Fiber has been getting a lot of attention lately. Fiber-optic cables allow for fast speeds with low latency and lower network congestion. While fiber is seemingly the future of the internet, cable internet is going to remain the most practical choice for at least the next 4 to 5 years.
Fiber internet costs significantly more than cable internet and it’s not widely available. Some of the most advertised benefits of fiber internet are also not useful for most people, such as symmetrical upload speeds.
Instead of using fiber as a marketing gimmick like many other companies, Xfinity has been working on practical and sustainable solutions grouped under the name “10G Network”. These network improvements are going to improve the Xfinity internet for everyone regardless of whether they have coax or fiber.
New technologies have already been implemented in some service areas. If want to learn about the state of the 10G Network in your area, Xfinity customer service can answer your location specific questions.
Here, we look at some of the technologies Xfinity is using to provide Gig internet connection even to subscribers who don’t have fiber. Let’s get started.
Brilliant Technologies Xfinity is Working On
Virtualized Cable Modem Termination System (vCMTS)
CMTSs are routers located at your cable provider’s headend that talk to all the modems in your neighborhood. They tell modems which frequency ranges to listen to for downstream data and which time slots to use for upstream data. They also modulate downstream data so it can travel through the coaxial cable and demodulate upstream data from your modem. This adds up to a lot of work.
A CMTS can serve anywhere between 4,000 to 150,000 houses. However, they have a limited frequency range that they have to divide among all online users downloading data. If a CMTS is serving a large number of modems, it’ll only assign a few frequency bands to each modem which will limit download speed.
Installing more CMTSs can increase internet speeds and allow internet access to more users. However, each CMTS requires a significant investment to build and maintain. CMTSs also consume energy to work and stay cool.
Xfinity’s parent company Comcast is leading the development of a new technology called vCMTS or virtual CMTS. vCMTS allows Comcast to create many virtual CMTSs on the same hardware stack. Virtual CMTS also don’t require any additional physical hardware as long as there are enough resources in the existing system. This technology is playing a central role in delivering gig speeds over coaxial cable.
Data Over Cable Services Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 3.1
DOCSIS is a universally used set of specifications for cable internet. DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 are the latest iterations. One of the ways these newer sets of specifications increase speeds is by increasing the total frequency range over coaxial cables and assigning more challenges to each modem.
DOCSIS 2.0 uses a frequency range from 50 to 864 MHz downstream. It divides this frequency into 6MHz channels, each of which can carry up to 43 Mbps of data. A modem can only use one of these channels at a time, so downstream speeds cannot exceed 43 Mbps with DOCSIS 2.0.
DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 have downstream frequency ranges of 85 to 1003 MHz and 85 to 1724 MHz respectively. A higher range means a higher number of channels available for the subscribers.
With DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1, the minimum number of channels each modem is connected to is 4. Since each channel has 43 Mbps of bandwidth, this gives you a minimum bandwidth of 172 Mbps. Your modem can have up to 32 channels allowing a top speed of about 1376 Mbps.
You will have to pay to actually get these speeds, but it’s only possible with DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1. Comcast has made DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 available in all its service areas. It’ll also likely be the first to adapt DOCSIS 4.0, which is expected to release in a year.
AI/ML Based Problem Solving
Network problems are unavoidable. Coaxial cable and network equipment are subject to the same forces of nature as everything else. Exposure to the elements and bad weather conditions can cause unexpected problems, leaving you high and dry without internet access.
Xfinity is building a network that uses the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect and solve problems even before customers can take notice. These algorithms are trained to look for all the signs of bad connectivity and inform appropriate teams. Xfinity’s AI may even help one day predict pieces of equipment that are about to fail, so they can be replaced before they cause any problems.
Get 1200 Mbps Internet on the 10G Network at $80/mo.
The top internet offer from Xfinity includes WiFi equipment, unlimited data, no term contract, and comes with a 2-year price lock. Contact Xfinity customer service at 8442-078-721 to learn more.