Comcast and Broadcom join forces on new DOCSIS 4.0 chipset

DOCSIS 4.0 is already here, as Comcast this week began deployments in Colorado Springs. The operator is also working with Broadcom to develop a DOCSIS 4.0-compatible chipset with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

Dubbed the “Unified DOCSIS 4.0” chipset, it will be the first to incorporate the full duplex (FDX) and extended spectrum (ESD) DOCSIS 4.0 variants, the companies said, with the ability to run both simultaneously.

Comcast is a proponent of FDX, which involves the simultaneous transmission of data upstream using the same spectrum. ESD – favored by Charter and Cox – increases spectrum to 1.8 GHz while using dedicated chunks of spectrum for upstream and downstream traffic flows.

While Comcast intends to continue using FDX for its own deployments, it said the partnership with Broadcom aims to give cable operators more options as they upgrade their networks.

Some of the chipset’s AI-powered features the companies are touting include improved cybersecurity intrusion detection, more effective customer support and monitoring of IoT home devices as well as real time issue localization.

Comcast and Broadcom expect to begin trials for the chipset in early 2024, with plans to start deploying them in live networks before the end of next year.

“With this new Unified DOCSIS4 chipset from Broadcom, we can broadly deploy transformational AI network capabilities alongside symmetrical multi-gig speeds,” stated Elad Nafshi, chief network officer at Comcast Cable.

Speaking with Fierce last week, Nafshi noted Comcast’s network upgrades are not just focused on speed but also “setting a whole new bar in terms of what reliability is” – figuring out how to improve service in real time.

For Broadcom’s part, Rich Nelson, SVP and general manager of the company’s Broadband Video Group, said the chipset touts the advantages of both FDX and ESD and “will enable economies of scale as well as a common retail modem for the industry.”

Broadcom is also rolling out products that address increasing bandwidth and security demands. The company today announced its new line of single chip routers, Qumran3D, is now on the market.

Among other features, Qumran3D offers Ethernet port rates from 100 Gbps to 800 Gbps and 25.6 terabits per second of routing.