TEC301 DOCSIS Essentials

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The DOCSIS Essentials self-study training course is comprised of eleven eLearning modules designed to provide understanding of DOCSIS® terminology, basic features, and functions.  The course is primarily based on the DOCSIS RFI specification, DOCSIS PHY specification, and DOCSIS MULPI specification.

This course may be taken by anyone seeking to bolster their knowledge and understanding of DOCSIS technology. Additionally, this course is recommended for those seeking certification as an ARRIS Certified DOCSIS CMTS Operator.  If you have interest in the ARRIS DOCSIS CMTS Operator Certification, please send an email message with the subject “Certification Inquiry” to training@arris.com.

Upon completion of this course, the student will understand:

  • The components of the DOCSIS network and the terms used to describe a DOCSIS network
  • How the CMTS and the cable modem interact to range, provision, and register the cable modem –both  single-channel and multi-channel modems, (i.e., channel bonding modems)
  • What impairments might interfere with the registration process or normal operation (after CM registration, for example) and mitigation strategies to compensate for those impairments

The course explores the key DOCSIS management messages required to control the cable modem and manage the access link, both upstream and downstream. In addition, the student will learn the various Quality of Service (QoS) options for cable modem provisioning, as well as the basics of load balancing and load balancing groups.

A Study Guide (in PDF format) is available from the RESOURCES link inside the course. This Study Guide can be used as reference material when taking the DOCSIS Essentials certification exam for students planning participation in the ARRIS DOCSIS CMTS Operator Certification program.


This course is for anyone wishing to learn about DOCSIS. It would be particularly useful to CMTS technical support staff and other headend personnel.  A basic understanding of CATV systems, RF plant fundamentals, and data networking is helpful.

Course Topics

Module 1: DOCSIS Overview

•   Evolution of the cable network

•   Cable Television Laboratories

•   DOCSIS major components

•   DOCSIS interfaces

•   DOCSIS operations

•   DOCSIS protocol stack

•   DOCSIS headers

•   History of DOCSIS 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0

Module 2: PHY Layer—Downstream Channel

•   Downstream spectrum

•   Modulation in the downstream

•   Transmission Convergence Sublayer

•   MPEG format

•   Physical Media Dependent Sublayer

•   DS interleaver

•   DS signal processing: Symbol mapping, pulse shaping, I and Q modulation

Module 3: Upstream Channel

•   Upstream spectrum range (D1.x, D2.0, D3.0, D3.1)

•   Signal processing: FEC, interleaver, scrambler, preamble, symbol mapper, equalizer, pulse-shaping, modulation (QPSK, 8-, 16-, 32-, 64-, and 128-QAM)

•   Access technologies:

  •  TDMA: burst, mini-slot, timeslot
  •  S-CDMA: Signal spreading, framer, S-CDMA compared to TDMA, SAC mode, MSC

•   Modulation profiles and burst parameters

Module 4: RF Impairments

•   Typical upstream signal impairments: AWGN, roll-off, tilt, CPD, impulse noise, ingress noise, micro-reflections, non-linear distortion

•   Signal power levels at CM, CMTS, optical transmitter, and fiber node

•   Noise/distortion measurements: SNR, CNR, MER, CTO, CTB, return loss

•   Mitigating signal impairments (coding, frequency agility, QAM selection)

Module 5: MAC Layer—MAC Domain Fiber Node and Service Group

•   Logical fiber node and DS and US channels

•   How fiber node, service group, and MAC domain interact

•   MAC domain DS service group

•   MAC domain US service group

•   MAC domain CM service group

Module 6: DOCSIS MAC Management Messages

•   Synchronization (SYNC) and the time stamp: why modems need have the same clock

•   MAC Domain Descriptor Message (MDD), the MAC domain DS service group, and ambiguity resolution

•   Initial ranging (RNG, INIT-RNG, B-INT-RNG)

•   On-going ranging (RNG-REQ/RSP)

•   Bandwidth allocation (MAP, IUCs, D3.0 vs. legacy)

•   Contention resolution (Request, Data Grant)

•   Priority requests mechanism

•   Logical channels (four channel types) and what really is a logical channel

•   Modulation profiles and burst parameters (UCD): What are they and why use them?

Module 7: Cable Modem Registration

•   Cable modem registration (REG)

•   Cable modem status (ranging, DHCP, ToD, offline, etc.)

•   TOD, DHCP, TFTP servers, and modem registration

Module 8: Downstream Channel Bonding

•   Primary and secondary DS channels

•   Transmit channel set

•   Extended DOCSIS header, sequence number, and DSID

•   Downstream channel bonding groups

•   Downstream partial service

Module 9: Upstream Channel Bonding

•   Receive channel sets

•   Multiple-Transmit Channel Mode

•   Continuous concatenation and fragmentation

•   Segments and SID clusters

•   Upstream channel bonding groups

•   Upstream partial service

Module 10: Load Balancing

•   General load balancing groups

•   Restricted load balancing groups

•   Load balancing policies and rules

•   Commands for moving modems

•   Initialization techniques

Module 11: Service Flows, Cable Modem Configuration, and Quality of Service

•   Data forwarding (cable modem as bridge and IP host)

•   Service flows and upstream scheduler types: BE, UGS, UGS-AD, RTP, NRTP

•   Quality of Service, including max and min rate, max concatenated burst, and peak rate

•   Classifiers and how classifiers work

•   TLVs

•   CM and CMTS MIC and shared secret

•   Downloading CM software

Course Specifics

Delivery: Online, self-study

Duration: Approximately 6 to 10 hours, depending on student experience.