Thursday, May 24, 2018

Moore's Law Really Does Matter

Moore’s Law and optical fiber matter, where it comes to fixed network internet access speeds.

Back in the early 1980s, when I first got into the cable TV business, many rural systems were operating at less than 200 MHz of total analog bandwidth, the first big city franchises were about to be awarded, and the state of the art was systems promised to operate at 400 to 450 MHz.

All that was before optical fiber and the hybrid fiber coax architecture, the need for reliable two-way communications or data services.

Because of Moore’s Law advances and optical fiber, HFC physical bandwidth now pushes between 750 MHz and a gigaHertz and internet services now push between hundreds of megabits per second and a gigabit per second, using DOCSIS 3.1.

It is possible, perhaps likely, that bandwidth will grow further beyond planned improvements to DOCSIS 3.1.
Indeed there is early speculation about what might be possible with next-generation DOCSIS that harnesses new spectrum ranges. Other proposed ways of increasing symmetrical bandwidth require all-fiber networks and full-duplex networking, where the same bandwidth is used for both upstream and downstream communications.

The point is that advances in computing power, with lower prices, plus optical fiber, make possible amounts of commercial bandwidth that would have been unthinkable back in the early 1980s.

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