Forward-looking predictions on future bandwidth demand indicate that the 10-15 Gbps BW capacities of DOCSIS 3.1 systems may become limiting by the middle of the 2020 decade. This paper will explore novel ideas that propose to extend the DOCSIS 3.1 specifications to permit DOCSIS to support subscriber Bandwidth (BW) needs into the 2030 decade and beyond. The paper will study BW trends, discussing the details of different options for augmenting plant BW capacity. The paper will then describe extended-spectrum DOCSIS, showing that it offers many advantages to Multiple System Operators (MSOs), including backward compatibility, investment protection, the avoidance of large capital costs, elimination of unnecessary operational challenges, and the utilization of the full capacity of their existing Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial (HFC) networks.
The paper will analyze the performance of HFC networks at higher frequencies and propose a gradual migration plan that increases the BW from 10 Gbps to (perhaps) 200+ Gbps. The paper will also analyze the effect of multiple parameters such as attenuation, signal source tilt, multiple modulation profiles, variable bit loading, and type and length of the hard / drop coaxial cables. The paper will conclude by describing a potential evolutionary path that the MSOs may follow as they migrate from DOCSIS 3.1 systems to extended-spectrum DOCSIS systems.