DOCSIS 4.0 Technology Makes Waves From SCTE Cable-Tec Expo to Launch

DOCSIS Expo launch

Todd Bryan
Principal Strategist

Nov 16, 2023

If you attended SCTE Cable-Tec Expo last month in Denver, you likely heard quite a bit about DOCSIS® 4.0 technology. In many sessions, on the Expo show floor and in countless conversations in between, the message was loud and clear: The era of DOCSIS 4.0 networks is here.

While we were hearing about the technology at Expo, the world’s first DOCSIS 4.0 network services were being introduced to customers just down the road in Colorado Springs. The new services from Comcast offer symmetric speed tiers of up to 2 Gbps downstream and upstream.

The Colorado Springs launch and subsequent deployment this week in Atlanta mark an exciting leap forward for cable operators and vendors in their path toward enabling a powerful 10G future. In addition to delivering faster symmetrical speeds, the 10G network will offer more reliability, lower latency and enhanced security.

Cable-Tec Expo offered proof that DOCSIS 4.0 technologies are ready to provide cable operators with what they need to begin offering 10G services. Online streaming of many Expo sessions is available to attendees through November 20, but I’ve recapped some of my most valuable takeaways below. What were you most excited to hear about? Leave a comment below to join the conversation.

Cost-Effective Upgrade Paths

Vendors and operators showcased product developments for cost-effective DOCSIS 4.0 technology upgrades, making upgrading existing hybrid fiber coax (HFC) networks an attractive and competitive choice compared with expensive fiber upgrades. Comcast demonstrated modular DOCSIS 4.0 full-duplex amplifiers and nodes, allowing for easy field upgrades. Operators also demonstrated services that combine DOCSIS 4.0 modems and DOCSIS 3.1 network gear, enabling new fiber-like speed tiers while phasing plant investment.

A Growing Ecosystem

Cable-Tec Expo highlighted a vibrant DOCSIS 4.0 technology ecosystem with the demonstration of a wide variety of nodes, amplifiers and customer premises equipment (CPE), which either have been announced or are available now. MaxLinear announced its Puma8 Extended Spectrum DOCSIS (ESD) chipset for DOCSIS 4.0 technologies, creating silicon choice for the ecosystem.

Flexibility and Interoperability

Exhibits at Expo demonstrated vendor and operator flexibility and growing efforts throughout the ecosystem to minimize complexity. Broadcom and Comcast announced a combined ESD/Full Duplex DOCSIS (FDX) chipset for DOCSIS 4.0 technologies, enabling operation in both modes and with embedded AI and ML capabilities to improve network maintenance. Vendors showcased modular nodes that give operators more options by enabling both DOCSIS technology and passive optical networking (PON) services in the same service groups.

AI and Machine Learning

It’s no surprise that AI and ML played a significant role at the conference. Vendors and operators are leveraging the technologies for proactive network maintenance and spectrum management to boost network reliability and efficiency.

The Future of 10G and DOCSIS 4.0 Technologies

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2023 demonstrated the readiness of DOCSIS 4.0 technologies, which offer cable operators a cost-effective and rapid pathway to launch 10G services. These next-generation services are supported by a growing ecosystem and operational improvements that are made possible by advanced technologies like AI and ML.

The evolution toward 10G and its limitless potential begins with DOCSIS 4.0 networks. Welcome to the journey.