Home internet users have had a lot of technology to keep up with. The decision between internet service providers and their technology differences alone is enough to confuse the less technology savvy. When given the choice, most choose cable connections over DSL or satellite. This is often because cable internet speed is known for being faster and more reliable than DSL. This is in large part due to the larger throughput bandwidth cable connections can offer.
Yet, even having chosen to go with a cable ISP, there are still decisions to make regarding hardware. The two key hardware components to any solid home network are a dual-band router and a modem. In the case of cable connections, this means deciding between Docsis cable modems. In some locations, the ISP will dictate which moderns are have ISP compatibility. The good news is that Docsis 3.1 will usually work with Docsis 3.0 connections. This means buying a Docsis 3.1 cable modem is just good future-proofing in the case that your ISP decides to upgrade.
Docsis 3.0 vs Docsis 3.1: 8 Must Know Facts
- Docsis 3.1 has ten times faster download speeds than 3.0 and twenty times faster upload speeds.
- Docsis 3.1 was created with the intention of increasing the efficiency of data transmission over smaller pathways.
- Docsis 3.1 is compatible with 3.0 cable ISPs unless otherwise stated by the ISP.
- 3.1 is a requirement to enjoy full gigabit internet speeds.
- 3.1 cable modems often also feature increase security protocols over 3.0 cable modems. This is due in part to the 3.1 technology, but mostly due to extra development time.
- 3.1 cable modems are more expensive than their 3.0 counterparts.
- 3.1 cable modems include WPA3, an advanced security protocol for routing
- Even with Docsis 4.0 on the horizon, Docsis 3.1 is still considered future proof due to ISP companies being unable to achieve speeds that 3.1 is capable of.
Docsis 3.0 vs Docsis 3.1: Summary
For those who have Docsis 3.1 ISP compatibility, there is a definite performance advantage that you will experience. In short, 3.1 is ten times faster than 3.0. When Docsis 3.0 was created, the focus was on creating a larger throughput bandwidth by increasing the number of pathways in the cable. Docsis 3.1 then leverages this larger throughput by allowing for more efficient use of smaller paths. This, in turn, allows for 3.1 to take advantage of the larger cables provided by the 3.0 cable lines for even greater performance. 3.1 connections enjoy faster speed and more throughput on the upstream channel and the downstream channel.
Alongside the increased speed performance, Docsis 3.1 cable modems all offer increased security protocols that often work in tandem with services provided by your ISP. This first line of security combined with security applications provided by the router you choose for your home network is what makes up the majority of your home network security. This means Docsis 3.1 allows for a faster, more enjoyable, and safer relationship with the internet.
Docsis 3.0 vs Docsis 3.1 Side by Side Comparison
|Docsis 3.0||Docsis 3.1|
|What it is||Cable Modem design specification||Cable modem design specification|
|Primary use||Design specifications for cable modem connections||Design specifications for cable modem connections|
|Name||data over cable service interface specifications 3.0||data over cable service interface specifications 3.1|
|Technical committee||Cable Labs||Cable Labs|
|Influential developers||BigBand Networks, Broadcom, Cisco, Comcast, Conexant, Correlant, Cox, Harmonic, Hitron Technologies, Intel, Motorola, Netgear, Technicolor, Terayon, Time Warner Cable, and Texas Instruments||BigBand Networks, Broadcom, Cisco, Comcast, Conexant, Correlant, Cox, Harmonic, Hitron Technologies, Intel, Motorola, Netgear, Technicolor, Terayon, Time Warner Cable, and Texas Instruments|
|Technologies influenced||internet, cable modems, routers||internet, cable modems, routers|
What is Docsis?
Docsis is an acronym that has been around long enough to have become a word. It stands for “data over cable service interface specifications”. It is the standard interface used by cable internet service providers that determine the technical method for how a modem receives signals from cable ISPs, such as Mediacom, Spectrum, Xfinity, Cox, and Optimum, and translates them into usable internet service for web surfing and streaming.
Modern modems are usually either a Docsis 3.0 or 3.1, soon to be Docsis 4.0. The 3.0 and 3.1 variants are improvements to the past iterations of Docsis systems. 3.0 introduced a larger amount of connections and pathways to increase overall bandwidth. This was widely successful when compared to its predecessors. 3.1 was developed to help take advantage of the larger bandwidth by increasing the efficiency of each pathway. The improvements brought by 3.1 allow for ten times the downstream channel speed of 3.0.
Luckily, Docsis 3.1 cable modems almost always have open ISP compatibility. So even if your ISP doesn’t offer gigabit speeds, your modem will be ready for when they do.
- Max Upstream Channel Speed — 100 Mbps
- Max Downstream Channel Speed — 1 Gbps
- Max Upstream Channel Speed — 2 Gbps
- Max Downstream Channel Speed — 10 Gbps
These two technologies are not competing but rather related. 3.1 is the improved iteration of 3.0. The two coexist in the market due to cable ISPs’ slow speed in adopting new cable infrastructure. While Docsis 3.0 is slowly making its way out of the picture, 3.1 is likely to be around for quite a while longer.
The Price Difference
Docsis 3.1 comes at a price. The most expensive DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems are priced at around $150. This is reasonable considering the average Docsis 3.0 cable modem in use is priced near $70-$80. Docsis 3.1 cable modems start at around $150 and can reach up to $300. The improvements of 3.1 over 3.0 are vast and manufacturers are well aware of this. While the price may persuade some to opt for a lower-priced 3.0, keep in mind that 3.1 cable modems will keep up with internet speeds for years to come and provide better security protocols for your online activity immediately.