Development of DOCSIS: A History of the Modem

Development of DOCSIS: A History of the Modem

Starting in the summer of 1995, a small group undertook an audacious goal: design a best-of-breed cable modem that would do away with dial-up Internet speeds.

In an era of slow, dial-up connections and elongated page load times, these individuals set out to bridge the divided worlds of cable telecommunications and digital networking in a way that could scale to reach millions of users – and effectively spark a revolution in “broadband” communications.

Their work, would crystallize in the form of DOCSIS® – an international standard for high-speed Internet connectivity – and ultimately touch the lives of individuals and organizations around the world, igniting an unprecedented creative and economic revolution that would enable and sustain some of the most innovative ideas and applications in the history of communications – from YouTube to Pandora to Skype to Facebook to Twitter and beyond. The modem's history and associated DOCSIS revolution is considered a true landmark in the birth of the Internet. It is widely considered the cable industry’s greatest contribution to the global telecommunications landscape. And it continues to empower ideas and media innovations today.

Now, for the first time, the behind-the-scenes story of the history of the modem and DOCSIS is told in breakthrough accounts by key figures in the technology’s origination, including Cable Center Hall Of Fame Members Dr. John Malone, Dr. Richard Green and author Robert Cruickshank.

Souls of DOCSIS Book

Book Review:

“Robert Cruickshank III is the author of Souls of DOCSIS, an engaging, first-person account of how a small group of individuals and their companies overcame tremendous technology and marketplace obstacles to create a solution for supercharging the global Internet. Cruickshank, one of the early employees working on telecommunication projects at CableLabs, brings readers into the inner circle as he describes how, piece-by-piece, the building blocks for broadband Internet came into place. Combining interviews, first-person recollections and original reporting into a highly readable, you-are-there depiction, Souls of DOCSIS provides a penetrating glimpse into the dawning days of a revolutionary technology.”  –Stewart Schley, longtime cable industry editor and reporter





Photo of Souls of DOCSIS author Robert Cruickshank III


Robert Cruickshank III built and led the CableLabs team that developed, tested and certified the DOCSIS world standard cable modem. Currently, Cruickshank serves as Operations Architect at Cablevision Systems. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the cable industry including: VP Engineering and interim CTO, Road Runner; VP Operations and Business Support Strategies, ARRIS; VP Worldwide OSS Market Strategy, C-COR; and Co-Founder of Stargus Inc. 

Cruickshank graduated with his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and completed five years of post-grad research in civil engineering and intelligent buildings at the University of Colorado.


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