The Journey to 10G Continues

multigigabit speeds

Last week, cable providers took another huge step forward on the path towards achieving a superfast 10G broadband connection over a live network. 

At the CableLabs 10G Showcase in Louisville, Colo., Comcast and Charter showed significant progress towards 10G deployment through separate technology demos. (Previously, trials had been conducted in a lab environment.) Comcast's demo focused on the full duplex version (FDX) of DOCSIS 4.0, and Charter's demo focused on the extended spectrum (ESD) DOCSIS. FDX and ESD are complementary technologies, and in some cases, operators could deploy both, according to what executives discussed at the event. 

During their demo, Comcast reached download speeds of 8.5 Gbps in the downstream and 5 Gbps in the upstream. Comcast's demo also showed that it is able to mix and match cable 10G and fiber optic technology. As the provider explained in a press release, "While Comcast is primarily focused on 10G, the ability to easily blend 10G and PON [passive optical network] provides enormous flexibility to support the widest range of geographies and customer needs."

"These 10G technologies represent the fastest, most efficient path to deliver multigigabit symmetrical speeds at scale everywhere, not just in select neighborhoods or towns," said Elad Nafshi, Executive Vice President & Chief Network Officer at Comcast Cable. 

Charter's demo, which included a four-amplifier ESD cascade, hit speeds of 8.9 Gbps in the downstream and 6.2 Gbps in the upstream. "We're super excited about what's coming," said Stephanie Mitchko-Beale, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Charter Communications. "This suite of technologies is transformational."

Cox was also in attendance at the showcase in support of the industry's initiative to bring 10 gigabit speeds to households across America. "We're certainly very enthusiastic about what we've seen," said Len Barlik, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Cox Communications. "From a customer experience perspective, we know there's a lot of demand for this moving forward."

The industry has been working towards 10G deployment since the initiative was first announced in 2019. Cable providers are always working to stay ahead of demand and in front of cutting-edge technologies that will require ultra-fast, next generation speeds. 10G promises to not only bring consumers multigigabit symmetrical speeds, but also improved latency, security, and reliability. 

Important to also note is that cable providers will upgrade to 10G over the connections that already reach tens of millions of homes and businesses, without the need to dig up streets for new installation. 10G will be delivered over the existing fiber-rich network that delivers 1 gig speeds throughout America. 

"The pace of 10G innovation is only accelerating, and internet users around the world will reap the benefits," said Comcast's Nafshi.