First vendors through door for DOCSIS 3.0 qualification
In order to speed up DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts and encourage vendors to submit gear for testing more quickly, CableLabs implemented a tiered test program earlier this year for cable modem termination systems (CMTSs). In a recently completed test wave, start-up Casa Systems received a “silver” qualification for its CMTS, while Arris and Cisco both earned “bronze” qualifications for their CMTS gear.
Faced with increased broadband speeds from the likes of Verizon’s fiber-based FiOS service, cable operators have been clamoring for more speed. DOCSIS 3.0 specifications enable downstream data rates of 160 Mbps or higher and upstream data rates of 120 Mbps or higher.
"This technological achievement is a great step for our industry," said Comcast CEO and Chairman Brian L. Roberts, who is also chairman of the CableLabs board, in a prepared statement. "CableLabs’ rapid certification effort will enable companies to begin to develop products that will support the rapid deployment of DOCSIS 3.0 services in 2008."
To achieve these higher data rates, DOCSIS 3.0 describes a methodology for channel bonding in both the upstream and downstream directions. A minimum of four channels, each with throughput of 40 Mbps, is specified.
DOCSIS 3.0 also incorporates support for the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). IPv6 is the next generation of IP and greatly expands the number of Internet addresses that cable operators may use, allowing them to provide consumers with more IP-based services. Comcast, in particular, has expressed a need for additional IP addresses as it provisions more devices.
Full DOCSIS 3.0 compliance will ultimately be the sole certification level for CMTS vendors once the silver and bronze levels of qualifications are phased out.