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Is Spectrum Getting Symmetrical Speeds?
Spectrum Internet is a predominantly cable internet service provider, which has long limited speed capabilities. But with the advent of new technology, speeds are going to be getting a big upgrade, and soon.
Table of Contents
- What Is Symmetrical Internet?
- Spectrum Internet Symmetrical Plans
- Symmetrical Spectrum Internet Timeline
- What Is DOCSIS 4.0?
- Current Spectrum Internet Plans
Spectrum Internet is currently rolling out symmetrical speed plans to limited markets across the United States. Eventually, a majority of Spectrum Internet’s service footprint is expected to have access to symmetrical plans thanks to upgrades that are being made to Spectrum’s existing cable infrastructure. These symmetrical plans will compete directly with fiber internet providers and will give customers a superior internet service that makes use of the latest DOCSIS technology.
What Is Symmetrical Internet?
Symmetrical internet refers to an internet plan in which the download speed and upload speed are equal. Typically, symmetrical internet is associated with fiber internet, as fiber internet uses optical wires, or fibers, to transmit data via refracted light signals.
Optical fibers are incredibly strong, reliable and futureproof, providing download and upload speeds up to 8,000-10,000 Mbps where available.
Cable internet has never previously offered symmetrical plans because the infrastructure and technology to provide them was lacking. Simply put, cable infrastructure is outdated compared to fiber infrastructure and would require major overhauls to be able to properly compete.
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Spectrum Internet Symmetrical Plans
Spectrum is one of the most well-known cable internet providers in the United States, with availability in over 40 states. Spectrum customers typically can expect asymmetrical speeds up to about 940 Mbps, with the upload speed always being significantly slower than the download speed.
However, thanks to recent developments in internet technology, specifically the implementation of high-split architecture, Spectrum is now rolling out faster plans than ever before across a few markets. In fact, this is just the beginning of major reconstructions for the provider, as Spectrum is expected to continue overhauling its cable network through 2025.
Spectrum has recently begun upgrading its existing cable infrastructure in limited markets in the United States.
The provider has been rather secretive about the development, but Spectrum customers in these test markets — including Reno, NV and Rochester, MN —have been more than willing to share these new symmetrical Spectrum plans online.
Symmetrical Spectrum Internet Timeline
Spectrum Internet is in the process of upgrading its cable network, which will see the provider continuing to modernize its infrastructure through the next couple years.
According to FierceTelecom, Charter’s president of Product and Technology, Rich DiGeronimo, revealed to Spectrum investors that this infrastructure upgrade would take place through three stages of development, and last until the end of 2025.
These three phases coincide nicely with 2023, 2024, and 2025, and are summarized in the table below.
|Symmetrical speeds are rolled out in test markets thanks to high-split implementation; serviced markets include Reno, NV, Rochester, MN. Speed capabilities expected to reach 2,000 Mbps.
|High-split upgrades will continue with DAA (distributed access architecture) using Remote PHY. This will cover 50% of service footprint and allow download speeds to reach 5,000 Mbps.
|Spectrum DOCSIS 4.0 to be deployed to remaining 35% of footprint which will enable download speeds up to 10 Gbps, with 85% of footprint having access to 5,000/1,000 Mbps speeds by end of year.
What Is DOCSIS 4.0?
As mentioned above, Spectrum DOCSIS 4.0 technology is planned to be deployed through 2025, which will allow Spectrum to offer superfast internet plans of up to 10,000 Mbps download speed (10 Gbps) and 6,000 Mbps upload speed (6 Gbps) to customers in enabled areas.
DOCSIS, or Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, is a standard that allows internet data to be transferred over cable lines. This international standard allows internet data to be sent over existing coaxial cable lines that already traverse the country. Without DOCSIS, there would be no cable internet service.
Also, the cost of upgrading the existing cable technology is minimal compared to fiber internet setup costs, meaning that Spectrum customers in these areas should be able to sign up for upgraded service at low promotional prices.
All around, this is a major win for customers, for the provider, and for the future of internet technology.
What’s Available Right Now?
Right now, most major cable internet providers, including Spectrum, offer a DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 modem, with 3.1 representing the best cable connection available.
DOCSIS 3.1 modems can support speeds up to about 10 Gbps download speeds, but just 1 Gbp of upload speed, meaning upload speeds are still lagging behind, especially behind fiber internet providers that are able to confidently advertise true symmetrical speeds.
However, with the latest DOCSIS 4.0 technology that is planned to be broadly deployed in the coming years, Spectrum Internet customers in serviced areas should be able to sign up for plans that offer up to 10 Gbps download speed and up to 6 Gbps of upload speed, which is a much closer to symmetrical service that customers would normally need to sign up for fiber internet to experience.
This is a long time coming for cable internet service, and customers in Spectrum service areas should be delighted by the news.
How Will DOCSIS 4.0 Change Internet Service?
Simply put, DOCSIS 4.0 will change the way that millions of customers use the internet, and it will be an enormous upgrade to Spectrum Internet service. High-speed service should be more reliable, faster, safer, more convenient, and more widely available than ever before.
Symmetrical upload and download speeds drastically improve the quality of service, as lag, buffering and choppy service is reduced dramatically when performing bandwidth-intensive activities such as video conferencing, uploading files, online gaming, and more. When your connection has more bandwidth available for uploading, all your online tasks become easier to perform, and put less strain on your service.
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Current Spectrum Internet Plans
Right now, as Spectrum is continuing to make upgrades to its network, there are still fast, reliable internet plans worth checking out, especially when signing up for deals like Spectrum One, which provides Spectrum Internet, Advanced WiFi, and one free Spectrum Mobile Unlimited line for just the price of Internet.
The Spectrum Internet plans below are widely available across Spectrum’s service footprint. Click on an offer or call the phone number to view which specific offers are available at your address.
When service upgrades become available at your address, Spectrum will notify you accordingly.
- Most popular Internet for remote work, online learning and live streaming with speeds up to 300 Mbps
- Add Spectrum Advanced WiFi for complete control over your WiFi network
- NO Contracts, NO Data Caps and a FREE Modem
Limited time offer; subject to change; new residential customers only (no Spectrum services within past 30 days) and in good standing with Charter. Taxes and fees extra in select states. SPECTRUM INTERNET: Standard rates apply after promo period. Advertised price reflects $5 discount when enrolling in Auto Pay. Additional charge for installation. Speeds based on wired connection. Actual speeds (including wireless) vary and are not guaranteed. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. ©2024 Charter Communications.
Frequently asked questions
What is symmetrical internet?
Symmetrical internet refers to internet service with download and upload speeds that are equal. Typically, symmetrical internet is reserved for fiber internet service, but the implementation of high-split architecture, and new DOCSIS 4.0 technology, will make superfast, symmetrical internet feasible for cable internet providers like Spectrum.
What is DOCSIS 4.0?
DOCSIS 4.0 is a new internet standard for cable internet service that will be able to provide faster, safer service than ever before. Currently, it is not available to residences yet, but when available on a large scale, DOCSIS 4.0 cable internet should provide close to 10,000 Mbps of essentially symmetrical speeds. DOCSIS 4.0 will change cable internet service and allow it to compete one on one with fiber internet.
When will DOCSIS 4.0 be available?
DOCSIS 4.0 is expected to become available to residences in Spectrum service areas by the end of 2025. Until then, Spectrum is continuing to upgrade its cable infrastructure using high-split technology, providing more and more communities with better, faster speeds through the end of 2023 and 2024.
What is high split?
"High split" is a way of improving upload speeds in cable internet service by extending the upstream range to 204 MHz. This means that high-split cable lines are capable of supporting symmetrical or near symmetrical speeds even on DOCSIS 3.1 modems, allowing providers like Spectrum to begin rolling out symmetrical plans in limited areas. This high-split process is ongoing and will continue over the next couple years, meaning customers should stay ready for symmetrical plans to become available at their address. If you are a current Spectrum customer and an upgrade becomes available, Spectrum will likely let you know.
How important is upload speed?
The importance of upload speed varies from household to household. Usually, the majority of households will only feel the impact of download speed, but upload speed can also be very important. For example, fast, reliable upload speeds are crucial for activities such as video conferencing, uploading files (like videos), content creation, online gaming, and more.
What's the fastest Spectrum Internet speed currently available?
Currently, the fastest Spectrum Internet plan is Spectrum Internet Gig, which provides download speeds up to 1000 Mbps. Upload speeds are typically around 35 Mbps.