DOCSIS® 3.1 – A New Generation of Cable Technology

DOCSIS 3.1 technology enables a new generation of cable services and helps operators continue to meet consumer demand for high-speed connections and sophisticated applications, positioning them to be the providers of choice in their markets.

DOCSIS 3.1 Technology Delivers Speed

DOCSIS 3.1 technology includes the latest and greatest of digital communication technologies such as LDPC encoding, very high modulation orders (4096 QAM for example), more than 1 GHz of usable spectrum and support of QoS and low latencies. DOCSIS 3.1 technology delivers all of this while maintaining backward compatibility to DOCSIS 3.0 technology and the ability to deploy it on today’s HFC network without any requirement to upgrade today’s plants.

The Impact of DOCSIS 3.1 Technology

Deployment of DOCSIS 3.1 technology provides significant new value for cable operators and consumers of broadband services including:


Support for up to 10 Gbps downstream and up to 1 Gbps upstream network capacity.

Quality of Experience

Utilizes Active Queue Management to significantly reduce network delay as data traffic grows in the home network, dramatically improving responsiveness for applications such as online gaming.

Higher Capacity on Existing Networks

Enables a significant increase in network capacity with the ability to transmit up to 50 percent more data over the same spectrum, on existing HFC networks.

Energy Efficiency

Enhancements to the DOCSIS protocols increase cable modem energy efficiency through advanced energy management protocols.

The Evolution of DOCSIS 3.1

As an evolution of DOCSIS technology, a DOCSIS 3.1 network provides a flexible migration for cable operators, with the ability for DOCSIS 3.1 modems to coexist with older versions and build on top of the previously deployed capacity. The higher efficiency of DOCSIS 3.1 technology also enables significant cost per bit reductions relative to DOCSIS 3.0 network solutions. In partnership with global members, CableLabs has provided a unified DOCSIS specification.
2017: CableLabs is currently adding to the DOCSIS 3.1 specifications to include Full Duplex DOCSIS.

DOCSIS 3.1 Technology Delivers Gbps Services

There is a lot of excitement around DOCSIS 3.1 technology , and the new capabilities it brings to cable networks for both cable operators and their customers. Customers will enjoy gigabit speed access on the downstream and upstream, allowing them to download 4K video and ultra-high definition movies faster than ever. Reduced network delay will also take the online gaming experience to a new height, increasing responsiveness and allowing higher resolution graphics. Also, the widespread availability of cable high-speed internet will make high speed broadband available to more households than any other technology.

Role of CableLabs

Complete Suite of DOCSIS 3.1 Specifications

CableLabs’ unified DOCSIS specifications incorporate the features and technologies required by North American and European operators with anticipated adoption by Asian operators. This new global platform supports the development and roll out of innovative and competitive market solutions that can scale across cable operators worldwide.

DOCSIS 3.1 Specifications are publicly available:

Normative source files also available

DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 MIBs
DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 IPDR schemas (current and previous versions)
DOCSIS 3.1 YANG files
CBI2.0 schemas

Host DOCSIS 3.1 Interoperability Events

To facilitate the rapid development of DOCSIS 3.1 technology among industry vendors, CableLabs/Kyrio hosts Interop Lab Events. Watch for upcoming interoperability events in our Events page.

DOCSIS 3.1 Certification

As part of its Certification Program, CableLabs certifies DOCSIS 3.1 equipment.

Additional Resources


  • Why is DOCSIS 3.1 better than DOCSIS 3.0 technology?
    DOCSIS 3.1 technology improves the spectral efficiency of the HFC network and thus increases the capacity significantly. While DOCSIS 3.0 technology supports up to 256 QAM (8 bits/symbol), DOCSIS 3.1 technology supports up to 4096 QAM (12 bits/symbol) thus providing the potential to drastically increase the system capacity.
  • Do you need to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 technology in the upstream and downstream simultaneously?
    No, DOCSIS 3.1 technology is backwards compatible to DOCSIS 3.0 technology. A DOCSIS 3.1 downstream can operate with a DOCSIS 3.0 upstream and a DOCSIS 3.1 upstream can operate with a DOCSIS 3.0 downstream channel.
  • Do you need to upgrade the cable plant to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 technology?
    No, DOCSIS 3.1 technology does not require any upgrades to the HFC plant in order to operate. DOCSIS 3.1 technology can capitalize on HFC network upgrades to increase network capacity.
  • Do you need to expand the upstream to deploy gigabit service in the downstream channel?
    The current 5-42 MHz upstream channel provides sufficient capacity to deploy gigabit services in the downstream.
  • Could you deploy DOCSIS 3.1 technology in the existing plant, and then reduce the downstream service group size and/or expand the downstream/upstream spectrum capacity?
    DOCSIS 3.1 technology can be deployed on the current HFC network with any required modifications. DOCSIS 3.1 technology provides great flexibility in defining the channel spectrum and the group sizes.
  • Will DOCSIS 3.1 modems run in DOCSIS 3.0 systems?
    Yes, DOCSIS 3.1 devices are backwards compatible and will operate on a DOCSIS 3.0 system.
  • Will DOCSIS 3.1 modems require dedicated spectrum?
    DOCSIS 3.1 downstream channel will require dedicated spectrum to operate, while the DOCSIS 3.1 devices can share the upstream spectrum with DOCSIS 3.0 devices.
  • Will DOCSIS 3.0 modems need to be upgraded when DOCSIS 3.1 technology is deployed?
    DOCSIS 3.1 technology is backwards compatible to DOCSIS 3.0 technology; thus DOCSIS 3.0 devices will not need to be upgraded when DOCSIS 3.1 technology is deployed.
  • Will existing installation and maintenance tools support a DOCSIS 3.1 network?
    Some of the existing installation and maintenance tools can be used to support DOCSIS 3.1 technology.
  • Who is participating in CableLabs interops?
    A variety of vendors have participated in multiple rounds of interop covering CM, CMTS, Test Equipment and Field Test Equipment vendors.
  • How does DOCSIS 3.1 technology compare with FTTH?
    DOCSIS 3.1 technology was designed to support multiple Gbps of line capacity while maintaining economical deployment and maintenance costs on the current HFC infrastructure, thus delivering Gbps performance to the masses in contrast to the limited deployment of FTTH solutions.

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