Comcast tests the first multigigabit cable modem

Whether or not you'll get full use of that bandwidth is another matter.

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Comcast Xfinity truck parked on road in suburban neighborhood, San Ramon, California, October 14, 2020. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Comcast is now considerably closer to making multigigabit cable internet a reality. The company has successfully tested the first 10G modem capable of multigigabit speeds. The Broadcom-built prototype used the full duplex DOCSIS 4.0 standard to provide download and upload bandwidth topping 4Gbps. For context, maintaining that performance would let you download all of Call of Duty: Vanguard's recommended install size for PC (61GB) in just over two minutes.

While this was a lab test, it's still a significant step forward. The company previously reached those speeds using a virtualized system, and in October 2020 was 'only' managing 1.25Gbps with the new DOCSIS technology. The new format is notable for not only improving downstream speeds, but enabling symmetric uploads and reducing lag.

The telecom didn't offer a timeline for when you might see customer-ready DOCSIS 4.0 multigigabit modems. You may have to be content with 2Gbps service for now. However, the larger question is whether or not you'll get to make use of a 4Gbps-plus connection any time soon. You'll need a speedy route across the internet, of course, but there's also the question of Comcast's data caps. While it wouldn't be surprising if Comcast raised or even waived caps for multigigabit users, it might be difficult to take advantage of the larger data pipe if any caps discourage sustained use.

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