Fiber internet is one of those things that politicians keep promising, and everyone keeps lusting over. Unfortunately. running a dedicated fiber line to everyone’s house is crazy expensive and massively impractical, so companies have been toying with various “last mile” solutions to get nearly-fiber speeds to everyone’s house.
Thanks to CableLabs, the telecoms R&D company that invented the DOCSIS standard cable modems use today, things are about to get a lot easier. The company has announced the release of full-duplex DOCSIS, capable of speeds of 10Gbps down and 10Gbps up over a humble copper coaxial cable.
This should prove to be a big deal for getting high-speed internet into as many homes as possible. CableLabs says that upgrading existing cable networks to Full Duplex DOCSIS — which should just require replacing switch technology and modems in customer houses, not actual cables — will “eliminate the need and cost” of deploying fiber to the premises. Networks will still need to run fiber to your neighbourhood, but that’s already begun in many places.
ISPs should be able to achieve the full 10Gbps down/up over cable runs of about 200m, which makes it practical in apartment buildings and dense urban neighbourhoods. Rural areas are still going to require a different approach.
Although the existing cable standards can already achieve speeds of 10Gbps down, getting symmetrical speeds on an internet connection is increasingly important. Your devices are uploading more and more to the cloud, with livestreaming already taking off in a big way. Analysts are tripping over themselves to explain how the internet of things and VR are about to take off, and all of those will require consistently fast upload speeds to work. The good news is, cable internet is already on the case.