Cox Plots DOCSIS 3.1 Plans

Cox Communications is preparing to launch DOCSIS 3.1 lab and field trials next year and ramp up deployments in 2017, execs said Monday at a CableLabs-run presser in Louisville, Colo., that provided an update on the technology (Multichannel News will have a report with more details on that soon).

Cox, said Ony Anglade, the cable operator’s senior manager of access sustaining engineering, plans to start deploying DOCSIS 3.1 consumer premises equipment soon after products are certified. Deployments of those devices, which will be hybrids that support both DOCSIS 3.0- and DOCSIS 3.1-based IP traffic, will help the MSO seed the market for delivery of gigabit services via HFC “in widespread fashion,” Anglade told Multichannel News.

While DOCSIS 3.1 is aiming for capacities of up to 10 Gbps downstream and at least 1 Gbps upstream, the initial D3 .1 modems will support capacity configurations that will deliver about 5 Gbps/1Gbps when fully loaded. 

Ahead of that, he said Cox has begun to evaluate Converged Cable Access Platforms (CCAPs), which are high-density platforms that combine the function of the cable modem termination system and the edge QAM. Vendors have rolled out and are developing different forms of CCAPs, including centralized, chassis-based versions as well as versions that support a more distributed architecture.

Cox’s interest in DOCSIS 3.1 comes as the operator moves ahead on a plan to bring 1-Gig capabilities to its entire footprint.  Cox is initially offer residential 1-Gi g service, under the “G1GABLAST” brand, using fiber-to-the-premises technology, and has been offering that in several markets, including parts of San Diego, Phoenix,  Omaha,  New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.; and Las Vegas.

Cox’s has previously outlined a plan to begin market- wide deployment of Gigabit services by the end of 2016, and is expected to use a mix of DOCSIS 3.0 and targeted FTTP (some overlay builds alongside new builds) to get there.

“HFC not only has a long life, but a long, useful life, and DOCSIS 3.1 is proof of that,” Jeff Finkelstein, Cox’s executive director of strategic architecture, said.