Cisco working with start-up Broadlogic Network Technologies (investors include Time Warner, Cisco and Intel) has come up with a technology they call Wideband, that can deliver one gigabit per second ethernet speeds over cable networks. The technology, first noted by Dave Burstein, is backward compatible with DOCSIS. This could be a valuable technology for cable operators who will be looking to fight off the fiber attack from the phone companies. BroadLogic President and CEO, Tony Francesca believes that, “WideBand allows cable operators in 2005 to quickly and cost-effectively accelerate past these competitors and restore the speed advantage they held when cable modems were first introduced ten years ago.”
In order to understand WideBand, lets look at the current generation of networks. Today’s cable infrastructure can handle a total of 750 MHz, each sliced into 6 MHz. Eight or so analog channels can suck up nearly 70% of the available bandwidth on a cable network. Each of the channels are used to transmit different types of information – broadcast video, video on demand and data. But as more and more HD content goes on line, t cable operators will need to figure out ways to better utilize this downstream bandwidth. More new applications like multi-room DVRs are coming online and would need more bandwidth. Broadlogic makes chips and has ability to add more oomph to the available spectrum on the cable networks. Cablelabs booth at NCTA has more info on this technology and trials have been conducted with speeds of 80 megabits per second. Korea, Japan, France, and Germany are looking at these type of technologies. Cisco and Broadlogic are working to get the technology rolled in as part of the DOCSIS 3.0.