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Network and Engineering 

Announcing Another 10G Milestone Amidst a Flurry of Innovation

By Elad Nafshi
Announcing Another 10G Milestone Amidst a Flurry of Innovation

Key Takeaways

Comcast demonstrated a complete 10G connection – from network to modem – using what we believe to be the world’s first virtualized cable modem termination system (vCMTS) powered by Full Duplex DOCSIS 4.0 Technology.
The accomplishment is truly groundbreaking because it proves our ability to upgrade existing vCMTS platform via a software upgrade to DOCSIS 4.0 FDX and gives us the ability to deliver multi-gig upload and download speeds.

Over the past 18 months, innovation around 10G, which will deliver the next generation of speed and performance to hundreds of millions of people worldwide – has accelerated dramatically. This week, at the biggest annual 10G event, we are celebrating important milestones, and looking forward to what comes next. 

During Virtual SCTE® Cable-Tec Expo® 2021, our team conducted what we believe to be the world’s first test of a 10G connection all the way from our network to a modem.  To do this, the team activated what we believe to be another world first – a virtualized cable modem termination system (vCMTS) powered by Full Duplex DOCSIS 4.0 Technology.  

A key advantage of Full Duplex and other 10G technologies is that they will unlock multigigabit upload and download speeds over connections already installed in homes worldwide, without the need to dig up yards and neighborhoods across the country. This means that 10G will allow us to deliver next generation speeds to many more people, much faster than other technologies. 

Not everyone is going to be interested in the technical nitty gritty, but for my fellow engineers keeping score at home, here’s how we completed the test:

  • Our team implemented Full Duplex (FDX) DOCSIS 4.0 capabilities into a CMTS, or “virtualized” vCMTS, which is an essential component of our network and will be a critical link to delivering 10G.
  • In order to complete the full connection, DOCSIS 3.1 modems were configured to operate in the FDX band. 
  • What makes this accomplishment truly groundbreaking is that it proves our ability to upgrade our existing vCMTS platform via a software upgrade to DOCSIS 4.0 Full Duplex and gives us the ability to deliver multi-gig upload and download speeds.
  • We are continuing to work on our next breakthrough which will be the development of a full 10G cable modem.  

With each new milestone, we take another big step closer to transitioning these technologies from the lab to the living room.

And as proud as I am of our team for achieving this important milestone, I’m equally thrilled by the dramatically accelerating pace of innovation and development throughout the global 10G community.

Across the 10G ecosystem, from virtually every type of company involved in delivering high-speed Internet around the globe (network operators, software developers, equipment manufacturers), we’re witnessing an explosion of creative and innovative approaches to 10G.

For just one example among many, I’d point to the groundbreaking work underway by our technology partners to develop “amplifiers” that will work in Full Duplex DOCSIS 4.0-enabled networks. Amplifiers are network components present in many of our network environments, that help to deliver Internet to customers’ homes. While most Internet users never need to know what amplifiers are, this work is potentially revolutionary in its ability to extend 10G benefits to millions more people, faster than was believed possible.

The other 10G innovations on display this week are too numerous to mention here, but it’s worth checking the EXPO site for dozens of papers and presentations detailing important new breakthroughs large and small.

What is emerging is a picture of the global 10G ecosystem that is flexible, scalable, and diverse. While my team at Comcast is focused on Full Duplex DOCSIS 4.0, others in our community are developing another DOCSIS 4.0 approach known as “Extended Spectrum DOCSIS.”  The innovative effort being devoted to each approach will ultimately benefit the entire 10G ecosystem.

We’ve been excited about 10G and its potential to deliver the next stage in the evolution of high-speed Internet since its inception, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that 10G represents the world’s fastest, most technologically advanced, efficient; and cost-effective approach to deliver multigigabit upload and download speeds to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Even as EXPO draws to a close, we’re hard at work on what comes next.

Elad Nafshi is Senior Vice President of Next Generation Access Network.

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