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Vroom! New standard doubles internet speeds

Vroom! New standard doubles internet speeds
© David Izquierdo | Dreamstime

Do you ever wonder why for the average consumer, our cable internet upload speeds are always traditionally 10 times slower than download speeds? It's something we've always accepted as a common rule for all cable internet providers.

The reason for this is because back in the early days of the internet, consumption was king and upload speed wasn't considered nearly as important. But nowadays, with the surge in social media usage, video chat and sharing services, and cloud storage, the demand for fast upload speeds is higher than ever.

Now, this big update for the next-generation internet standard reaffirms that - the public needs ultra-high bandwidth speeds both ways.

DOCSIS 3.1

The first version of the next-generation DOCSIS 3.1 standard was introduced in 2013 but it was still limited by the common download to upload ratios employed by most providers - 10 is to 1.

This means although the old DOCSIS 3.1 specification can achieve 10Gbps downloads, its upload speed is still capped at 1Gbps.

That's changing with this latest announcement from the research and development arm of the cable industry, CableLabs.

It is introducing an update to DOCSIS 3.1, which will allow symmetrical 10Gbps speeds in both download and upload streams. This means in the near future, regular households can finally get super-fast internet in both directions, allowing for more instantaneous video communications, lag-free gaming, and instant cloud backups.

Fun Fact: DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. The current standard is DOCSIS 3.0 which can handle up to 300Mbps downloads and 100Mbps uploads.

If you're wondering why you haven't heard of DOCSIS 3.1 speeds, well it's not exactly fully deployed yet.

Comcast started offering cable internet with gigabit download speeds over DOCSIS 3.1 last year but even then, the upload speeds were capped at a measly 35Mbps.

Traditionally, only fiber connections can support symmetrical 1Gbps upload and download streams. But with this latest breakthrough to the DOCSIS 3.1 standard, providers can now use their same cable infrastructure to achieve extremely high internet speeds while maintaining backward compatibility with older DOCSIS versions.

This will hopefully eliminate the expensive need for deploying new fiber lines across the country to boost internet speeds.

When should we expect DOCSIS 3.1?

Unfortunately, we won't be seeing the consumer version of DOCSIS 3.1 anytime soon. But if development proceeds as expected, cable providers could start deploying it by the end of 2019.

No one knows how much money the providers will charge for this but hardware changes, particularly modem upgrades that support DOCSIS 3.1, are expected.

What do you think? Is symmetrical internet speed something you've been waiting for? Drop us a comment!

Upgrade your modem for higher speeds

Speaking of modem upgrades, click here to learn why upgrading to the latest DOCSIS standards is always advisable.

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