NBN's Cable Network Upgrades Could Increase Speeds To 21Gbps

Video: Cable broadband has been around for a long time, and with its adoption as a significant part of the multi-technology mix National Broadband Network, it'll be around for a longer time still. The technology behind cable has long given us download speeds of roughly 100Mbps, but a new technology could increase that by up to 20 times.

A new project at CableLabs shows the potential of a Full Duplex version of DOCSIS 3.1, the technology that NBN is committed to rolling out as part of its ongoing upgrades to Australia's existing cable networks previously run by Telstra and Optus. The technology can run at a maximum of 21Gbps downstream and 10Gbps upstream, putting it on par with the top-end speeds we've seen from the best current real-world iterations of fibre to the n

This application uses 1.7GHz of spectrum across the hybrid fibre-coaxial cable; in the future, there's potential to open that pipe up to its full 6GHz and massively increase speeds once more. The same is true of GPON and NG-GPON2, of course, but it points toward us being able to do a lot with the cables that are already in the ground and on poles — which should be comforting for anyone worried about missing out on the aborted fibre to the premises nationwide rollout. [CableLabs]


    Does not matter if Telstra get their mitts on it the current revision of docsis 3 we are on with our cable has a deliberate speed limiter to keep the upload speed low sadly

    Been enjoying 100Mbps for roughly eight years now, long before anyone Dreamed up nbn.

      Unfortunately only 8-10% of the Australian population has access to cable/HFC.

        Here in Melbourne, co axial cable runs past every house. Just because someone hasn't got it connected, doesn't mean that it doesn't run past their house.

          Categorically untrue. I live in Melbourne, and it does NOT run past my house.

            If you live in Ararat, then probably not. If you see a black cable hanging below the power lines, it's probably co axial. Telstra ran it out long ago.

              I do not live in Ararat, I live in Melbourne... pretty sure I said that in the previous comment mate. I think I know where I live better than you do, and what services are or are not available here. The arrogance is simply astounding.

              Secondly, there are no above ground power cables, they are below ground. Try to be aware that there is a world outside your own house.

              Coaxial cable does NOT run past everybody's house. It does not even run past ALMOST everybody's house. Some people have Telstra cable running down their street, some people have Optus cable running down their street. Some people have both. Some people have neither, and there are far more of these than you think.

                Don't get your knickers in a knot buddy. I saw your name as Ararat and presumed you lived there. I was wrong. No need to make a case about it. It sounds like you live in a new area where everything is underground and since (I'm just guessing here so if I'm wrong, don't have a fucking sook ) it's a new area, then the co axial wouldn't have been laid there. If you are in a new area, then you might even get fibre. If not, then you'll probably get copper phone lines or if your lucky, HFC.

          It may run past their premise but not every street is configured and nor is the exchange setup for expansion through HFC. Only about 9 suburbs in inner-Brisbane have it and not even all building have access to it in said suburbs and furthermore often apartments can't get it as they only designed it ages ago for houses and don't have enough ports to service entire apartment complexes which have grown in size.

            HFC won't be connected to the exchange because fibre will make up the back bone. It gets connected to the node but saying that, Australia will get a mix of technology and the NBN still hasn't organized what's it's going to do. It's all up in the air right now and will most probably stay that way until the elections have run. One step forward, two steps back.

    "The technology can run at a maximum of 21Gbps downstream and 10Gbps upstream"

    At what distances? Also need to factor in how many channels need to be bonded to reach that maximum vs how many the NBN will actually let you use. DOCSIS 3.0 is already capable of 1.2gbps down and 250mbit up if you have the maximum number of bonded channels, but good luck finding consumer hardware that supports it or ISPs that allow it.

      I don't understand your question. Fibre will be the back bone and it will hook up to the co axial which runs down the the power poles to your house.

    The technology behind cable has long given us download speeds of roughly 100Mbps, but a new technology could increase that by up to 20 times ... at a maximum of 21Gbps

    Shouldn't that be 200 times then?

    Why confuse those who don't understand the folly of the mixed technology approach to the NBN? The title of this article suggests cable can increase to speeds greater than fibre, but then later in the article it says its talking about hybrid fibre-coaxial cable so its not cable internet at all. Cable internet is strictly pipped through copper-coaxial cable. In other words all the copper needs to be replaced with hybrid fibre-coaxial cable and then that is not cable internet no more. So why make those that don't understand believe we are headed in the right direction, when we really are not?

      Cable internet used in Australia IS HFC. The fibre runs to the optical node and then the copper coaxial runs to the home. To compare these two is perfectly appropriate. Nevertheless, HFC is a shared medium that currently services anywhere from 50 to 400 homes. Sharing 21Gbit/s with 400 homes is a far cry from 10 GPON servicing a max 32 homes.

    Nice in theory, and in a research lab with short cable runs and perfect conditions. In reality, not holding my breath.

    Pushing bits down cables has come a long way. Once 128k ISDN was considered bleeding edge, now ADSL2 far surpasses that.

    But the practicalities will limit what customers see. Mostly because there's little incentive for telcos to develop these technologies in the field when most people believe the incumbent government's line that 25Mb/s is "fast".

    And also because HFC performance degrades with users-per-node, distance from CMTS, noise from poorly shielded equipment, environmental factors, and so on.

    It also pales by comparison to fibre which (under similarly favourable conditions) achieves transfer speeds in the order of multiple Tb/s.

      Not necessarily true. Co axial gets amplified gets boosted all the way along the line and hence the faster speed than copper phone lines. Here's an interesting titbit. One co axial line will run down many streets and each house can tap into it. The one copper wire inside can handle traffic going both ways and to many houses. It's all done by using different frequency's unlike the phone lines that use two twisted pairs just to operate per house.

    So MTM for its cable upgrade is relying on a technology still under development, that hasn't been rolled out anywhere, and is still several years away from commercial implementation? That sounds like it will be cheaper, faster and sooner.

    It's called "fibre to the x" now. That's the latest NBN speak and oh, I told you so, about co axial and the speeds it can achieve.

    Can we keep knifing Prime Ministers until one of them has a vision for a decent NBN, imagine the cultural/environmental change this would create with many more people being able to work from home.

    Last edited 22/02/16 10:29 am

      not only work from home, but make regional centers a viable option for business. Say places on the fringe of Melbourne like Warrigal, Gisbon/ Sunbury, Melton would be able to compete on a global scale with business in the CBD of Melbourne, could also cut commute times for people traveling to the CBD to perform their job, when their office could be 5 mins from home.

    What Telstra can do and what the actually end up doing are always two very different things.

      Sadly that's very true. Telstra wants to get out of the telecommunications business, so it's doing the very least it can. It stopped upkeep a while ago and things are getting very run down.

    Well. Apparently I am going to be one of the NBN guinea Pigs. I got a letter in the mail a few weeks back to say it will be installing March- April this year - it mentioned that I was in the test group for DOCSIS 3.1, with speeds being tested "up to " To 21Gbps - if anyone at Giz is interested happy to let you know how it goes :)

      I have some big files to upload if you'd like to test it out :)

    And Flying Cars have been promised since the 50's. I guess we should all still dare to dream...

    I live a 30 minute drive north of Gympie, 1 hour from Hervey Bay with about 3,000 residents in Glenwood. There is no internet at all let alone NBN. Access in Vietnam and Bulgaria is widespread and fast but not in a place 2 hours north of Brisbane. Primitive!!

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