October 20, 2017

Migration to DOCSIS 3.1 Can Be Tailored to Regional Cable Operator Market Dynamics

By: James Burns

Principal Solutions Architect for Broadband Connected Home


In the race to feed the need for speed demanded by consumers, DOCSIS 3.1 offers cable providers an opportunity to deliver gigabit performance to subscribers that competes effectively with fiber technologies. Moreover, operators can choose from a wide array of migration strategies depending on market conditions in the regions they serve.

Moving from the DOCSIS 3.0 generation into this DOCSIS 3.1 generation can be executed with a smooth migration plan as opposed to a forklift. As this happens, cable operators will see how DOCSIS 3.1 is adaptable across the downstream spectrum. The new technology is able to work much more effectively around local interference, that might be present, than previous versions of DOCSIS were able to do.

While it is true that, from a migration standpoint, operators can continue to deploy with DOCSIS 3.0 technology as they introduce DOCSIS 3.1, for a full migration there will be some changes that are going to be required for their outside plant.

Specifically, the amplifiers and diplexers need to be changed to allow for more upstream bandwidth, which is one of the key benefits to DOCSIS 3.1; it provides a return path that will approach 1 gigabit in terms of data speed – which is far better than what’s offered today with the very limited spectrum that the operators in the US and Canada have available in their current return path.

Further, DOCSIS 3.1 will allow operators to make much more efficient use of the spectrum than they have available. And since DOCSIS 3.1 is backwards compatible with DOCSIS 3.0, it allows migration to occur over months or years, depending on the desired timeline and consumer demand.

In the meantime, it is important for operators to have an approach to DOCSIS 3.1 that goes beyond fixing problems as they arise by establishing an overall understanding of the migration process to ensure seamless adoption.

To that end, Technicolor is providing in-house customer training for cable operators interested in gaining a better operational handle on DOCSIS 3.1 and to get insights on how to trouble-shoot issues during the migration process.