Comcast Demonstrates 150-Mbps Modem

At the National Cable and Telecommunications Association meeting in Las Vegas, Comcast has unveiled its future weapon against the competition: a modem three times faster than FiOS. The DOCSIS 3.0 technology ties four cable lines together. The cable modem, developed by the Cable Industry's Cable Television Laboratories, could be available in a few years. It reportedly features a broadband download speed of 150 Mbps – in the Las Vegas demo, a 32-volume copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica and Merriam-Webster's visual dictionary were downloaded in less than four minutes. "If you look at what just happened, 55 million words, 100,000 articles, more than 22,000 pictures, maps, and more than 400 video clips. The same download on dial-up would have taken two weeks," said Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts.

News source: InformationWeek

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DOCSIS 3.0 is not new news.
Also, it will take a while (years) for cable companies to change the wiring then deploy it to users.
And FiOS is still not as fast as it can be... since fiber lines can push way more data than copper (not sure how it compare to four copper-cables). Also note that when having FiOS, you still use copper cables in your house (the fiber stays outside).

Here is a nice (old) little article that I found interesting:
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061121-8265.html

In my opinion... fiber is the way to go... hands down.
The only down side... is that fiber does not conduct electricity and is more expensive that copper

Fiber IS the way to go. We (Comcast) already run fiber to the node and have been running fiber to the node for quite a long time. FiOS can boast they run FTTP but even then they still feed the rest through copper. Even then, a standard twisted pair network cable is copper based and still nabs 100mbps.

Here's the deal... You can either take this with a grain of salt or call me out on it but this is what it is:

DOCSIS 3.0 is being utilized for more than just more bandwidth capabilities. There is more to it than meets the eye. Right now Comcast is also working alongside Level 3 to have a 10gbps nationwide backbone to reinforce the high speed data network. However, DOCSIS 3.0 is also a major part to revamp the way that video services are offered. Comcast is working towards a network that will allow for IP video services as well. Other plans include synchronizing channel lineups across the country in different markets to have similar channel numbers with the exception of local carriers. Just think of the bandwidth capabilities when you factor everything in. No one really needs 150mbps for residential internet speed anyway. It is a smart move and a necessary upgrade when you factor in the demand for high definition programming without sacrificing picture quality as well as increasing the amount of content.

Comcast already has a hybrid fiber coaxial network as it is. We run fiber to the node and then work into the home with coaxial. This means we don't need to come into your neighborhood, tear up your streets, sidewalks, and yard landscaping to put in fiber optics to give you what Verizon is doing with FiOS. Expect Comcast to do what it takes to remain competitive and offer a superior product.

In terms of the gripes about speed, you can't place 100% blame on Comcast. When Comcast took over the cable system in my area, they pretty much took over a heaping pile of crap. Poorly integrated plant, bad lines, etc... They have greatly improved the area but yes, there are parts that still need improving. Do you expect a company to be able to offer 100% of what they are capable of offering 100% of the time? Things break, it's inevitable. In my market when things break we have an extremely high rate of resolution within 24 hours or less. Do you think DirecTV can do that? How about Verizon? Most of my dealing with other companies prior to working for Comcast have been a nightmare, but when I switched to Comcast my nightmares turned into good dreams. I have had consistently superior service than I did with other companies.

There are other factors that have to be included in dealing with poor speed. One of them happens to be people using outdated equipment such as a modem that has reached its end of life or doesn't even have the ability to support the higher speed tiers. Or perhaps they are using USB as their data interface which actually bottlenecks bandwidth at around 4mbps max. Perhaps the customers computer is hosed with spyware, malware, and virii from an array of websites. Perhaps they are using a computer still running Windows 98. There are so many variables but all I get from the broadband report forums are "cry boo hiss, comcast sucks" without no real insight to the problem. The problem could be entirely on their end. Day in and day out I talk to people who complain about slow speeds who happen to be behind a poorly configured router, using USB, on a computer that's 4+ years old, on a computer with an array of spyware, or they have wired the home themselves without the intervention of a professional and are receiving poor signal levels that degrade their connection. 95% of the time it's customer proprietary equipment that is responsible for the issues that I fix on a daily basis. If not, we have a technician in their home within 24 hours or the SAME DAY if possible. Oh, we are also required by FCC regulations to respond to an issue within 72 hours, however we are able to pull it off within 24 hours.

So Comcast is really as bad as a lot of complainers make us out to be?

Oh, for what it's worth... I have seen speed up to 30mbps with my service. Comcast likes to do testing with the speed tier customers to test network capabilities. The speed is there. I have seen it and continue to see it on a consistent basis with hardly any slowing.

metro said,
So Comcast is really as bad as a lot of complainers make us out to be? :rolleyes:

As long as they don't throttle the advertised bandwidth for so called "abusers".

Exactly. Its bonding (4) 6Mhz channels to provide the additional bandwidth - each usually at 256 quam or higher. Currently most locations use only one channel frequency for downstream and one for upstream - I'm assuming the four channel bonding is down stream only this is obviously dependant on how much upstream bandwidth is needed. Typically Comcast's downstream channel is in the upper bandwidth (Digital Spectrum) - around 600-800 Mhz. The upstream is in the lower bandwidth (below 60Mhz) as the lower the frequency the less power is needed to get to the same distance. Most docsis modems top out at 58-60 dBmV upstream power - a modem's happy place is 40 to 48 dBmV. The downstream is easier for Comcast (or any cable company) to control. -10 to +10 dBmV is optimal signal behind the modem.

I thought this bonded multiple CHANNELS not lines? DOCSIS 3.0 specs say you can use multiple channels for more bandwidth, right now comcast uses channels in the 80's range i think? for cable modem one channel up one down... i thought this allowed for up to 4 channels (say 81-83) to be bonded for down and (say 85-89) for up (gap between them for RF noise..)

neufuse said,
I thought this bonded multiple CHANNELS not lines? DOCSIS 3.0 specs say you can use multiple channels for more bandwidth, right now comcast uses channels in the 80's range i think? for cable modem one channel up one down... i thought this allowed for up to 4 channels (say 81-83) to be bonded for down and (say 85-89) for up (gap between them for RF noise..)

Yes you are right. ITs channel bonding not line bonding. the article is wrong

when will comcast ever do this? never.. they still havent maxed out DOCSIS 2.0 specs... heck they havent even implemented it... still on DOCSIS1.1 basically

and at that speed, everyone will reach the "invisible" "no one will tell you what it is" "only 0.01% of the users go above 10GB a month" kick you off for a year bandwidth cap even faster..

And that is my point, why all this talk about DOCSIS 3.0 when they have so many issues getting DOCSIS 1.1 and DOCSIS 2.0 (which they will never do, they are going to go straight to DOCSIS 3.0 based stuff) out there to the customer?

To bad Comcrap has enough trouble getting 8 Mb to all its customers, let alone this "Powerboost" and "Uploadboost" crap they are pulling now. Sheesh.

If and when Comcast can give users anything remotely near what FIOS or other providers offer, then I'll be impressed.

LOC said,
To bad Comcrap has enough trouble getting 8 Mb to all its customers, let alone this "Powerboost" and "Uploadboost" crap they are pulling now. Sheesh.

If and when Comcast can give users anything remotely near what FIOS or other providers offer, then I'll be impressed.

Boohoo. I'm only getting 6mbit out of my 8mbit line, I'm going to cry a river!

There are very few providers who can provide a consistant 8mbit transfer rate to all of their customers. The average stable transmission rate is around 4mbit, and a lot of companies only offer around 2mbit.

You never have, and never will get the exact speed you're promised! This is even in their terms. Don't cry unless you have a legitimate reason to. And "I'm paying for 8mbit" isn't a legitimate reason to cry when they clearly state you may not get the advertised speed.

LOC said,
To bad Comcrap has enough trouble getting 8 Mb to all its customers, let alone this "Powerboost" and "Uploadboost" crap they are pulling now. Sheesh.

If and when Comcast can give users anything remotely near what FIOS or other providers offer, then I'll be impressed.


hahahahahaha i feel sorry for yall. out here in Oakland, at three different residences, i have been getting a consistent 24Mb/s on my "ComCrap" line.

Mistwaver said,
you may not get the advertised speed.

So don't advertise a speed you can't provide. Quite simple really.

Uh, I think you misunderstood my point.

Comcast is the largest broadband provider in the US, right?

They offer a 8 meg and a 6 meg tier (and another tier with higher upload, but same 6 mb down) right? My point is, there are still plenty of places in the US currently served by Comcast that CANNOT get the 8 or 6 meg tier because Comcast can't "fix" issues, or get contracts done, or whatever the reason is. Then there are those who do pay for, and get the 8 or 6 meg tiers, but get 4 or 2 meg service. That's a big issue, one Comcast must work on before they do anything else.

I'm quite well aware that while my line may be rated for 8 megs down (16 megs with powerboost for 20 secs or whatever) and 768 up (up to 1.5 megs up for however long with uploadboost) I usually won't see those speeds from most servers. I'm perfectly fine with that. My Comcast service has for the most part been wonderful for years now. But, if they are ever EVER going to truly compete with FIOS, or other cable providers that offer 16/2 tiers, or 16/5 or 32/10 or 50/5 (OOL does these I believe) they HAVE to get all their customers on the same page. You can't have the Eastern part of the US all on 8 megs, but the Mid-west still only gets 4 or 2 megs.

Now you know what I mean? I kinda rambled, and I think I confused myself lol but you should get the point.

Nose Nuggets said,


hahahahahaha i feel sorry for yall. out here in Oakland, at three different residences, i have been getting a consistent 24Mb/s on my "ComCrap" line.

Yes and I'm getting a constant 12 megs or more on my line since it was "Blasted" last month (Blast is this new permanent increase they are talking about country wide) But again, my point is not EVERYONE that has Comcast sees the stated speeds. I do, I know people who don't however. So please don't misunderstand me, I am not complaining about Comcast per se, just the way they have been handling things. The new "invisible" cap system, the constant packet loss issues across much of the country, etc. General stuff.

And Slimy is right also, why advertise 8 megs, when they can only shuffle you to 4 megs? Go to dslreports.com and go to the comcast forums, check out all the complaints there

I'm getting a download rate of 1.2 Mbps on my Comcrap... How odd you say they can't get those 8 Megs to work? Powerboost worked on my modem as soon as I turned off and turned back on...

LOC said,

Yes and I'm getting a constant 12 megs or more on my line since it was "Blasted" last month (Blast is this new permanent increase they are talking about country wide) But again, my point is not EVERYONE that has Comcast sees the stated speeds. I do, I know people who don't however. So please don't misunderstand me, I am not complaining about Comcast per se, just the way they have been handling things. The new "invisible" cap system, the constant packet loss issues across much of the country, etc. General stuff.

And Slimy is right also, why advertise 8 megs, when they can only shuffle you to 4 megs? Go to dslreports.com and go to the comcast forums, check out all the complaints there :|

thats all good and well, and i support your views to an extent. but to say a company should not be trying to advance, and create newer technology because their current stuff is not 100% is silly. as soon as a company stops trying to excel and grow it dies. plus, the guys who put this together are probably a completely independent group from the ones "responsible" for service related issues around the country. its not as though comcast is alloting some 80% of itd company resources to promote and develop this new 150Mb/s modem. its one innovation from what is probably a fairly small but adequate R&D team.

dont take this the wrong way. im not really defending comcast as i have also been subject to ridiculous service issues. like 4 months where i had 600ms latency to anything past Eureka, CA. or how about the 6 service techs it took to figure out there was no internet booster module on the TAP box down the street. i just like playing the devils advocate.

just fyi- im on their advertised 6mb service. to say the least, i have not found a legitimate reason to upgrade to the 8 being that i curently get a consistant 24.

Mistwaver said,

Boohoo. I'm only getting 6mbit out of my 8mbit line, I'm going to cry a river!

There are very few providers who can provide a consistant 8mbit transfer rate to all of their customers. The average stable transmission rate is around 4mbit, and a lot of companies only offer around 2mbit.

You never have, and never will get the exact speed you're promised! This is even in their terms. Don't cry unless you have a legitimate reason to. And "I'm paying for 8mbit" isn't a legitimate reason to cry when they clearly state you may not get the advertised speed.


Then they should not charge for the higher bandwidth if they can't provide it. If someone pays for a certain service then they should get the service they paid for. Not something else.

Jazket said,
I'm getting a download rate of 1.2 Mbps on my Comcrap... How odd you say they can't get those 8 Megs to work? Powerboost worked on my modem as soon as I turned off and turned back on...

I'm very glad its working for you right off the bat. Meanwhile there are plenty of people where it isn't working, where it isn't available yet, or its just plain slower than normal. As I said, go to dslreports.com and check out the Comcast forums, look and read some of the threads there.

LOC said,

I'm very glad its working for you right off the bat. Meanwhile there are plenty of people where it isn't working, where it isn't available yet, or its just plain slower than normal. As I said, go to dslreports.com and check out the Comcast forums, look and read some of the threads there.

Why not recommend that he also check out all of the other provider forums as well?

They all have issues.

It's a shame you work on a forum and have no idea how they work. The majority of posts you see are people complaining everywhere you go.

No one signs up for a help forum just to say, "It works."


Thanks for showing us how unenlightened you are about the real world :)

It's also funny that I get the full speed out of mine and have even had downloads max out at almost 3MBps.

Yes 3MBps, not 3Mbps.

Also note that they advertise internet speeds at up to that speed, not at that speed.

For instance Comcast Gold Tier with speeds UP TO 8Mbps.

Same as with 56k connections and older.

With speeds UP TO 56k, but that was never a physical possibility with 56k modems due to the way POTS works.

Now that's a lie, that's it everyone, strike up the band and form a protest against all major Dial-Up ISPs. Also might as well boycott every company that makes modems.

Damn those liars & their claiming we could get 56k when it's not physically possible. How dare they.

Slimy said,

So don't advertise a speed you can't provide. Quite simple really.

The speed advertised is their max capacity. It varies from area to area. Anyone technology savvy knows this. They have no way of guaranteeing what speed you will get. All they can tel lyou is "Our services maxes out at 3.5mbit, however you may not get that speed".

Same principle with DSL, except with DSL the PPPoE overhead plays a big factor in the speed. It's basically like trying to predict the weather. You can't do it because Mother Nature is going to do what she wants, and when she wants to do it.

MrCobra said,

Then they should not charge for the higher bandwidth if they can't provide it. If someone pays for a certain service then they should get the service they paid for. Not something else.

As much as I agree with you, it's not that simple. They have a set price managed by marketing, and a speed to go along with that price. It's like a Meterologist trying to predict the weather. They simply can't nail it on the head 100% of the time.

Almost every broadband provider has several speed packages. If you're subscribed to a 8mbit account and you're only getting 4mb, and they have a 4mb plan, then downgrade to that 4mbit package and you get what you pay for! It's a very simple concept. It's like buying one type of RAM over another. It's your decision what to get. The point here is, you, the customer, is aware that you may not get what is advertised to you.

Maybe in 10 years they will be able to nail it, but technology isn't where it needs to be for that to happen.

I can't believe someone would choose not to get something because it doesn't look cool. :rolleyes:

The DOCSIS 3.0 technology ties four cable lines together.


Either way, I wouldn't get it because of the price and the quality (or lack of) of their services.