Cisco unveils DOCSIS design for massive HFC upload speeds


news Cisco has unveiled a royalty-free design for a Full Duplex DOCSIS specification that it claims will produce upload speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

Full Duplex DOCSIS is a rapidly developing technology that is expected to bring fibre optic broadband speeds to older HFC copper networks, and offers the possibility for cable operators to support symmetrical (equal speeds for both uploads and downloads) cable Internet services and video.

In a statement, the firm said that, over two years, more than 20 of its engineers have developed a validated reference design for a digital echo canceler that “maximises” the use of HFC capacity.

The team has designed a multi-slice scalable echo canceler (EC) for the Full Duplex DOCSIS specification that integrates with the Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) architecture.

Notably, the technology can be scaled to provide upload speeds ranging from 200 MHz (1.7 Gbps) to 1.2 GHz (10 Gbps), Cisco said.

“By making this royalty-free design available to the industry, we can help our cable customers evolve to more rapidly deploy virtualized, fibre-deep, and all-IP infrastructures,” said John Chapman, Cisco Fellow and CTO, Cable Access Business.

“We hope to accelerate the transformation of the cable industry to deliver multi-gigabit speeds and new high bandwidth services and products, and in the near future, customers can begin to enjoy the benefits of Full Duplex DOCSIS technology,” Chapman said.

The new technology was first demonstrated at the private CableLabs Summer Conference in Keystone, Colorado, on August 9.

Cisco said that, by deploying an architecture leveraging Full Duplex DOCSIS technology, business and residential customers can access multi-gigabit speeds without waiting for fibre services to be offered in their area.

Further, cable operators can avoid the cost of replacing their existing HFC infrastructure with fibre to the premises (FTTP) and instead invest in delivering new services such as faster Internet, faster uploads of 4K video, and more.

“DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex with up to 50 times more upstream capacity than today and echo cancellation technology, is further evidence that DOCSIS and the cable network itself has a long, useful life ahead,” said Jeff Finkelstein, Executive Director, Network Strategy, Cox Communications.

“The work being done on Full Duplex by the MSO, vendor and CableLabs team shows that the cable network will continue to evolve and deliver high bandwidth services for many years, enabling our customers to enjoy the services most important to them to meet their future needs,” he said.

Dr Robert Howald, Vice President, Network Architectures, Comcast, commented: “Full Duplex represents an important evolutionary step for DOCSIS 3.1, and we are actively participating with CableLabs and industry partners on this key initiative.”


  1. More vapourware technology.

    At what cost?
    Can I buy it today?
    Will it require further node splits?
    Will it require new CMTS devices?
    Will it require new CPE?

    FTTP is the future. Everyone knows it.

    • Actually from what I can tell/read this won’t work as long as we’ve Foxtel signals on the same cable (Same issue we’ve got with ‘Todays’ Tech) so its a bit of a moot point for next 10 odd years. If it hits market it’ll probably boost speeds but I doubt in the magnitude advertised atm.

  2. Technology continues to advance. HFC areas would be serviced today if not for Conroy/Quigley. Speeds matching customer demand (84% 25mbps or less) today and into the future for a fraction of the spend (CPP a third of FTTH) whilst capturing the majority of available revenue. Who pointed this out several years ago?

    • You forgot Opex significantly higher than FTTP resulting in a higher TCO.

      And are you seriously that deluded as to try and twist this into an anti Labor thing?

      – Cisco literally just announced the technology.
      – Telstra and Optus performed a DOCSIS 3.0 upgrade even in the presence of the NBN policy giving people access to 100Mbps download services (with terrible contention ratios and uploads)

      Yes technology continues to advance, but all technology.

      • @nk actually FTTH & FTTN per premise direct opex addressed several months ago by the knowledgeable few delims (late to the “debate”?):

        HFC likely somewhere in-between the two (reports of 3/4 FTTN). Clearly insignificant compared to either revenue captured and capex differential of alternatives.

        HFC the real winner for NBNCo (asset gifted, great DA renegotiation). It’ll be the largest profit component for required cross-subsidies (regional & fibre). Will it be enough for break-even? I suspect not. It’ll certainly limit their losses and deliver high-speed internet far sooner.

        • Richard, instead of guesstimating based upon your feelings of where HFC “is likely” in terms of Opex why don’t we use industry figures like the ones often repeated to you here in the comments, or ones you can source?

          Don’t show me your opinion, show me the data, then draw conclusions from that data.

        • @nk there’s very little public data available. Telcos don’t publish this information (commercially sensative), they prefer to talk comparatively (eg FTTH 50% less than FTTN (Verizon), FTTH same as FTTN (AT&T), HFC 25% more FTTH (Tucker on NBNCo leak)). However the sources for my FTTN baseline calculation in the link provided.

          The “often repeated” figures like Chas in the past couple of days are easily dismissed, his USD1100 / mile p.a (10 years ago;-) equates to AUD20 / connection p.a. (massively understating actual costs). His “understanding” exposed here:

    • Comment invalid Richard

      HFC areas would be serviced today if not for Conroy/Quigley.

      HFC area already served supplying up to 100Mbps but apparently the taxpayer needs to pay for an upgrade becuase the market failed lol.

      Speeds matching customer demand (84% 25mbps or less) today and into the future for a fraction of the spend (CPP a third of FTTH) whilst capturing the majority of available revenue.

      Comment invalid by commenting about future speeds we don’t need claimed by you.
      Or taking just as long to lol “upgrade” as it is to build a new FTTP”. No evidence on revune as ATM for HFC. FTTN delivering less than half of FTTP.

    • @ Richard…

      Getting desperate there, having to again use Mathew’s cherry-picked 84/25 spiel…

      Feel free to use his last one 50/12 too, because that was a real success wasn’t it?

      But regardless, once again you clearly demonstrate exactly as I have said many times. You hide behind Richard’s analysis, a cherry-picked analysis that relies upon you locating certain figures/info which suits and omitting those which don’t suit… to meet your end result… the MTM plan you wrote ;). Rather than genuinely using all figures/info to arrive at a non-predetermined result.

      Very irrational and disingenuous approach.

      You’re welcome.

    • @ Richard the man who put the word moron, back into oxymoron….

      Technology continues to advance…

      Yet you laud the continued re-use of obsolete copper for our nation?


      You’re welcome

  3. Yay! Gigabit for all! Oh wait i’m on FTTN…

    I thought 25mbit was good enough for the future? Guys? Guys???

    Seriously if someone from the NBN speaks up about this can someone go and slap them with a fish? Why is it that Gigabit is good for everyone UNLESS it happens to be delivered over fibre.


  4. The choice of HFC infrastructure re use vindicated once again, especially as you have to keep in mind the HFC was obtained from Telstra and Optus for the same price Conroy and Labor were paying to have it shut down and slowly overbuilt (once they had ramped up) with expensive FTTP CPP.

    • Failed HFC …your words

      Fixed that for you.

      Yet here you are now saying the opposite…

      PRICELESS adherence to the script lackey.

      You’re welcome

  5. FANTASTIC NEWS! Great to hear CISCO still has their BEST ENGINEERS devoted to researching and developing HFC TECHNOLOGY! Goes to show COPPER still has a BRIGHT FUTURE!

    • DOCSIS technology implemented on copper networks?

      This I would like to see moron!!!!!

      • Coaxial cable conducts electrical signal using an inner conductor (usually a solid copper, stranded copper or copper plated steel wire) surrounded by an insulating layer and all enclosed by a shield, typically one to four layers of woven metallic braid and metallic tape.

  6. Dear Author,

    Neither 200MHz nor 1.2GHz are upload speeds. MHz and GHz here describe the size/width of the frequency spectrum (aka bandwidth) used on the physical cable for uploads. Australian HFC providers using DOCSIS 3.0 right now utilise the 5-65MHz range (aka 60MHz of bandwidth) for data uploads. Downstream data, TV, Radio, etc, are found in various bands in the higher frequencies.

    The Cisco press release you got the info indicates their design can scale the upload band from 200MHz wide (the standard DOCSIS 3.1 upstream bandwidth [actually 199MHz because uploads are 5-204MHz]) up to 1.2GHz wide.

    Hopefully will see you make the appropriate correction(s) in the article.

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