10-Gbps last-mile internet could become a reality within the decade

Without having to change your ISP.
Ameya Paleja

If a 1-Gbps connection allows you to stream content and make video calls seamlessly, imagine what a 10-Gbps internet connection would be able to do for you. According to CableLabs, an innovation lab for the cable industry, this could be a reality before we turn into the next decade. 

The lines between work and home have thinned during these pandemic years and our reliance on the internet has increased tremendously. Even as mobile internet lets one stay connected to work from home, it is no match when you want to stream 4K content or play games with friends across the world. A solid wired connection is what one seeks if there's an important presentation to make to a client and a wireless connection might not actually work in the quiet corners of one's own abode. 

The developers of technology at CableLabs are already working on delivering the next big thing on the internet in as effortless a manner as possible. Working with thousands of cable internet vendors, CableLabs is well aware of the fact that, unlike mobile internet, it is not possible to upgrade wired networks physically every time a major upgrade needs to be rolled out. This is why it has updated the workings of data transmission to improve the speeds and reliability of wired internet. 

With DOCSIS 4.0 specifications, it is able to use existing hybrid fiber coax (HFC) to deliver ultra-high speeds. According to CableLabs, one of its member organizations, Comcast, delivered 4Gbps upload and download speeds during a live test last year while another member, Charter Communications, was able to reach speeds of up to 8.5Gbps during downloads and 6Gbps during upload on an HFC. 

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CableLabs has borrowed technologies such as coherent optics that are typically used on long-haul, metro, and submarine networks, and used them to task on existing fiber networks. When teamed with wavelength division multiplexing (using different colors to send data over the same fiber optic cable), the technology enables existing fiber assets to carry a much higher number of bits per second. Using these specifications, Comcast was able to achieve 10 Gbps speeds during a test, CableLabs said in its press release. 

To further the demand for these ultra-high speeds, CableLabs has launched the 10G Challenge to develop applications on these networks. If you would like to experience these speeds, you can also head over to Medina, Ohio, where another CableLabs member, Armstrong, has already launched its 10 Gigabit network and currently connects over 3,000 businesses and houses with these mind-blowing speeds. 

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