An Update on the DOCSIS 3.1 Certification Testing Program

In the summer of 2017, we introduced a two-phased test strategy to help improve the speed and predictability of DOCSIS 3.1 Certification Testing. As the DOCSIS Product Manager at Kyrio, I look at how we can continuously improve the certification program for CableLabs members and manufacturers. In this blog, I’ll update what our team has learned since we rolled out core and secondary testing.

Improving Speed and Agility

Under the original DOCSIS 3.1 certification testing process, manufacturers paid a single fee and could update their devices indefinitely. Although this process was designed to provide flexibility for device updates and advance products to market, the unforeseen number of revisions increased cost and time to completion, which both operators and manufacturers felt. Ultimately, a significant amount of time was needed for a device to become certified, placed into operators’ live networks.

In evaluating our testing operations, we looked at where we could help manufacturers improve the speed with which devices get into members’ hands. With this in mind, we created Core and Secondary testing to transition to a “fail fast” model to increase agility in the certification process. Today, this model advances collaboration between CableLabs and Kyrio with manufacturers, and it provides feedback and transparency into the process.

The Core phase includes critical tests that often withhold device certification until particular parameters are met. In the Secondary Testing stage, we have also made strides to be more diligent in communicating with manufacturers of any errors that are discovered. We’ve found that this fail-fast model has helped manufacturers find defects earlier in the testing cycle. The result is an improvement in the overall quality of devices and a reduction in the number of revisions needed before achieving certification. Under the old testing model, the average device took 6 months to achieve certification; today, we’re happy to report that we’re seeing manufacturers achieve certification in a drastically shorter 12- to 15-week timeframe. In addition, devices that pass certification with their first version of software and with zero discovered defects (i.e., a “clean run”) can complete in as little as 8 weeks.

Pre-Certification Testing

A subsidiary of CableLabs, Kyrio was created to help facilitate the adoption of technologies created inside CableLabs. This model allows us to work directly with our customers, which includes helping manufacturers outside the formal certification program.

In addition to Core and Secondary testing, we have started working with manufacturers on pre-certification testing. This new service allows manufacturers to come into the lab to test and verify their device using the same resources—prior to formal certification testing. Although pre-certification testing doesn’t guarantee that a device will pass certification (as that is still governed by the applicable certification board), this is a valuable proactive opportunity for manufacturers to work one-on-one with an engineer on their unique testing needs and within the same certification lab environment.

The Future

As Kyrio continues to advance the efficiency of CableLabs certification programs, we’re actively looking for opportunities to partner with the manufacturing community. If you have questions, please contact us so that we can help you on your certification journey. To learn more about Kyrio and our range of testing services, click the button below.

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