Comcast Reaches Major '10G' Milestone With the Introduction of CommScope Prototype FDX Amplifiers

Comcast 10G
(Image credit: Comcast)

Comcast said it has received prototypes of a crucial component needed for its next-generation "10G" network.

Prototypes of Full Duplex DOCSIS (FDX) amplifiers from cable tech vendor CommScope will enable Comcast to build a multi-gigabit-speed network, delivering symmetrical downstream and upstream speeds, based on FDX DOCSIS 4.0 technology. 

Comcast, which is leading the cable industry's network-evolution into a catch-all marketing slogan called "10G," wants to deploy this multi-gig network across most of its footprint by 2025. Comcast's next-generation network will also be one of the first to be based on Distributed Access Architecture (DAA), which virtualizes expensive proprietary core network hardware including the Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS).

The cable operator recently said it would have "foundational upgrades" completed by the end of February needed to reach 10 million customers with its shiny new FDX DOCSIS 4.0 network.

Comcast said it would begin immediately lab testing the CommScope amps, which offset a key limitation for FDX. Previous iterations of the scheme required a "node+0" configuration to avoid echo interference on non-fiber portion of the network, meaning there could be no amplifiers between the last fiber node in the network and the customer. 

This required operators to extend fiber very deep into their networks -- not quite to the home, but close enough so that the economics of keeping hybrid-fiber/coax were pretty much negated. 

Previous generation amplifiers didn't have the echo-cancellation capabilities needed for symmetrical delivery of the upstream and the downstream signals, so there couldn't be any amps between where the fiber ends and the end point of the network. 

Comcast already successfully tested a reference design of the new tech used by the CommScope amps last fall and describes it as the missing link needed to make its FDX plan work. 

 “CommScope has been a key partner in our work and deploying their FDX amplifiers across our network is a critical next step," said Elad Nafshi, executive VP and chief network officer at Comcast Cable, in a statement. "We’re excited to harden this technology and begin rolling them out across our network, so that we can continue to deliver the best connectivity experience to our customers.”

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!