What is DOCSIS: Everything That You Need To Know

What is DOCSIS Everything That You Need To Know

When you make it to the level of a network technician, sooner or later you’ll come across DOCSIS. This is a very important acronym that every network engineer should know. In this article, we will guide you on What is DOCSIS? through the history of DOCSIS as well as its meaning and why it is important.



DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification that defines the standard for cable modems to use as well as the communication protocol. It was developed by CableLabs in 1997 and has since gone through several upgrades, including DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1, which are used today.

DOCSIS is a communications protocol that enables the Internet connection in your home or business via your cable modem. The cable modem uses a coaxial cable to connect to the internet, which allows for high-speed data transfers over regular television cables. Since most people already have coaxial cables installed in their homes or businesses from satellite or cable TV services, a coaxial-based internet connection like DOCSIS is an easy choice over DSL or fiber-optic connections.

How Does DOCSIS Work?

Cable companies use a series of cable modems that are stationed at various points throughout their network. These modems are connected to each other via fiber-optic cables, and they share the bandwidth among all of the users who are accessing the Internet through that modem. This is how cable companies can offer insanely fast download speeds to their customers.

History Of DOCSIS

The history of DOCSIS starts with the realization that cable companies had a problem.

The problem was that it was hard to upgrade older cable systems to deliver new services like broadband Internet and digital television. Every time a new service was launched, cable companies had to rewire their coaxial cables. This made it hard to keep up with the demand for new services.

CableLabs, the research arm of many North American cable companies, began working on a solution in 1993. The solution was called Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS). The first version of DOCSIS was released in 1997. Since then, there have been four more versions.


The first version of DOCSIS focused on providing high-speed Internet access over cable networks. It also introduced some new features like security and quality of service (QoS).


DOCSIS 2.0 added support for two-way communications and higher speeds, including up to 43Mbit/s downstream and 10Mbit/s upstream. It also added support for IPv6 and PacketCable 2.0, which allowed service providers to offer voice over IP (VoIP) phone services.


The third version of DOCSIS was finalized in 2006 and included some significant changes over previous versions; it supported IPv6 and IPv4 addressing, provided faster upstream speeds, and introduced dual-carrier channels, which allowed for much faster download speeds.



DOCSIS 3.1, released in 2013 and the newest version of DOCSIS, offers speeds approaching 10 gigabits per second (Gbps).

What’s Next For DOCSIS?

DOCSIS 3.1 has finally emerged as the clear successor to DOCSIS 3.0, with widespread deployment of this new technology starting to ramp up in 2016. But while DOCSIS 3.1 promises to be a strong and viable platform for many years to come, it is inevitable that the next step in cable broadband evolution will eventually need to take place.

Here, we take an early look at what may come next for DOCSIS.

DOCSIS Devices: How To Manage Them?

DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. It is a telecommunications standard that allows for the addition of high-bandwidth data transfer to an existing cable TV (CATV) system. DOCSIS enables internet service providers (ISPs) to offer high-speed Internet access and digital television services over a single interface. DOCSIS 3.0, the highest level of DOCSIS deployment, currently offers speeds of up to 400Mbps downstream and 120Mbps upstream, with planned upgrades allowing Gigabit per second transmission in the future.

DOCSIS was developed by CableLabs, a non-profit research and development consortium founded in 1988 by major North American cable television system operators such as Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications and Charter Communications. Since then, more than 600 companies have joined up with CableLabs to develop and promote new technologies for the cable industry.


Why Is DOCSIS Important?

The Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) is the global standard that enables high-speed Internet and broadband services to be delivered over cable TV networks. DOCSIS allows carriers to offer affordable, high-speed Internet access to residential customers as well as businesses and institutions over the same network that delivers video services.

What Is The Purpose Of DOCSIS?

DOCSIS was created to allow cable operators to compete with DSL. DOCSIS 1.0 defined a single channel downstream operating at 27 MHz and a single channel upstream operating at a maximum of 5 MHz. Subsequent versions of DOCSIS have increased the number, bandwidth, and speed of channels in both directions. A DOCSIS 3.1 system can support multiple gigabit/second data rates in both directions using channel bonding techniques.

What Is The Difference Between Ethernet And DOCSIS?

DOCSIS is an industry-standard for enabling data transmission over cable TV systems. Ethernet is a Layer 2 networking technology that defines how devices connect with one another over a local area network (LAN). There are no technical differences between Ethernet and DOCSIS, but there are differences in how they are used.

Is DOCSIS Hardware Or Software?

DOCSIS isn’t really either — it’s really a standard that describes how cable modems, cable operators, and associated network equipment should be configured to communicate with each other. To be exact, DOCSIS stands for “Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification,” and it was developed by a consortium of cable providers and companies like Cisco Systems, Inc., Intel Corporation, and Motorola, Inc.

How Is DOCSIS Different From DSL?

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) refers to a range of technologies that use telephone lines connected to a central office or exchange via twisted-pair telephone cables. Digital information is then sent over this line using the same frequencies that are used by the voice service. Because these frequencies are lower than those used by voice services, DSL technology offers much higher data rates than conventional modems which use voice frequency channels.

With DSL, an individual subscriber’s line must run all the way back to the central office/exchange in order for them to be able to access digital services. Cable modem users on the other hand share one broadband connection between at least 50 and up to 500 subscribers, depending on network capacity and configuration.


After reading this article, you should have an understanding of What is DOCSIS?. If you are planning to upgrade your current internet connection or ISP, then DOCSIS could be exactly the upgrade that you need. Ask your Internet Service Provider how much speed you will get from DOCSIS 3 or DOCSIS 3.1 and compare the cost of upgrading your package to what DOCSIS has to offer. You might be surprised at how much money can be saved and how fast a supported cable modem can bring you up to date and in line with the latest technology.