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Comcast aiming for 10Gbps residential Internet speeds
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Residential Internet access has never been a hotter commodity, as everyone from network engineers to their first graders are sharing at-home WiFi and pushing the limits on residential upload and download needs over the course of the pandemic.

As a result, ISPs like Comcast are exploring ways to deliver enterprise-caliber Internet speeds out to residences without having to undergo costly and disruptive infrastructure upgrades.

On October 8, Comcast announced that it had made a big step toward this goal, having achieved 1.25Gbps upload and download speeds over a live production network by leveraging Network Function Virtualization (NFV) combined with the latest latest Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) hardware.

This edge-computing design was able to deliver commercial-grade internet speeds over existing residential networks out to a home in Jacksonville, Florida. This, Comcast says, is part of a long-term strategy with other global telecommunications and cable operators globally to eventually enable up to 10Gbps network speeds across existing networks.

“Our customers build their digital lives on the foundation of our internet service, so we continue to push the technological envelope to anticipate their future needs,” said Tony Werner, president of technology, product, and experience at Comcast Cable. “The great strength of our network technology is that we will have the ability to scale these next-generation speeds to tens of millions of homes in the future without digging up yards, or starting massive construction projects. This technology provides a path to meeting the needs of the future and making multi-Gigabit symmetrical speeds a reality for everyone, not just a select few.”

Recently, researchers at University College of London (UCL) set a record data transmission rate of 178Tbps that could download the entire Netflix library in less than a second, demonstrating techniques that could similarly be deployed without calling for massive infrastructure overhauls. In that case, amplifiers would need to be deployed on optical fiber roots at 25-65 mile intervals with a price tag of $21,000 per kilometer, compared to the $600,000 per kilometer price tag of installing new cables to achieve 178Tbps.

Reaching these speeds is more than just a necessity of the pandemic, however long the current situation keeps large portions of the workforce from returning to the office. According to a study on the benefits of reaching 10Gbps speeds in the U.S., reaching the goal holds the promise of generating at least $330 billion in total economic output and more than 676,000 new jobs over seven years.

But increasing network capacity out to end users at home is only part of the solution to ensuring that user experience is optimal wherever users are located, whether they’re logging in from home or commuting to the remote office. IT teams need visibility out to and beyond the network edge to understand what they’re working with in terms of both infrastructure and traffic to truly assure optimal performance.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: comcast internet, direct internet connectivity, dia, direct to internet, internet, remote worker, remote workforce, remote work, wfh, WiFi, internet service provider, residential isp, isp, comcast, cloud computing, network performance monitoring, enterprise IT

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