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nbn co launches DOCSIS 3.1 for HFC networks

By Jonathan Nally
Wednesday, 08 August, 2018

nbn co launches DOCSIS 3.1 for HFC networks

nbn co has announced that it has finally begun enabling DOCSIS 3.1 on its HFC network as it restarts HFC activations in the coming months.

The company claims the technology will double HFC network downstream capacity.

Approximately three million premises across the country are expected to be connected via HFC by 2020.

DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which is used by several US cable operators such as Comcast and Cox Communications, substantially improves the spectral efficiency of the HFC network and enables nbn co to use new, higher-range spectrum, therefore doubling the capacity available.

In a statement released this morning, the company said that DOCSIS 3.1 will “prove a key benefit for nbn co on our HFC network given that around 75% of new end-user premises coming onto the nbn network are now taking either 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps services with nearly 50% of our 4.1 million activated premises now on 50 Mbps or above speeds”.

“nbn co has worked hard on the introduction of DOCSIS 3.1 onto the HFC network and we are very proud to be able to launch the technology onto the network,” said Ray Owen, nbn co’s Chief Technology Officer.

“This is another example of nbn co using cutting-edge technology to help deliver a better experience for Australians on the nbn broadband access network.

Owen added that although DOCSIS 3.1 enables higher speeds on HFC networks, it is not the company’s core focus at this present time.

Other points include:

  • DOCSIS 3.1 should reduce reliance on node-splitting to reduce the number of premises served by existing optical nodes.
  • Together with technology partner ARRIS, nbn co plans to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 across the majority of the HFC broadband access network by 2020 in both downstream and upstream directions.
  • DOCSIS 3.1 will be brought onto the network on an area-by-area basis.
  • Most end users should have immediate access to the technology as existing nbn co Network Termination Devices are already fitted with DOCSIS 3.1-capable technology.
  • Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) modulation and more advanced Forward Error Correction (FEC) should help to provide more reliable and stable connections.

“From an nbn co point of view, DOCSIS 3.1 will help us increase capacity on the HFC network far more efficiently than conducting new optical node splits which will, in turn, free up construction resources elsewhere to complete the network build by 2020,” said Owen.

nbn co expects to release around 100,000 homes and businesses on the HFC network to retailers every month through to April 2019.

Image courtesy nbn co.

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