CableLabs Unveils Dual Channel WiFi on Road to 10G

CableLabs has launched Dual Channel Wi-Fi as a key plank on its roadmap towards 10 Gbps speeds in the home under the banner of 10G, its next generation cable modem technology that has also been dubbed Docsis 4.0.

Dual Channel Wi-Fi is designed to relieve wireless congestion in the home by allocating a secondary channel downstream data. Until now, although virtually all Wi-Fi networks support dual band operation at 2.4GHz and 5GHz, they are not combined into a coherent single pipe capable of boosting data rates substantially beyond the base level.

Dual Channel Wi-Fi is not just about raw speed. Designed by Edgewater Wireless Systems based in Ottawa, Canada, in conjunction with CableLabs, Dual Channel Wi-Fi unlocks unused spectrum to reduce contention and latency, while increasing airtime utilization. Developed for various Access Points APs) and client platforms, including set top boxes, TVs and gaming platforms, Dual Channel Wi-Fi can be implemented wherever traditional single-channel Wi-Fi struggles with contention.

Dual Channel Wi-Fi is just one of various technologies being presented by CableLabs as part of the successor to Docsis 3.1, spanning the whole access network. It also embraces the existing HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coax) infrastructure in various ways, with support for all-fiber networks, as well as the use of Coherent Optics to combine different properties of light waves including phase, amplitude and polarization to increase speeds. Coherent optics has been employed some years in long haul optical networks but is only now becoming available at the access level.

CableLabs’ 10G is not to be confused with emerging 5G cellular networks, even if we suspect there is a deliberate attempt to make it sound twice as good. 10G refers to the target bit rate of 10 Gbps, while 5G means just fifth generation. As it happens, 5G will in theory go to higher speeds than 10 Gbps through use of millimeter wave technology at frequencies around 30 GHz and in theory up to 300 GHz, although that will require line of sight for transmission to work reliably.

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