nbn have been running a test in Melbourne using the DOCSIS 3.1 networking standard and have achieved download speeds of 984Mbps and around 100Mbps up. This speed was done using a Hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) setup in the lab and may get you excited about future speeds achievable at your house.
When the decision was made to move from a fibre-optic to a mix of technologies, many customers (or potential customers) were concerned to outraged over the connect type restrictions which placed a hardware limitation on the internet speeds possible at their household.
Thanks to new-ish technology that can support the transmission of data on HFC at much higher speeds than the current 100Mbps limitation. While lab tests are never replicated in real-world situations, its safe to say that those who get upgraded to DOCSIS 3.1 at some time in the future (new router required) will be able to achieve speeds in the hundreds of Mbps.
The technology is actually already being used by American ISP Mediacom and many others around the world. Its easy to see why when existing infrastructure investments can be leveraged to achieve faster speeds. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull actually posted a substantial QandA on the technology almost 2 years ago, which you can read here.
As with all technologies, there’s already a better one. Announced last February, Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 has a maximum throughput of 10 Gbit/s, but importantly is symmetrical.
Regardless of the technology, fibre will always beat copper due to the transfer happening at the speed of light. That said, its great to see that users on HFC won’t be destined for 100Mbps forever.
Those on FTTN and Satellite however may not be so lucky.
The first NBN customers connected by DOCSIS 3.1 on HFC is expected to be a some point in 2018.
More information at CRN.com.au