast to deliver multigigabit upload and download speeds over its hybrid-fiber coaxial (HFC) network.
Built by Broadcom, the device is expected to become the world’s first production silicon to be developed using the DOCSIS 4.0 Full Duplex standard, which represents an evolutionary leap forward in the ability to deliver ultra-fast speeds over HFC networks. One of the most important breakthroughs in the DOCSIS 4.0 standard is the ability to use network spectrum more efficiently, allowing operators to dramatically increase upstream speeds without sacrificing downstream spectrum to do so.
“We are always pushing the envelope to stay ahead of our customers’ growing needs,” said Charlie Herrin, President of Technology, Product, Xperience at Comcast Cable. “This milestone is particularly exciting, because this technology is an important step forward toward unlocking multigigabit upload and download speeds for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, not just a select few."
A key advantage of DOCSIS 4.0 Full Duplex is that it establishes a foundation for operators to deliver multigigabit speeds over their existing networks to the connections already in hundreds of millions of homes around the world, without the need for massive digging and construction projects. With this technology, Comcast can continue to deliver ultra-fast service today while simultaneously building capacity for consumers’ potential future needs.
Comcast technologists in Philadelphia and Denver conducted the test by installing the Broadcom SOC in a simulated network environment to track the performance of its Full Duplex DOCSIS features – including echo cancellation and overlapping spectrum – which combine to support substantial improvements in network throughput. In the test environment, the research team demonstrated the ability of the SOC to deliver upstream and downstream throughputs of greater than 4 gigabits per second (Gbps). Future optimization is expected to drive even greater capacity.
In October 2020, Comcast achieved a 10G technical milestone in a trial delivering symmetrical 1.25 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) upload and download speeds over a live production network. This advanced architecture includes a suite of software-powered networking technologies, including digital fiber optics, “Remote PHY” digital nodes, and a cloud-based, virtualized cable modem termination system platform (vCMTS), enabling delivery of gigabit-plus symmetrical speeds using existing cable connections. The technology team consistently measured speeds of 1.25 Gbps upload and 1.25 Gbps download over the connection.
Elad Nafshi, Senior Vice President of Next Generation Access Network at Comcast Cable, said that the performance of the Broadcom SOC in Comcast’s simulated network environment exceeded expectations, and sets the stage for expanded testing later this year.
“With this test we gain a powerful new tool to support our mission of delivering the best possible connected experiences to our customers,” Nafshi said.
The Full Duplex DOCSIS test is the latest milestone on Comcast’s path to 10G. Last October, Comcast technologists were able to deliver 1.25 Gig symmetrical speeds over a live, all-digital network by leveraging advances in Distributed Access Architecture, Remote PHY digital nodes, and a cloud-based virtualized cable modem termination system platform (vCMTS). Even as Comcast works to test and deploy Full Duplex DOCSIS to enable multigigabit upload and download speeds in the future, the company is leveraging the technologies from the October trial, along with DOCSIS 3.1 in the upstream, to increase speed and capacity in the near term.
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.