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How good is DOCSIS 3.1 

For example, some more rural settings may not have the higher capabilities that you will find in larger urban areas, making 3.0 models still relevant for now. 

router on table

Internet users are continuously looking for the best speeds and capabilities for their locations. The decision to upgrade hardware can be costly, but it may be worthwhile in the end. 

So how good is the DOCSIS 3.1 modem, and will it provide the features you want and need for your online activities? In this guide, we look at the benefits of switching to the DOCSIS 3.1 model and some disadvantages. 

This way, you can make an informed decision on the best piece of hardware for your online needs. 

Defining DOCSIS Modems

DOCSIS modems are a vital piece of equipment from cable internet service providers (ISPs) that use coaxial cables to deliver the appropriate bandwidth speeds. DOCSIS, or Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, is a standard protocol for providing internet services from cable companies. 

These elements determine how your modem receives transmitted information from your internet service provider and converts them to relevant data. This information can be from online gaming programs, streaming television shows, or web browsing. 

Technology continues to advance, and the DOCSIS standards evolve to keep up with the demand for higher speeds and more data transmission. This table shows the progression of DOCSIS modems through the years.

  • DOCSIS 1.0: This standard was the initial benchmark specification that became available in 1996.
  • DOCSIS 1.1: In 1999, the standards increased to include voice over IP services, online streaming, and gaming capabilities. 
  • DOCSIS 2.0: Higher upstream capacities became available in 2001 with this advancement to 2.0. 
  • DOCSIS 3.0: Both upstreaming and downloading capabilities significantly increased with the introduction of channel bonding, and better IPv6 identification, with the introduction of 3.0 in 2006. 
  • DOCSIS 3.1: This advancement includes introducing OFDM for voice and data signals simultaneously, and the average upstreaming and downstreaming features are increased ten-fold in 2013 with 3.1 standards. 

The Differences Between the DOCSIS 3.0 vs DOCSIS 3.1

speedefy router
Image: Alex Gatewood / KnowTechie

The DOCSIS 3.1 will do everything older DOCSIS 3.0 versions can do, only better. But you may not need to upgrade just yet, as it will depend on your specific internet usage wants and needs. These elements will differ between the two standards: 

  • Speed
  • Cost 
  • Security
  • Relevancy 

Speed 

Downloading speed is often the first element that internet users consider when choosing a modem. 

3.0

The 3.0 modems have a maximum download speed of 1Gbps, and a maximum upload speed is 100 Mbps. This capacity is sufficient for web browsing, streaming movies, and other functions like email and social media. 

3.1

However, the 3.1 offers an impressive 10 Gbps download speed, 10x more than the previous standard. Additionally, it has a faster maximum upload speed measuring 100 Mbps. Therefore, this model can be beneficial when you have a high-speed internet plan to reach more capabilities.

Faster download speeds and upload rates can also affect your broadband performance. Even while using a lower gigabyte plan, you may find a smoother and more reliable performance with a high-speed modem like the 3.1.

Alternatively, some cable companies offer 3.1 modems to their customers to help boost broadband performance.

Cost 

The next vital aspect when deciding between 3.0 and 3.1 is cost. Purchasing a modem is easy, whether from a local company or your broadband provider. 

3.0

Purchasing a DOCSIS 3.0 modem is significantly less than the alternative. However, if you want to save even more, you can also find used or refurbished models for a fraction of their original price. These modems are also less expensive to repair if required, and parts are easier to locate. 

3.1

A DOCSIS 3.1 modem can be almost twice the cost of the previous version. However, some cable providers offer 3.1 modems with their service plans. The unit’s cost is absorbed into your monthly bill, making it a little easier on your wallet.

This way, your cable provider is also often responsible for any repairs or maintenance, as long as an issue is not the result of negligence.

Security 

speedefy router
Image: KnowTechie

Internet security is a priority for everyone online. Hackers are prevalent and are always looking for an easy way to get into a network for illicit purposes. Security technology has advanced significantly in the seven years between the release of the DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 modems.

3.0

Hacking techniques also evolve with changes in technology, always trying to stay one step ahead. 

For example, although the 3.0 standard modem has regularly received security updates since its release in 2006, it does not contain the latest technology. As a result, users may require additional security software to keep their information safe from online threats. 

3.1

DOCSIS 3.1 uses WPA3 to provide stronger internet protection with advanced encryption techniques. Additionally, you can increase online security with a newer WPA3-compatible modem and router combo. 

Relevance

High-speed internet is becoming more common in homes, to the point where more individuals have it than not. However, this service can vary when comparing urban and rural areas. 

Some cable providers have speeds of 500Gbps and higher. Every six months, the FCC releases data on the percentage of U.S. consumers using high-speed internet, and the number is steadily growing.

These numbers can indicate DOCSIS 3.0 is becoming outdated, but not yet. Many budget-friendly broadband providers offer lower gigabyte speeds where 3.0 modems will be sufficient. For some consumers, it’s enough to meet their online needs. 

For example, some more rural settings may not have the higher capabilities that you will find in larger urban areas, making 3.0 models still relevant for now. 

In Conclusion 

How good is DOCSIS 3.1? Naturally, it is a step up from the previous version, 3.0. It provides faster broadband speed and higher gigabyte capabilities. In addition, the online security features are better and support high-speed broadband effectively.

DOCSIS 3.1 is how the future is going, but the 3.0 modem is still functional and suitable for many homes, especially those without broadband capabilities.

Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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