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Anadigics Gets Amped For DOCSIS 3.1

Anadigics has introduced a new line amplifier that, it claims, is optimized to support DOCSIS 3.1, an emerging CableLabs specification that will target downstream speeds of up to 10 Gbps and upstream speeds as fast as 2 Gbps.

The vendor’s first D3.1-focused component out of the chute is the ACA2429 GaN power doubler, a 1.2 GHz surface mount line amplifier. While most upgraded cable plant is built out to 750MHz, 860MHz, or 1GHz, the DOCSIS 3.1 specs will entertain the notion of expanding the downstream by additional 200MHz, so that’s where Anadigics’ new amps will try to fit in.

That expanded spectrum range could provide the necessary head room to support a “high-split” that would involve raising the current upstream bandwidth ceiling from 42 MHz to 200MHz.

Anadigics said its D3.1 gear will also deliver higher output power levels to accommodate “drop-in” upgrades.

"By helping manufacturers achieve industry-leading performance and reliability in new 1.2 GHz downstream equipment, we are enabling MSOs to take advantage of this upcoming standard and offer a wider array of exciting services,” said Tim Laverick, VP of infrastructure products at Anadigics, in a statement.

CableLabs expects to complete the DOCSIS 3.1 product specs this year. The platform is aiming to be about 50% more efficient than DOCSIS 3.0 partly through the use of orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), a technique that will enable operators to pack tiny subcarriers into wide blocks of bandwidth and utilize higher levels of modulation. DOCSIS 3.1 will also support low density parity-check (LDPC), a Forward Error Correction (FEC) scheme that uses less bandwidth than the current Reed-Solomon approach.

At the current pace, some MSOs envision DOCSIS 3.1 trials getting underway in 2014, and commercially-ready 3.1 products becoming available by late 2014 or early 2015. The initial wave of DOCSIS 3.1 modems are expected to be hybrids that also support DOCSIS 3.0. 

At The Cable Show in June, CableLabs demonstrated how pre-production hardware outfitted with OFDM could deliver 6 Gbps using 750MHz of bandwidth, representing a 20% efficiency gain over DOCSIS 3.0 spectrum. Future ODFM hardware is expected to be even more efficient.