Global IP traffic has been experiencing an era of intensive growth, which is expected to continue strongly in the next coming years. The development is highly driven by IP video consumption, resulting in an enormous increase in demand for network capacity. Fortunately, cable operators are in an excellent position to meet the demand in a cost-efficient and competitive manner.

The new DOCSIS 3.1 standard enables extensive IP traffic to be used for a variety of Internet services, and in particular the increasing return path capacity will respond to the consumer drive of sharing more and more self-produced video content on various Internet channels. Teleste has been following this development for a long time and has already released the first DOCSIS 3.1 compliant node of the industry.

How does DOCSIS 3.1 implementation impact the cable industry?

The emergence of DOCSIS 3.1 may start a totally new rebuilding wave in the cable industry. The new protocol will provide a 1 Gbps experience for consumers but with significantly lower investment costs than FTTH. At least for the next 10 years, DOCSIS 3.1 will set the roadmap for the cable industry in providing competitive IP-based services. Even though all operators may not implement the DOCSIS 3.1 standard in their networks in the near future, it is still useful for them to keep the technical life expectancy of the HFC infrastructure in mind. That is typically well above 10 years for active network components. Investment decisions made today affect far into the next decade.

What is the significance of DOCSIS 3.1 from Teleste’s standpoint?

Teleste is strongly committed to implement a wide end-to-end HFC product offering that supports DOCSIS 3.1’s new frequency range in both directions. DOCSIS 3.1, which will be marketed by the public name “Gigasphere”, will bring along significant new value for cable operators and consumers in terms of e.g. speed, network capacity and an expanding portfolio of broadband services. Teleste’s product offering aims to ensure that operators can take full advantage of arising possibilities and allow end customers to enjoy the richer experience of broadband services enabled by the gigabit speed.

What are the major technological challenges that DOCSIS 3.1 brings to manufacturers?

Today, there is only a limited selection of 1.2 GHz amplifier chip components available, and the situation will remain so in 2014. Lasers and other optical components are not an issue; but on the other hand, the RF parts in optical Tx and Rx products must be redesigned. A wide set of new passive 1.2 GHz components will also be needed, including most electromechanical and ferrite components in the signal path.

In parallel with platforms, a DOCSIS 3.1 update also needs to be done for several accessory plug-ins in the HFC product family. These include modules such as optical receivers, diplex filters, return amplifiers, output taps and splitters. Implementation of a higher forward path frequency range requires redesigning most of the components in the signal path. This has a significant overall impact in both R&D testing and verification setups, including investments in new measurement equipment and the need for new manufacturing testing equipment.

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Pasi Järvenpää
Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Teleste Corporation

The article has been publish in German in the helltec FOCUS magazine September 2014.