What is 10G – The Technology Foundation (2019)

By Dr. Robert Howald, Dr. Sebnem Ozer, Robert Thompson, Saif Rahman, Dr. Richard Prodan & Jorge Salinger, Comcast

The HFC architecture has proven over decades to be a most adaptable broadband network. One technological refresh after another, now coming faster than ever, has enabled the increased bandwidth and higher speeds customers demand, and with the reliability to power an always-on multi-screen, multi-device experience. Key advances in deeper fiber penetration, flexible and modular intelligent nodes, spectrum expansion, DOCSIS 3.1, Distributed Access Architecture (DAA), All-IP services, and virtualization have emerged or are emerging to drive this next generation of experiences.

While that amount of transformational change is an impressive undertaking, the HFC horizon is expanding once again with the industry-wide focus on the 10G initiative. A powerful capability being added to the DOCSIS family at the heart of 10G is DOCSIS 4.0 Full Duplex (FDX), formerly known as DOCSIS 3.1FDX. FDX offers a massively expanded upstream spectrum and capacity on existing coaxial networks, introducing several key innovations that promise to carry the network long into the future. As a complement to the aforementioned capacity initiatives, 10G will achieve the promise of a world-class platform delivering all of the capabilities to power robust, real-time, broadband applications and services of today and envisioned (or not!) of tomorrow. A 10G network will be an intelligent, robust, self-healing, broadband, low-latency network that raises the bar on what a network can do, and how it can affect customers’ lives for the better.

This paper will bring the reader from the ground up on these enabling next generation access network (NGAN) technologies that form the foundation of 10G. What were once emerging technologies are, in many cases, now being deployed. We will describe the progress and state of these access network roll outs, rapidly coming iterations of these core technologies, and discuss the road map and anticipated milestones of development of these evolutionary next steps, and why they are important. Finally, we will provide a description of the technical foundations of DOCSIS 4.0 Full Duplex, including the network and home architecture implications for deployment, and hone in on some optimizations already in the works.

We will share results from field trials that have taken place on the road to 10G deployment, including measured performance and comparison to the moels used by the CableLabs working groups to develop the FDX requirements. This will include the “Model 2” scenario, anticipated to be the most challenging for FDX, and truly exercise the technological capabilities. And, we will consider alternative 10G paths and the synergy between the options.

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