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Happy Birthday DOCSIS! Let’s Eat Cake

March 29, 2012 - 2 Comments

Think back to the year 1997. Back then, Bill Clinton had just begun his second Presidential term. Princess Diana’s funeral was watched by 1.5 billion people. Internet Explorer version 4 was new. The Hale-Bopp comet made its closest approach to Earth – and the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) was released publicly for the first time (March 1997), marking the beginning of the broadband revolution.

That’s why our John Chapman, a Cisco Fellow and one of the original contributors to the DOCSIS specification, chose to highlight the subject, during his March 20 keynote at the Light Reading Cable Next-Gen Broadband Strategies conference in Denver.

The highlights: By year-end 1997, some 10,000 DOCSIS-based cable modems were installed in Canada. At the time, services ran on a single carrier, for 40 Mbps downstream – spread across 20+ fiber nodes.

Now, 15 years later, a DOCSIS plant typically runs on four to eight carriers, to individual nodes – a 100-200x increase in capacity. On the services side, what was originally a high-speed Internet connection grew to support voice over IP, as well as DSG (DOCSIS set-top gateway.)

And the fun isn’t over yet! Watch for DOCSIS to support full-spectrum capacity, over time, as more operators transition more channels to IP. Consider: If all of the 158 downstream channels in a typical cable system were bonded in IP, the resultant carrying capacity would leapfrog to 5 Gbps downstream, and 1 Gbps upstream.

Topics like CCAP – the Cable Converged Access Platform – also featured into Chapman’s keynote, as a way to encapsulate CMTS and edge QAM features into one software-controlled box. Meaning more capabilities; less capital and operational expenditure.

To hear the DOCSIS story from John himself, click here.

Meanwhile:  What’s a birthday without a cake? Here, several of the original DOCSIS contributors gathered to blow out candles, sing a little, eat cake, and talk DOCSIS. Pictured (from left): Jack Burton, Cablevision Systems; Oleh Sniezko, Aurora Networks; John Chapman, Cisco; Bob Hunt; John Dickinson, Bright House Networks; Jorge Salinger, Comcast; and Jeff Finkelstein, Cox.

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  1. Happy Birthday Mrs DOCSIS
    Remember when I knew this standard (2001)
    Long live the cable !

  2. Happy Birthday Docsis. Its glad to know in 15 years Docsis plant runs on about 8 carriers. Remebering 1997 was a massive development year, though I was too young alomost 5 years old but still remeber the Pentium 1 computer craze, at that time personal computers were not common and internet connectivity was rare in South Asia.