The Story of DOCSIS: Made for Today's Businesses

Written by Kristi Salmon on January 9, 2018.

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As the digital world continues to expand, so does the demand to connect, whether that’s to devices or each other. For cable providers, DOCSIS technology has become a solution that not only meets the demands of businesses today but is built for the requirements we know tomorrow will bring.

What is DOCSIS?

DOCSIS is the acronym for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. Businesses receive their broadband connection via cable modems. It’s a technology investment that takes connectivity well beyond what phone companies have been traditionally providing businesses. And while DOCSIS may seem like a foreign term in the business world, it’s important to understand the technology behind the broadband path you choose for your business. Different iterations and standards of DOCSIS have been configured as the technology evolves; DOCSIS 3.1 is the latest on the horizon, where the speed capability able to be achieved will be revolutionary to what businesses have been used to from cable providers.

DOCSIS Speed Table





38 Mbps

9 Mbps


38 Mbps

27 Mbps


152 Mbps

108 Mbps


10,000 Mbps

1,000 Mbps


For small to medium sized businesses, when looking at DOCSIS vs. DSL technology, there are important differences to point out. DSL transmits data but is based on technology developed for voice, while high-speed internet delivered by cable companies was specifically developed to transmit data.  And the key areas where the differences are evident include the following:  Speed.  DOCSIS speeds have not only been able to deliver the 50 Mbps benchmark of DSL but have gone far beyond it. And with DOCSIS 3.1, Gigabit speeds will be the standard of capacity. Distance. By running a data connection over that which carries a voice call, does not fare as well.  If businesses are located more than a few miles from the phone company’s central office, performance will start to degrade.  So while the technology is good for calling a client – it may not work so well for sending them large files or sharing cloud-based data.  Consistency.  The truest indicator of this factor is when internet traffic is at its peak and the stress on the network is at its highest. The FCC frequently tests this by way of speeds advertised and speeds delivered.  In a 2015 study, the FCC noted “some DSL broadband ISPs’ actual download speed falls substantially short of their advertised download speed; the gap between their consistent download speed and advertised download speed is even greater.” Availability. The distance limitations of DSL mean that for a large percentage of a phone company’s footprint, the service will not be available, especially so in rural areas. Since high-speed cable Internet doesn’t degrade over distance, and runs over the same infrastructure that brings cable TV to both densely and sparsely populated areas, it is available to a far wider customer base; especially through the investment Mediacom Business has made in its rural 22-state footprint.   

How DOCSIS and Gigabit Work Together

Few internet providers outside of Mediacom Business can deliver the high-capacity speeds of Gigabit and beyond, simply put because this technology is not readily available in rural areas.  The network infrastructure Mediacom Business has made in these areas was a proprietary investment having the foresight of where technology could take businesses.  And now with DOCSIS, cable providers are on the cusp of offering these same speeds quickly and easily, with a nearly 100x increase in the average data rate.  The current version of DOCSIS is 25% more efficient than earlier versions. This makes DOCSIS a good fit for businesses who need the ability to host clear video streaming, video conferencing, VoIP and other business applications without delays and drops.

For our customers in rural communities, not only does this technology provide businesses with access to high speed internet, but it also means that they are able to connect faster and easier, as DOCSIS 3.1 over HFC hopes to go upwards of 100 Gbps in the future. Plus it allows these businesses to compete on a national or global level because they have the broadband needed to create a competitive edge.



DOCSIS 3.1 Enables Rapid Deployment of Gigabit Broadband
Cox, Mediacom Plot Broadband Speed Increases, as DOCSIS 3.1 Rebranded as Gigasphere
FCC 2015 Measuring Broadband America. Fixed Broadband Report.