Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cable reports bandwidth crunch, considering PON!!!

This is an interesting article at Lightreading reporting cable companies facing a bandwidth crunch. This is not unexpected, since residential broadband bandwidth consumption is increasing rapidly, particularly downloaded video traffic, such as from YouTube. Moreover, the data channels available in DOCSIS 2.0 are limited, DOCSIS 3.0 will still take some time to deploy.

What I found more interesting is the mention of PON under consideration by cable companies. Cable deployments already have fiber to a head end from where a copper ring takes over. Unfortunately the copper ring is shared by a lot of customers, may be even 1000. This is because cable was designed for broadcast, and a lot of customers could feed from the pipe with little attenuation to the signal. However, this architecture is not convenient for data traffic which is not shared between customers. Similarly, upstream traffic performance is pretty poor as the number of upstream channels in DOCSIS 2.0 are very less.

PON will definitely help a long way. I am not sure why PONS have been completely dismissed by cable companies till now. With the competition from satellite television which delivers a much wider range of HDTV channels, and the phone companies BPON architecture, rapid developments in cable may be expected soon.

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