December 26, 2015
Comcast announced this week that it successfully tested a next-generation modem in Philadelphia that promises to bring ultra-fast gigabit internet to customers in the near future without a major overhaul of its existing broadband infrastructure.
The world's first DOCSIS 3.1 modem can deliver download speeds of 1,000 megabits per second, an upgrade that will power internet service up to 10 times faster than current technology, according to Tech Insider. The company announced that the modem, tested on a customer-facing network, marks a big step toward enhancing functionality on its hybrid fiber coaxial network.
Over the coming months, we will activate more test homes with this state of the art DOCSIS 3.1 technology so that we can observe how it performs in multiple real-world environments and make whatever minor modifications necessary to get it ready for deployment to our customers.
In October, Comcast touted the new modem following an exhibit at the SCTE EXPO in New Orleans, emphasizing that the breakthrough is particularly significant because it is backwards-compatible with current configurations. The modifications and upgrades needed to roll out gigabit internet can be made on the software side rather than ripping up streets, meaning a far less intensive process and reduced strain on the network.
In addition to providing greater speeds, the technology of DOCSIS 3.1 will also make our network far more efficient, both in terms of how we use bandwidth, and how we consume energy.
Before the end of 2016, Comcast plans to expand trials to other locations in Pennsylvania, Northern California and Atlanta, Georgia. The company will observe how the technology performs in multiple real-world environments and then begin offering a new gigabit speed choice to customers throughout the country.
In the video below, Cisco's John Chapman, dubbed the father of DOCSIS 3.1, describes how the technology promises to transform cable from a hardware-defined network to a more agile, software-defined network.