docsis 3.1The cable industry is on the broadband move and cable gigabit service is closer to reality with the news that CableLabs just certified five cable modems for DOCSIS 3.1. Cable modems from Askey, Castlenet, Netgear, Technicolor and Ubee Interactive have received the next generation broadband certification for cable modems that can deliver cable gigabit service.

The cable industry has moved in record time to implement DOCSIS 3.1, which in effect, is the cable industry’s answer to FTTH powered gigabit services being deployed by telcos, municipals, and Google.

“Just as other aspects of the DOCSIS 3.1 development effort have happened faster than ever before, so too have we achieved DOCSIS 3.1 Certification faster than ever,” says Matt Schmitt, Vice President of Lab Services, CableLabs in a blog post announcing the achievement.

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The formal certification means these cable modems meet the MAC and Upper Layers Protocol Interface (MULPI) specification; the Physical Layer Interface (PHY) specification; the Security (SEC) specification; and the Cable Modem Operations Support System Interface (CM-OSSI) specification, according to Schmitt.

This was achieved through a formal testing process and gives assurance to cable MSOs that these devices will interoperate with each other. According to CableLabs, these DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems are now “field ready.”

Cable Gigabit Service Advantage
Cable has enjoyed the broadband speed crown for some time, but lost some momentum to the growing number of FTTH gigabit deployments and the buzz created by them. But the cable industry may have the last laugh.

Cable gigabit service is expected to ramp up quickly, providing competitive gigabit services to many markets – potentially many more markets than currently see FTTH gigabit services. Comcast has already announced an ambitious DOCSIS 3.1 roll out plan.  This will give cable providers first mover advantage in many markets – maybe even beating Google Fiber to market for some already announced Google Fiber markets.

Cable MSOs will have a distinct advantage with DOCSIS 3.1. It won’t require significant network upgrades – cable providers will be able to leverage existing plant and deploy cable gigabit service quickly. Google and other FTTH providers typically have to overbuild markets – a long, laborious, and expensive proposition.

CableLabs plans to ‘step on the gas’ regarding DOCSIS 3.1 and the cable gigabit service it enables. Many more DOCSIS 3.1 products are scheduled to be certified this year and they also plan additional Interop and Dry Run events in 2016.

“It’s been a fast paced ride, and it’s not over yet,” said Schmitt.

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