The Capacity Rainmaker that is DOCSIS 3.1 may serendipitously align with the Connectivity Rainmaker that is RDK-B -- a pretty useful combination

We will assume that by now you’re reasonably familiar with the latest in the broadband/cable modem specification, DOCSIS 3.1 (where “DOCSIS” stands for “Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification,” and is this industry’s poster child of nerdy acronyms.) 

People who follow such things consider DOCSIS 3.1 to be as big a deal as the original DOCSIS specification, 20+ years ago. That’s because it promises to essentially double broadband capacity on cable infrastructure, in the forward (toward homes) and reverse (away from homes) directions. 

Status: Cable modems and “CMTS” (cable modem termination system, or, the “other end”) gear based on D3.1 are starting to ramp up, globally. In large part, this is a chip thing, with Broadcom and Intel as the primaries.

Which brings us to RDK-B, where the “B” stands for “broadband.” Background: “RDK” stands for “Reference Design Kit,” and is the foundational stuff of Comcast’s X1, Liberty Global’s Horizon, and a growing list of gorgeous UIs rolling out in Europe and Latin America. 

Because its video emphasis came first, most people know RDK for its role in making video/TV navigation crisp and attractive -- and for vastly increasing time-to-market for new, video-facing features. And, because there’s now an RDK-B, broadband, the original is now generally referred to as “RDK-V,” video.

RDK-B is happening in parallel with DOCSIS 3.1. Both represent “code blobs that get spun into chips,” so, they’re already silicon bedfellows. Fun fact: Intel is sourcing RDK-B as its primary routing stack for all going-forward modems, routers, and gateways -- industrial and retail.

If D3.1 brings speed and throughput sizzle, RDK-B brings a toolbox of things aimed at making your WiFi and connected life better. On the surface, RDK-B is decidedly less sexy than its RDK-V counterpart. Think about it: Does your cable modem, WiFi router or connectivity gateway even have a way to show you a navigational experience, gorgeous or otherwise? 
This whole category of equipment is built to be a spigot. Bandwidth spigots intended to connect devices to Internet and cloud. Think of all the things you don’t like about your WiFi life, especially at home. RDK-B is solving for that, as well as lots of other things; see Trend #7.​