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December 5, 2021
11:50 AM
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10 Gbps Cable Broadband From DOCSIS 4.0
Fiber optic level internet speeds are now an option on cable broadband.

Fiber Optic service is expanding faster and farther than ever. It’s the gold standard in the quest for unlimited business bandwidth. Many businesses, frustrated by their inability to get fiber lit into their buildings or locked-out by the high cost of fiber construction, turn to their next best option: Cable broadband. Now the latest cable standard, DOCSIS 4.0, brings symmetrical streaming and increased upload speeds to ordinary coaxial copper cable service. Would you believe 10 Gbps download and 6 Gbps upload? Fiber has some serious competition from cable.

DOCSIS 4.0 offers 10 Gbps over CableWhat is DOCSIS?
DOCSIS is the technology that enables traditional cable TV providers to also offer broadband Internet service on the same cable at the same time. The term is an acronym for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. It is the product of Cable Television Laboratories, Inc., CableLabs, a non-profit group supported by the cable system operators. 

DOCSIS has evolved along with the Internet. The original spec was DOCSIS 1.0 released in 1997 and defined standards for 40 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload. VoIP and QoS mechanisms were added by the early 2000’s, along with a boost in upstream data rates to 30 Mbps. 

A significant improvement was introduced with DOCSIS 3.0 in 2006. Now cable companies could offer 1 Gbps downstream and 200 Mbps upstream with channel bonding. Support for IPv6 was also introduced at this time. With these improvements, it could be said that cable was a serious competitor to fiber optic services.

DOCSIS 3.1 in 2013 increased maximum downstream capacity to 10 Gbps with 1 to 2 Gbps upstream and is widely embraced by cable operators. DOCSIS 4.0, the latest version, increased the upstream rate to 6 Gbps in 2017. DOCSIS 4.0 is still in the early stages of production testing and deployment. The ultimate plan is to have full duplex symmetrical bandwidth on cable of 10 Gbps. 

How Can Copper Cable Run So Fast?
Truth be told, it’s been a lot of years since cable TV networks were built with coaxial copper cable from the antennas at the head-end all the way to individual households and business locations. Virtually all systems of any size now use a technology called HFC or Hybrid Fiber Cable. The core network is fiber optic cable just like fiber network providers operate. The difference is that those companies run fiber right to the demarcation point within the building, while cable service terminates the fiber somewhere in the neighborhood and the makes the final run with the familiar coaxial cable. It was HFC that really enabled cable providers to offer serious broadband service.

Access Cable Fiber Networks Directly
Cable networks serve extensive metropolitan areas and their suburbs. Multi-system operators have fiber that interconnects their networks and connects to the Internet backbone. Major cable companies have gotten into the business of competing directly with competitive fiber optic networks by offering businesses the option to connect to their fiber networks without going through the copper interface. 

There are advantages in going the fully fiber route. You may be able to get faster speeds and fully symmetric and dedicated connections by avoiding the cable modem. Remember that cable broadband is an inherently shared service. You are on the same last-mile Internet connection as dozens or hundreds of your neighbors. As such, you may find the the congestion level and speed of service vary throughout the day. It all depends on what everybody else is doing. 

This is the reason that businesses, especially those with significant business processes running in the cloud, opt for dedicated Internet access and point to point private lines. You can get those at low speeds with traditional telco services such as T1 lines and higher speeds with DS3 bandwidth, SONET fiber optic services, Ethernet over Fiber and MPLS networks. 

What service will meet your needs depends on how sensitive your operations are to line speed and latency, along with jitter and congestion. Cable broadband, especially at the DOCSIS 3.0 and above levels, provides many, many businesses with highly usable and reliable service at excellent pricing levels. Other companies with more sensitive needs may need to access fiber itself and set up more dedicated and private connections to achieve the performance they require for maximum productivity. 

Find out now what cable, fiber and twisted pair copper broadband options are available for your business and what each has to offer. 

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