Comcast teams up with Apple and Nvidia for low-latency DOCSIS trial

Comcast has launched what it claims to be the industry’s first low latency DOCSIS (LLD) field trials in collaboration with Apple, Nvidia and Valve.

The partnership with the three external companies, including consumer electronics giant Apple, is designed to demonstrate initial applications for consumers.

Comcast is planning to make LLD available to customers by the end of 2023. It describes the technology a key component of the Xfinity 10G Network.

LLD is a CableLabs technology standard that implements the Internet Engineering Task Force’s (IETF) Low Latency Low Loss Scalable Throughput (L4S) open standards. The L4S standards specify how network links, such as in an internet gateway, can implement a new data packet processing function for latency-sensitive traffic and as a result achieve ultra-low latency.

As part of these standards, app developers mark latency-sensitive traffic, such as video conferencing, gaming, and virtual reality, to dramatically improve the latency performance.

Apple demonstrated the capabilities of this during its last Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) using a sample real-time application to achieve improved video conferencing quality.

Comcast said that iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and tvOS 17 have built-in support for L4S so that devices will offer a seamless streaming experience, for example, while using FaceTime.

The Comcast field trials will also demonstrate the improvements in handling latency-sensitive applications like Nvidia’s cloud gaming service, GeForce NOW.

LLD application marking is entirely voluntary and available for use with no special cost, agreement, or proprietary APIs, according to Comcast. It says its use of LLD respects those markings in accordance with relevant IETF standards.

During the initial customer trials, content providers can mark their traffic as latency-sensitive for the first time, using openly documented technical guidelines (RFC 933093319332). Xfinity customers who live in trial markets and lease the latest Xfinity 10G Gateway (XB7 and XB8 models) or own an Arris S33 or Netgear CM1000v2 gateway can participate in the trial, according to the operator.

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