A new specification that cable operators use to deliver high-speed web access using cable modems is set to triple in speed, making way for services such as video conferencing and peer-to-peer applications by the end of the year.
CableLabs, the cable industry's research and development arm, said that plans are now being finalised for interoperability testing in the first quarter this year, and that certification testing is expected to take place by the third quarter.
Docsis 2.0 (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) significantly increases cable bandwidth by establishing a network that has 30Mbps capacity in two directions.
Today's cable networks generally deliver data with download speeds of between 500Kbps and 2Mbps. Analysts said that cable modem customers are usually limited to only a fraction of those speeds, about 128Kbps, when sending data.
Docsis 2.0, which is compatible with Docsis 1.0 and 1.1 cable modems and cable modem termination systems, includes two modulation techniques, S-CDMA (synchronous code division multiple access) and A-TDMA (advanced frequency agile time division multiple access), which account for the boost in speed.
Rouzbeh Yassini, a consultant to CableLabs and chief executive at YAS Broadband Ventures, said that silicon and product suppliers are already developing necessary automated test execution packages and test equipment that will be used to perform interoperability, certification and qualification of the products.
But analysts point out that Docsis 1.0, which was approved in 1999, has no equipment certified by CableLabs as compliant with the earlier version.
Market research firm Cahners In-Stat said that the number of worldwide cable telephony subscribers is forecasted to rise from 2.8 million at the end of 2002 to more than 15 million by 2005, with the majority of users in western Europe and the US.
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