“C-DOCSIS: A Key Technology in Enabling Gigabit Broadband” by Rajiv Kapur, Managing Director, Broadcom India

It’s no secret that India is focused onupgradingits cable TV and broadband capabilities, but few realize how much that effort could rely on a little-known bit of technology from its northern neighbor.China, which has a digital infrastructure modernization initiative of its own known as Next-Generation Broadband, or NGB, is leveraging a technology known as C-DOCSIS (C-Data over Cable Interface Standard) to deliver interactive television, Internet and telecommunications at Gigabit speeds.

For India, borrowing a page from China’s technology playbook could be incredibly important because of the country’s massive, government-sponsored program to lay new fiber optic infrastructure and utilize existing coaxial lines to provide more modern cable services to millions of subscribers. Sending largehigh definition (HD) video, gaming andvideo conferencing files over newly installed fiber optics doesn’t present an issue,but trying to do so over bandwidth constrained legacy cable lines is not ideal.

Cable operators in the region realize that the opportunity to roll out next-generation streamed services has never been bigger. In fact, analysts predict I 179 million pay TV households in India by 2020. And while they are aware of the hurdles, they are extremely motivated to overcome them.

What exactly is C-DOCSIS?

C-DOCSIS works by using Ethernet Passive Optical Networking (EPON), Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON) or point-to-point digital fiber methods to offer interoperability between system providers. It also provides robust Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure packet delivery during periods of network congestion.


Caption: A key goal of C-DOCSIS is to make DOCSIS technology cost-competitive in markets where high-density apartments and other multiple-dwelling units (MDUs) are commonplace.

India’s current cable systems are considered “fiber deep” because they run PON to the MDU before handing things over to the building’s coax network that, in turns, transports services to the individual residences. Traditional DOCSIS cable modem termination systems (CMTSs) aren’t cost-competitive in these environments because they are made to serve tens of thousands of customers, rather than a few hundred.

C-DOCSIS enables any DOCSIS 2.0- or DOCSIS 3.0-certified cable modem or set-top box (STB) with an integrated DOCSIS Set-Top Gateway (DSG) to interoperate with what’s essentially a stripped-down CMTS. In C-DOCSIS, the CMTS component is known as the Coax Media Converter (CMC).  The CMC receives the PON protocol or point-to-point Ethernet signal and converts it to DOCSIS packets that can be sent along the coax to the cable modems.

C-DOCSIS technology enables up to Gigabit speeds over existing coaxial infrastructure while simultaneously improving operational efficiencies. Withaverage download data rates of 2 Mbps in India, this translates into a 50x improvement.

As a result of rising consumer demand for cable and over-the-top streaming content, India’s broadband subscriber base crossed the 100-million mark in May of this year. As demand in the region continues to rise at exponential rates, C-DOCSIS technology could very well be the right technology, at the right time, in the right place.

(The views expressed in this article by the author are his own. Technuter.com doesn’t own any responsibility for it.)

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