When shopping for a modem, it is easy to be confused by the jargon or get caught up in all of the different specs. After all, what is DOCSIS 3.1 and why do we care? Is it really any different than DOCSIS 3.0?
Since BlueGadgetTooth has reviewed the best DOCSIS 3.1 modems, we went to them to get answers. Here’s what we learned.
What is DOCSIS?
To begin with, we are going to look at what DOCSIS itself is. To put it simply, DOCSIS is a protocol within your modem that allows data to be transferred along your cable lines. DOCSIS is only for use with cable internet, so if you do not have cable, this is not the right type of modem for you.
DOCSIS 3.0 vs 3.1
The two types of DOCSIS that you will come across with modems are 3.0 and 3.1. 3.0 has been on the market since 2006. It was introduced to allow modems to bring in more than one internet data stream at a time and increase your bandwidth. With 3.0, the modem must be able to have four channels to handle the increased flow of traffic.
DOCSIS 3.1 was introduced in 2013. It has also had multiple updates since its introduction. This protocol uses new specs to increase the size of the channels so that it can carry larger amounts of data at a time. There has been a DOCSIS 4.0 released, but it really is just a fuller version of DOCSIS 3.1. In fact, it was originally just called DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex and has since been renamed. It is not necessary for home use like 3.0 and 3.1 are.
DOCSIS 3.1 Modem
As you are looking to buy a new cable modem, you should make sure that it is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem, instead of DOCSIS 3.0. The biggest advantage that you can get from DOCSIS 3.1 is that it is future safe. This means that the technology was developed to be flexible, allowing it to still work well, even if new technology and faster internet is introduced.
DOCSIS 3.1 supports internet speeds up to 10 Gbps downstream and 1 Gbps upstream. Internet providers, especially cable providers, cannot even dream of offering those speeds at this point. DOCSIS 3.1 is capable of speeds that are not even available. Buying this type of modem will ensure that you will not need to replace it anytime soon, especially if there are increased available speeds.
Additionally, DOCSIS 3.1 modems come with enhanced security features, reduced packet latency, and reduced power consumption. The packet latency is especially important for online gamers or anyone who needs improved voice quality for VoIP calls. You will also be pleased to find that DOCSIS 3.1 helps out a built-in router, if your modem has one, by increasing the WiFi’s range and boosting the speeds.
Meanwhile, DOCSIS 3.0 is only capable of speeds up to 1000 Mbps. This might do for a household that does not stream heavily, but as more and more devices can stream, having multiple channels available for high speeds is going to be essential.
If you are in the market for a new cable modem, you should stick with a DOCSIS 3.1. They are already much faster than the DOCSIS 3.0 and are still capable of speeds that are higher than any cable company could offer today. Developers have only been updating the DOCSIS 3.1 protocols, not fully replacing them, indicating to us that it will be around for many years yet to come.