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Home Tech Comcast offers tantalizing hint of a future with upload speeds above 35Mbps

Comcast offers tantalizing hint of a future with upload speeds above 35Mbps

A Comcast modem/router gateway sitting next to a laptop.
Enlarge / Picture of a Comcast router/modem gateway from the corporate’s website.

Comcast as we speak supplied the most recent hint of a future by which its cable clients will not be restricted to 35Mbps upload speeds. Announcing a latest lab check, Comcast stated its analysis group “deliver[ed] upstream and downstream throughputs of greater than 4Gbps” and that “future optimization” will permit “even greater capacity.”

This was “the first-ever live lab test” of a Broadcom “system-on-chip (SOC) device that will pave the way for Comcast to deliver multigigabit upload and download speeds over its hybrid-fiber coaxial (HFC) network,” Comcast stated. It will not require set up of extra cables as a result of the “technology works using the same types of connections already installed in hundreds of millions of homes worldwide,” Comcast stated.

Cable clients have been ready a very long time for upload speeds that are not a tiny fraction of obtain speeds. Comcast’s cable uploads, starting from 3Mbps to 35Mbps, are so low that Comcast hides them deep inside its on-line ordering system. While cable obtain speeds of as much as 1.2Gbps are prominently displayed, Comcast would not inform clients what upload speeds they will get till they enter a legitimate bank card quantity.

Comcast justified its tactic of hiding upload speeds by saying that its “website reflects the way customers use the Internet, with downstream overwhelmingly dominating usage.” But often, comparable to in as we speak’s announcement, Comcast acknowledges that clients need larger upload speeds.

“This milestone is particularly exciting because this technology is an important step forward toward unlocking multigigabit upload and download speeds for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, not just a select few,” Comcast government Charlie Herrin stated within the announcement.

“Full duplex” DOCSIS

Comcast does provide a residential fiber service with upload and obtain speeds of 2Gbps, however availability is proscribed and the service prices $300 a month, plus set up and activation prices of as much as $1,000 mixed. The fiber service requires the set up of new wires into every house, however the newly introduced lab check delivered multi-gigabit upload and obtain speeds over the usual cable wires that Comcast has put in all through its 39-state territory.

The check used a Broadcom SOC powered by the most recent model of DOCSIS, the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. The Broadcom “device is expected to become the world’s first production silicon to be developed using the DOCSIS 4.0 Full Duplex standard, which represents an evolutionary leap forward in the ability to deliver ultra-fast speeds over HFC [hybrid fiber-coaxial] networks,” Comcast stated. “One of the most important breakthroughs in the DOCSIS 4.0 standard is the ability to use network spectrum more efficiently, allowing operators to dramatically increase upstream speeds without sacrificing downstream spectrum to do so.”

Years of unfulfilled upload-speed guarantees

The cable {industry} has been promising symmetrical upload and obtain speeds over cable networks for years with out ever saying when such speeds will turn out to be accessible.

The DOCSIS 3.1 specification launched in 2013 theoretically allowed 10Gbps downloads and 1Gbps upload speeds, however precise implementations by no means got here near these numbers. An replace to DOCSIS 3.1 finalized late in 2017 was speculated to carry obtain and upload speeds of 10Gbps, and the cable {industry} unveiled a “10G” advertising marketing campaign in January 2019 to boast of these symmetrical 10Gbps speeds. Comcast as we speak known as its latest check “an important step forward on the path to 10G.”

The full-duplex model of DOCSIS 3.1 was up to date and renamed “DOCSIS 4.0.” Despite the “full duplex” identify, the cable {industry} has lowered the estimated upstream speeds from 10Gbps to 6Gbps.

“Current DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems support capacities up to 5Gbps downstream and 1.5Gbps upstream,” the cable-industry group CableLabs says. “DOCSIS 4.0 cable modems will support capacities up to 10Gbps downstream and 6Gbps upstream.”

Comcast stated that a “key advantage of DOCSIS 4.0 Full Duplex is that it establishes a foundation for operators to deliver multigigabit speeds over their existing networks to the connections already in hundreds of millions of homes around the world, without the need for massive digging and construction projects.” Comcast known as it “a powerful new tool to support our mission of delivering the best possible connected experiences to our customers,” nevertheless it did not say when these clients will have the ability to purchase a future “full duplex” service.

Smaller upload improve presumably on faucet

Comcast in October 2020 stated it achieved a “technical milestone” that delivered 1.25Gbps obtain and upload speeds over present cable wires throughout testing at a house in Jacksonville, Florida. While gigabit upload speeds over cable can be a huge enchancment, it probably is not anyplace near being applied. It’s additionally not clear when Comcast will increase cable upload speeds to something larger than 35Mbps—Comcast hasn’t even confirmed a rise to 50Mbps uploads, which is already supplied by WOW on that firm’s gigabit-download plan.

Currently, Comcast’s 25Mbps obtain plan comes with 3Mbps uploads; the 100Mbps and 200Mbps obtain plans each have 5Mbps uploads; the 400Mbps obtain plan has 10Mbps uploads; the 800Mbps plan has 15Mbps uploads; and the 1Gbps obtain plan (1.2Gbps in some areas) comes with 35Mbps uploads. By distinction, fiber-to-the-home suppliers typically present symmetrical upload and obtain speeds of as much as 1Gbps.

Comcast did hint at larger upload speeds “in the near term” utilizing DOCSIS 3.1, nevertheless it did not specify what these speeds can be or say when they are going to be accessible:

Even as Comcast works to check and deploy Full Duplex DOCSIS to allow multigigabit upload and obtain speeds within the future, the corporate is leveraging the applied sciences from the October trial, alongside with DOCSIS 3.1 within the upstream, to extend pace and capability within the close to time period.

The October 2020 check “deliver[ed] 1.25 Gig symmetrical speeds over a live, all-digital network by leveraging advances in Distributed Access Architecture, Remote PHY digital nodes, and a cloud-based virtualized cable modem termination system platform,” Comcast stated. In the more moderen check introduced as we speak, the demonstration occurred in a “simulated” surroundings as a substitute of a house.

“Comcast technologists in Philadelphia and Denver conducted the test by installing the Broadcom SOC in a simulated network environment to track the performance of its Full Duplex DOCSIS features—including echo cancellation and overlapping spectrum—which combine to support substantial improvements in network throughput,” Comcast stated.

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