Soon, and it probably won’t be long now, DOCSIS 4.0 will be rolling out. Comcast and other ISPs have already begun testing DOCSIS 4.0 advancements. It may seem crazy especially since DOCSIS 3.1, meant to deliver 10 Gbps, is still yet to gain a wider user base. But the time will come and it will sneak up on us, perhaps overnight.
As more schools, colleges, employers and other intensive data usage becomes the norm, faster and faster download (and upload) speeds will be required. On top of that, everyday more homes are relying on the Internet to deliver TV shows, movies, concerts, and music. Furthermore, devices and appliances inside of the home are using the internet to build a connected home. Smart home security devices like cameras, doorbells, and even locks today use the internet. All of these devices will, if not already sending data out and well as receiving. So the need for 4.0 comes to.
Additionally, mapping and planning takes years to get projects like this on a roll. While DOCSIS 4.0 will still use the home’s existing coax wiring, Comcast plans on bringing fiber lines closer to homes and businesses. DOCSIS 4.0 will make it possible to provide speeds up to 10 Gbps, yes, 10 Gbps. So why DOCSIS 4.0 if it sends sends as fast as 3.1. Think back to when the home’s cable wiring was simply used to provide cable TV to the home. Back then, the Coax cables were mostly meant to send the customer media to a cable box or TV. There wasn’t much use for the customer to send or upload to Comcast. Basically, Coax was only meant as a one-way street. Therefore, the existing wiring would not be able to handle much faster upload speeds without 4.0. The new technology will be able to multiply the downstream and upstream channels traveling through existing coax. So while the downstream speeds will be the same, upstream speeds will increase significantly, up to 6 Gbps, topping today’s highest output by almost 4x.
DOCSIS 4.0 Recap
- The main reason DOCSIS 4.0 is needed is to increase the upload speeds so future applications can better communicate with each other.
- Without 4.0, the existing homes Coax wire would need to be replaced to provide the needed upload speeds.
- 4.0 technology will be cheaper to distribute rather than upgrading all existing wires with fiber lines. That would be new lines to every business, every home, every school, and so on.
- Tighter network security will also be a part of DOCSIS 4.0
Are 4.0 Cable Modems Out Yet?
While I am sure some companies like ARRIS and NETGEAR have started to prototype new cable modems with DOCSIS 4.0, neither has released any official updates. I suspect by the end of 2021, we will be informed. As for now, DOCSIS 3.1 is already at hand and as I said earlier can provide speeds up to 2 Gbps downloads.
Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 vs DOCSIS 4.0
Resources: 1. CableLabs 2. Commscope / ARRIS