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CableLabs certifies first gigabit-class cable modems

The HFC cables that deliver pay TV are getting closer to being broadband blasters

By Richard Chirgwin

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Broadcom's grinning like the Cheshire Cat, with its OEMs apparently dominating the first round of DOCSIS 3.1 device certification. DOCSIS 3.1 is a standard allowing for gigabit-and-above data transmission rates over existing hybrid fibre-coax cables widely deployed around the world for cable television delivery.

The BCM3390 chipset Broadcomm baked was first announced in January 2015, following CableLabs' successful interop tests in December 2014.

One of DOCSIS 3.1's key differences from prior standards is that it eliminates the need for a separate EuroDOCSIS standard, and Broadcom's canned statement says the products that have passed certification include 204MHz and 85MHz upstream splits for North America and Europe.

The other product characteristics needed to get an OEM a certification include two downstream 192MHz ODFM channels, 32 single carrier QAM downstream channels, a variety of modulation profiles, two 96MHz upstream OFDM-A channels, eight single-carrier upstream QAM channels, and an upstream diagnostic analyser.

As CableLabs explains, the certification also covers MAC (media access control) compatibility, the ULPI (upper layers protocol interface), the physical layer (PHY), the security specification, and the cable modem operations support system interface (CM-OSSI).

While Broadcom doesn't say which OEMs have its chipsets inside, CableLabs says Askey, Castlenet, Netgear, Technicolor and Ubee Interactive have made it over the certification bar, and all of these are customers for other products.

While the DOCSIS 3.1 road map plans for future 10Gbps services, the current round of products passed spec for a much more modest 1Gbps. Which puts DOCSIS 3.1 handily ahead of the likes of VDSL in the speed stakes. ®

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