Cable 10G vs. Wireless 5G: Foe Or Friend? (2019)

By John Ulm & Zoran Maricevic, CommScope

There has been much hype around 5G in the wireless world for several years now. At the start of this year, the cable industry announced its own 10G vision. Cable 10G and Wireless 5G initiatives offer disruptive, revolutionary technologies that at first glance seem to be at odds. But when combined, they offer an evolutionary strategy with much synergy.

The cable industry has undergone unprecedented technology changes over the last several years. The introduction of DOCSIS 3.1® started this and was quickly followed with development of Distributed Architectures such as Remote-PHY (R-PHY); Full-Duplex (FDX); Low Latency DOCSIS initiative; and now Extended Spectrum efforts. These developments are all building blocks that are a part of reaching 10G goals. The paper will review these goals and what it means for the operator to achieve these.

Gigabit Fixed Wireless technologies are emerging to rival wired services. 5G will be offered across different spectrums with each band having unique capacity/distance tradeoffs. Wi-Fi 6® and CBRS have also entered the fray. Doesn’t this position Wireless as foe to Cable 10G? The technologies actually need each other to make a better system. The future high bandwidth, high frequency wireless systems need small cells with many access points requiring a low latency wired backhaul; and APs positioned inside the home/MDU and outside in every neighborhood for optimum coverage. Cable is ideally suited to support this backhaul and powering infrastructure. Meanwhile, Cable 10G can provide multi-gigabit capacity to the home’s entry point but needs a robust high capacity wireless connection for that final 100 meters inside and around the home to every mobile device.

In the end, we describe how Cable 10G and Wireless 5G/CBRS are much stronger together and are at the core of a next gen network evolution.

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