It’s one thing to hear about technology in a presentation or a briefing. It’s another thing entirely to talk to engineers in a lab about the work they do every day. Today I spent hours in a Motorola CMTS lab in Massachusetts and came away with photos, video and lots of notes. Since I’m writing this from the passenger seat of a rental car, I’ll keep the first post on my visit short and sweet, but look for more in-the-lab discoveries over the next several days.
One of the coolest things I heard today was from Mike Patrick who talked about exponentially increasing downstream cable bandwidth without ripping and replacing a single piece of hardware. In a typical North American HFC deployment, 40 Mbps might be split across two fiber nodes and roughly 1,000 subscribers. By splitting that bandwidth across four nodes and employing wave division multiplexing (WDM), it’s possible to increase the amount of bandwidth going to each individual subscriber by 1,000%. In the scenario from today consumers get an average of 40 kbps each. With further node splitting and WDM, that number goes up to 40 Mbps.
Keep in mind too that the 40 Mbps number is an average, not the top speed a user can get. More later on the difference between increases in total bandwidth capacity and increases in peak bandwidth capacity.