As expected, the 50th anniversary edition of the SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo, aptly themed "Raising the Bar," teed up a vision of 10G as the future of cable technology. Continuing a conversation that began at CES earlier this year, execs discussed the path to 10G and its importance as not only an advancement to enable future innovation, but also as an effective way to keep fixed networks relevant as the hype around 5G wireless continues.
"(10G) has restored in the minds of policy makers and the American public the importance of fixed networks, in addition to wireless networks," NCTA President and CEO Michael Powell said during Expo's opening session.
In order to get to 10G, the technological stars have to align with many components adding up to cable's ability to reach those speeds. One of the supporting cast is the next iteration of DOCSIS, version 4.0.
Just prior to EXPO, CableLabs revealed via a blog post that DOCSIS 4.0 should be coming in early 2020, with a target date around the end of the first quarter of the year. The new spec will include Low Latency DOCSIS (LLD), Extended Spectrum DOCSIS (ESD) and Full Duplex DOCSIS (FDX). This will enable multi-gigabit symmetrical speeds as well as improved reliability, security and latency. With the boost in capacity provided by DOCSIS 4.0 technology, MSOs will be able to provide multi-gigabit per second symmetric services to customers and to support the next generation of user experiences, including immersive media.
Despite the fact that the spec is not yet out, DOCSIS 4.0 also made appearances on the Expo show floor through products that showcased various elements of DOCSIS 4.0 and/or demonstrated that a solution is DOCSIS 4.0-ready.
For example, among CommScope's (NASDAQ:COMM) reveals was Extended Soft FDD, which combines software-only Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and ESD to enable network interface speeds beyond 1.2 GHz.
Harmonic (NASDAQ:HLIT) has upgraded its CableOS virtualized cloud-native solution to include containerized DOCSIS CMTS and passive optical network (PON) applications. This will enable converged delivery of broadband over HFC and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services via the same platform. The CableOS solution takes advantage of the cloud-native platform to support converged DOCSIS CMTS and FTTH PON OLT applications with additional containerized access applications such as DOCSIS 4.0 coming in the future.
And, among the solutions featured at the Casa Systems booth was its Remote OLT platform, featuring DPoE 2.0 technology. This allows it to be managed as a virtual cable modem. By leveraging Casa's new DOCSIS 4.0-ready DA2200 Remote PHY Node, which supports Extended Spectrum DOCSIS and Full Duplex DOCSIS, service providers can build out and manage both coax and fiber deep solutions without making changes to existing DOCSIS management and provisioning solutions.
With the end of Expo 2019, the SCTE is already looking toward next year, when the industry will "Imagine the Possibilities." Expo 2020 will take place in Denver next Oct. 13-16.