Full duplex DOCSIS 3.1 standard is done and dusted

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Symmetrical 10Gbps over cable TV networks coming any year now

Cable Labs, the networking research outfit lab operated by cable television network operators, says it has finalised a new spec capable of delivering symmetrical 10Gbps data services over hybrid fibre coax networks.

The organisations says its forthcoming Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 spec has been completed and merely awaits publication next month. Cable Labs declared the technology viable in February 2016 and then got a boost from Cisco, which tossed in an open reference design in August of the same year.

Now Cable Labs says the spec is done and will enable “concurrent transmissions in the same spectrum, providing the ability to increase the upstream capacity without sacrificing downstream capacity.”

It will likely be years before the standard is widely deployed, but news of the standard’s completion means that the many hybrid fibre coax (HFC) network operators in the USA and Europe now have an upgrade path. Some, like the UK’s Virgin Media, have already decided they’re better off building fibre-to-the-premises instead. Others will likely stick it out with HFC, because even though Cable Labs says it cooked up the standard to handle applications like VR there’s little sign that fibre’s unlimited headroom will be needed any decade soon.

In Australia, nbn™, the company building the nation’s National Broadband Network, has signalled its intention to use DOCSIS 3.1 and its full duplex variant in 2018*. ®

* Bring it on, said the Reg hack from his work-at-home Friday DOCSIS 3.0 connection.

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