A cable modem hits hyper speed

Comcast demos "channel bonding" technology that enables download speed about 25 times faster than those of current cable modems.

Richard Defendorf Staff Writer

Cable industry executives on Wednesday showed off a superfast cable-modem technology called "channel bonding," and wowed the crowd at The Cable Show convention in Las Vegas.

According to an Associated Press report on the demonstration, the CEO of communications technology specialist ARRIS Group, Robert Stanzione, downloaded a 30-second, 300-megabyte television commercial in a few seconds and watched it well before a standard modem worked through a download time of about 16 minutes.

Known as DOCSIS 3.0 among the engineers at Cable Television Laboratories, the cable industry's research arm, the technology can offer download speeds as quick as 150 megabits per second. That's about 25 times faster than speeds of current cable modems--swift enough to download all 32 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica and Merriam-Webster's Visual Dictionary in less than four minutes. The same material would take more than three hours to download on a standard modem (and about two weeks on dial-up), Comcast CEO Brian Roberts noted in the article.

Just as significant, the technology could give pause to broadband customers thinking of switching from cable service to, say, Verizon's Fios service, which is based on a fiber-optic network linked directly to the customer's home. Verizon touts speeds of 30mbps for Fios, although the company says connection speeds can reach 50mbps.

These are very quick connections. Of course, you have to ask yourself if you'd buy service that speedy because you really need it, or just so you can brag about it.