New opportunity for Vodafone cable? They make HFC fly at 4 Gbps

The HFCs in Spain currently has DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 technology. Operators like Vodafone offer speeds of 1 Gbps down Y 300 Mbps upload with this technology. Although the symmetry that we do find with fiber is not achieved, the cable has managed to maintain its type against FTTH. However, with the advent of fiber 10Gbps XGS-PON, the HFC has little to do. Or so it seemed.

Comcast It is one of the largest operators in the United States. There it has a dense cable network that, although they are gradually modernizing FTTH, continues to use the old infrastructure in tens of millions of homes. In fact, the 85% of US households have HFC coverage. Therefore, the operator is one of the main stakeholders that the DOCSIS 4.0 technology move forward as fast as possible.

DOCSIS 4.0: up to 4 Gbps speed

The operator is currently testing a prototype of 10Gbps modem. In the laboratory tests that are currently being carried out, the company has managed to reach speeds of over 4 Gbps both upload and download. Already in October they claimed to have been successful in testing a virtualized cable connection with DOCSIS 4.0, and now they are doing the first real tests.

In April 2021, they managed to reach speeds of 1.25 Gbps download and upload using virtualization and the latest DOCSIS technology. Little by little they are advancing when trying to reach 10Gbps speeds to stay competitive.

The problem is that HFC’s days are numbered. In Spain, operators such as MásMóvil are replacing all the HFC network of Euskaltel, R and Telecable, changing it for FTTH. With this, they achieve higher speeds, better scalability in the future, lower energy consumption and a lower cost of operation. That is why the number of customers with HFCs will continue to fall over the years, at least in Spain.

HFC is going to disappear from Spain

Thus, in Spain we have been “lucky” that the deployment of HFCs is not as large as that of the United States. This has made it possible to jump directly from ADSL to fiber optics in most of the population, although in Spain there are still 1.96 million lines with HFCs as of October 2021, which is about 220,000 lines less than those there was in October 2020.

With DOCSIS 4.0 Full Duplex, the use of network spectrum is much more efficient than with the previous standards, so it is possible to increase the upload speed without affecting the download speed. According to laboratory tests carried out in March 2020, the technology should be able to reach the 10 Gbps down and 6 Gbps up. Those numbers are twice as fast going down and four times as fast going up than DOCSIS 3.1. Vodafone is currently introducing DOCSIS 3.1 in Spain, with speeds of up to 3 Gbps down and 1 Gbps up in mode high-split.

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