Cable ops are lab-testing 'enhanced' DOCSIS 3.1, CommScope says

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CommScope says operators are using new software to fuel lab tests of an upgraded, enhanced form of DOCSIS 3.1 that beefs up downstream speeds. Field trials are expected to begin later this year.

DOCSIS 4.0 is the future of the hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) network. But there's more proof that DOCSIS 3.1 still has a long life ahead of it.

Cable operators are starting to conduct lab tests of an upgraded, downstream-boosting form of DOCSIS 3.1 powered by a new release of software that CommScope has developed for the E6000, the company's chassis-based cable modem termination system (CMTS).

CommScope said it expects to reach field trials of DOCSIS 3.1 Enhanced, or DOCSIS 3.1E, later this year.

DOCSIS 3.1E, as CommScope refers to it, enables operators to increase downstream speeds by bonding together additional orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) channels. That idea is being driven by the emergence of new DOCSIS 4.0 modems, upgraded DOCSIS 3.1 modems, and software upgrades for existing chassis-based CMTSs. Though this is all covered in the CableLabs DOCSIS 3.1 specs, the upgrades have been carrying multiple labels in industry circles, including DOCSIS 3.1+ and DOCSIS 3.1 "flex." Harmonic, pursuing the idea via its virtualized CMTS, has been marketing it as "BoostD 3.1."

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