Experts believe that DOCSIS 3.1 is few years off. The specification has not yet been finalized. After that, test and early customer premise equipment (CPE) and corresponding CMTS and CCAP line cards will be sprinkled through systems. The bottom line is that it will be a long time until DOCSIS 3.1 is an element of everyday cable operations.
So preparations should start now.
The industry has been down this road before. What seems like a long road, with plenty of cushion for adjustment, is deceptively short: The great change that the new technology brings demands equally great preparation to the plant, which must be in top shape when the first modems appear.
There are a couple of reasons that DOCSIS 3.1 requires operators to start preparing their plant early in the process:
Brady Volpe, the principal of The Volpe Firm, suggests that a great deal of preparatory work for DOCSIS 3.1 is the type of block-and-tackling that operators have been doing since the industry was born. “A lot of networks today may be using 256-QAM, but if you look at the spread, you see a bunch of cable modems that have low MER (modulation error ratio) and are just on the edge of staying online,” he said. “Cable operators need to tighten up the plant to get the modems on the low side onto the Six Sigma curve.”
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