back to article CableLabs, Cisco working on LTE-over-DOCSIS

Cisco and CableLabs have put their heads together in the hope they can convince mobile network operators that with a bit of unicorn-dust, DOCSIS networks can support the LTE small-cell rollout. Switchzilla's John Chapman blogs that “When small cells are deployed deep into the mobile network, DOCSIS will already be there. …

  1. Christian Berger

    So essentially...

    ... they are trying to not only put their subscribers, but also base stations on the already crowded DOCSIS loops made out of crumbling 30-40 year old coaxial cables?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: So essentially...

      Not really. If you look at bigger firms like Combat and Cox, you find their infrastructure is pretty much FTTC, with coax only covering the last mile which is easier to keep up. All these microstations need to do is break out of the existing cabinets.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: So essentially...

      crumbling 30-40 year old coaxial cables?

      Are the stuff of the legend. They exist only from the cabinet to the house in a modern cable deployment. The cabinet became fiber connected 10+ years ago. Cable IS practically FTTC and nowdays have a FTTH option as well.

      1. jimdandy

        Re: So essentially...

        Well, that may be true in YOUR neighborhood, but my mid-1980's development has been by-passed by the Fiber-to-Any-Fucking-Place program of ATT (aka we'll do what we want, and you don't get any). Oh, the new Dev up the hill built in the mid 2000's has got fiber; but ATT had to drive right past my neighborhood to install it.

        I'm still stuck with DSL, and no options that "guarantee" any faster service. Unless you think that Charter is a real option. As for that, just ask their current customers.

        All the Big Boys want to do now is hang a bunch of WiFi repeaters on the nearest available free-access utility pole. And then charge you for a WiFi box that will hook you up. And then promise you mega-giga-service; something that you will share with all your neighbors.

        I guess I'm lucky; we ain't got no poles in this neighborhood. That means that no matter how bad and slow (1.3 up and .33 down) my DSL is, it is still mine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So essentially...

          AT&T is your telco, who is the cable provider where you live?

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: So essentially...

            I think he mentioned Charter Communications. I believe they're too small to count as one of those big boys.

            1. HereIAmJH

              Re: So essentially...

              Charter has merged with Time Warner Cable. So size isn't the issue. The problem is quality of service. I haven't worked with a cable company yet that has the culture to provide carrier grade service. I have TWC and Google fiber, and I wouldn't trust either with phone service if I didn't have a cell phone. I don't trust the service to work in an emergency. And you want me to rely on LTE on DOCSIS when cell carriers are pushing VoLTE so they can retire the older protocols?

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: So essentially...

                Then you should re-evaluate yourself. I've had telephone with Cox Communications for over a decade, and it's been as reliable as any telephone provider I've had in the past. And that includes two hurricanes, several tropical storms, and multiple lengthy blackouts. Phone line hasn't cut out more than a couple hours during the worst of them (when physically severed lines can easily be to blame). Meanwhile, cell phone towers are much more prone to power failures during disaster conditions. I've had my cell network cut out more often than the landline during blackouts.

                PS. Look at the last three letters of VoLTE. VoLTE needs LTE to work, so LTE on DOCSIS is germane to this discussion.

                PSS. You may want to give Charter a little time. They only merged with TWC last year and have a lot of old infrastructure to catch up with.

                1. HereIAmJH

                  Re: So essentially...

                  I have been a Time Warner customer for over 20 years, and service hasn't improved since the merger with Charter. Although prices have gone up. Currently I'm having trouble with my modem receiving too many errors from the network and rebooting. I replaced the modem with an different brand and upgraded, and the problem persists. Too many errors and the modem reboots daily between 11am and noon. Which disconnects my VPN, breaks all my sessions, and drops me out of conference calls. OTOH, the last time I have lost cell service (other than leaving the service area) was over a decade ago when T-Mobile(Voicestream) lost power to one of their towers after a tornado. On top of that, I have to power the premise equipment for cable so if the power it out for more than 2 hours I'd have to hook up a generator to make a DOCSIS/LTE call. Where cable companies I have dealt with have always failed (Time Warner, Spectrum, Comcast) is their insistence that it is ALWAYS the customer's fault until you can prove otherwise. Google Fiber being the exception.

                  And yes, I'm very much aware that the LTE is a requirement for VoLTE. LTE isn't the problem, cable network reliability is. And last I checked, only cable providers used DOCSIS.

          2. Christian Berger

            Re: So essentially...

            Kabel Deutschland... much of their equipment still is from the 1980s... as evident from captions when something goes wrong still saying "Deutsche Bundespost".

  2. patrickstar

    Uhm, powering a cellular base station over the cable network, as the article seems to imply, would be pretty much impossible. It simply can't carry a lot of current.

    However, cable gear (amplifiers and such) will obviously already have a power feed - maybe that's what they are referring to.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      It is. Most major cable providers like Comcast and Cox have been upgrading their networks to be mostly fiber-based as a way to make their trunk infrastructure future-resistant.

      In such setups, there are local breakouts every so often that are hooked to power lines. The breakouts convert the fiber feeds to coax for the last mile and feed it the necessary power. With such a setup, it wouldn't be much of a stretch for a microstation to take up a lead from the cabinet, bum a little power, and go from there.

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