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Comcast Gets Closer To Much Faster Upstream Speeds
Exec Insists Upstream Channel Bonding Nears Viability
by Karl Bode 12:05PM Friday Feb 25 2011
Earlier this week we noted that Comcast was once again shaking up their speed tiers in markets that they've upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0 technology, and that they hope to have their 105 Mbps tier available in half of their markets by mid year. This isn't going to be the last tier shake up; a far more interesting change is just around the corner. As we've been discussing, Comcast has been testing upstream channel bonding for some time, and has seen upstream speeds as high as 75 Mbps in the labs. According to a Comcast engineer, upstream channel bonding should be production ready by the end of March, meaning you should see faster upstream speeds this year:
quote:
Speaking on an opening panel session at Light Reading Cable's event Thursday, Senior Director of Network Architecture Chris Bastian said Comcast has already completed a field trial with one of its cable modem termination system (CMTS) vendors and is on track to complete a second one with a different supplier by the end of March. Comcast isn't disclosing the sites of those trials, but the new capabilities tested in those markets will remain in place and be ready to go if Comcast decides to start marketing speed tiers that take advantage of bonded upstream channels.
Since Comcast wants to keep pace with Verizon's symmetrical and faster upstream FiOS offerings, it seems like it's a matter of when, not if, for these quicker upstream speeds. You probably shouldn't expect other cable operators (like Time Warner Cable) to follow suit on upstream channel bonding until 2012, given most of those companies see minimal FiOS presence in their markets and are only competing against rural phone companies and distance-constrained DSL with sluggish upstream speeds.


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Channel bonding a benefit even if tier speed remains same

Even if speeds aren't increased, there is a measurable benefit to bonded channels. When I switched to a SB6120 Docsis 3 capable cable modem, my 12 mbps download speed became much more consistent. A single download channel getting overloaded at the node stopped being a limiting factor. The 4 bonded channels allowed large file downloads to keep going at that 12 mbps speed without wavering.

And if they add bonded channels on the upstream, users will be able to get that upload speed(even if only 2 mbps) much more consistently.