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Is Cable Over Internet an Outdated Technology?

At-home learners, including secondary students in computer science, could benefit from a scheme of work related to their own internet service providers. Knowing how internet service reaches where you live and how it compares to other forms of internet access is important in considering the types of online platforms at-home learners and workers can use.  My thinking so far is that an independent study module at GCSE level could be engaging and productive if structured with the ISP in mind and with access to technical support from the ISP. It could also be a source of community goodwill if the ISP were to offer scholarship prizes to the best work, for instance in a summer project.  Virgin Media execs, is there interest to offer this and how should we move forward with the planning? 

David Smith, Computer Science Teacher, England, Secondary, Putting legacy devices to good use, Linux Mint, Smart router with hybrid wifi and Homeplug AV2 distribution, Blueyonder pioneer (2001),
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Re: Is Cable Over Internet an Outdated Technology?

You could ask SCTE for help. I'm not affiliated with them but have seen several of their YouTube videos. They would certainly tell you that DOCSIS 3.1 has given cablecos with HFC plant reason to believe that their investment will be highly competitive for many years.

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Re: Is Cable Over Internet an Outdated Technology?

DOCSIS 3.1 has given cablecos with HFC plant reason to believe that their investment will be highly competitive for many years

Maybe, but VM's approach to customer service and sales isn't done for the long term.  DOCSIS is a right camel of a technology that has dubious stability, and D3.1 seems even more flakey and unreliable than 3.0.  You'd never design a data network like this these days, it's just cable networks have too little effective competition and are too entrenched to think about a strategy that sees DOCSIS "sunsetted", and the network upgraded to pure fibre optic.  The Project Lightning build out hardly counts (and I believe they still use DOCSIS where they've got FTTP).

I'd have more confidence in a long term future for cable if there were any evidence that Virgin Media understood the technology, could operate it reliably, and had the systems to proactively manage quality of service at customer level.  Instead, the network is unreliable, understanding (including fault reporting, diagnosis and resolution) is patchy, capacity is routinely over-sold, and the icing on that rather foul tasting cake is VM's APPALLING customer service. 

Anyway, isn't this discussion more for "Community Natter"?

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Re: Is Cable Over Internet an Outdated Technology?

The tech is not outdated, but how well the plant is maintained and upgraded is of course a factor. Virgin Media has many upgrade options.
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Re: Is Cable Over Internet an Outdated Technology?

The fact that VM has upgraded a number of areas from DOCSIS 3.0 to 3.1 is evidence that VM knows what it's doing. The big benefit is being able to deliver much higher speeds whilst utilising the investment in the HFC plant which goes back over three decades and more, a far better option than replacing that plant by digging up roads, pavements and gardens to install fibre. Like it or not, in the real world all ISPs have to run their businesses according to budgets.

The HFC plant has a lot of untapped potential and it's the job of CableLabs to produce the DOCSIS specifications to help unlock that potential. It should be appreciated that with suitable upgardes (I'm thinking of things like fibre deep, DOCSIS 3.1, good SNR and new sprectrum availability) VM will be able to think of being able to deliver 10Gbps down and 1Gbps up. This is highly competitive with EPON on downstream but not on upstream, although up to 2Gbps is achievable. Work has been done on achieving full duplex but I believe that a solution is some way off.

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Re: Is Cable Over Internet an Outdated Technology?

DOCSIS 4.0 has two options: Full Duplex and Extended Spectrum. ESD is business as usual, with a split between upstream and downstream. It just allows much larger upstream spectrum than now - up to 684 MHz.
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Re: Is Cable Over Internet an Outdated Technology?

There are also some in-between options, like dynamic split and soft FDX (Full Duplex DOCSIS).

Dynamic split is... dynamic. The split can dynamically adapt to the current need. If upstream is the most requested resource then more spectrum will be given for upstream.

Soft FDX is almost FDX. There is no split, so downstream and upstream can be in any order in the full duplex band - just not on top of each other. This is easier to implement than full FDX.

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