Comcast passes 100k remote PHY nodes milestone as DOCSIS upgrade gathers pace

US cable giant Comcast says it has now passed the milestone of 100,000 remote PHY digital nodes deployed across its national network.

Remote PHY nodes are seen as a critical element of the distributed access architecture (DAA) that is crucial to the upgrade of cable DOCSIS networks to deliver ultrafast broadband. The 100k milestone means that Comcast has upgraded about a quarter of its entire footprint.

Comcast said that upgrading its network will be key to its planned implementation of Full-Duplex DOCSIS 4.0, supporting multi-gig symmetrical speeds that will be available to the first customers in Q4.

Comcast first began rolling out digital nodes in 2019, surpassing 50,000 remote PHY nodes deployed across the network in 2022.

Node upgrades are one element of the DAA transformation that also includes the deployment of virtualised CMTS technology across the network.

The strategy of combining remote PHY with virtualized CCAP puts Comcast in the mainstream of US cable operators’ upgrade roadmaps. There are emerging differences between US and European cable upgrade paths, with a more fragmented European cable industry looking to a mix of deploying fibre, and upgrades to higher spectrum on the DOCSIS plant, but limited moves towards DAA.

Announcement of the passing of the 100k milestone comes after Comcast launches its Xfinity 10G network in February.

Comcast recently also launched what it claims to be the industry’s first low latency DOCSIS (LLD) field trials in collaboration with Apple, Nvidia and Valve. Comcast is planning to make LLD, based on a CableLabs technology standard that implements the Internet Engineering Task Force’s (IETF) Low Latency Low Loss Scalable Throughput (L4S) open standards, available to customers by the end of 2023.

“Thanks to our years-long innovation and leadership in virtualisation technology, we are well positioned to deliver multigigabit symmetrical speeds to the most people at the fastest pace starting by the end of 2023,” said Elad Nafshi, EVP and chief network officer at Comcast Cable.

“But what’s more exciting about our continued commitment to deploying network innovation, as evidenced by the digital nodes across our network, is the immediate benefits it delivers to our Xfinity 10G Network customers with respect to speed, reliability, sustainability and scalability.”

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