How service providers
can own the Gigabit home
Services driving demand for Gigabit speeds
Gigabit broadband in the access network
Coping with Gigabit in the wireless home
Owning the Gigabit smart home and IoT
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We have seen pushes towards higher speed broadband
before but the quest for Gigabit speeds feels different,
as if a new chapter is opening in communications - one
that is almost certain to result in a rush of innovation.
Pernille Erenbjerg, CEO at TDC Group, explained it
perfectly when announcing his company’s new Gigabit broadband service in May. “We are opening a super
highway of digital entertainment services where only
the imagination sets the limits, and not the speed.”
Gigabit broadband is both a response to, and an
enabler for, new services, starting with more concurrent
streaming and 4K. It also represents a point of potential
disruption for the broadband market. Gigabit speeds
will be a competitive differentiator, demanding upgrades to access networks but also
to the performance of the Wi-Fi home network, where customers could increasingly
be won and lost.
The Gigabit era will also coincide with the emergence of the smart home and
the Internet of Things. A key challenge for broadband providers is to maintain primacy in the home when multiple new smart home service providers want to ‘move in’
and possibly bring their own devices with them. Delivering broadband is nothing like
enough; holistic connectivity and QoS management will become important functions.
John Moulding, Editor, Videonet
• The need for speed
John Moulding
[email protected]
Today the No.1 driver for Gigabit broadband speeds is video-centric entertainment and richer
Justin Lebbon
[email protected]
• Gigabit to the home
media, from multiscreen TV to 4K and virtual reality. CCTV security cameras are a rare example of
why the smart home needs high capacity.
Broadband providers are becoming increasingly technology-agnostic when it comes to the
access network, using any means necessary to be competitive. Even cable operators are
using fibre, although DOCSIS 3.1 over HFC will dominate. Links between the basement and
Advertising and
Katrina Coyne, Business
Development Director
+44 (0)20 8425 0966
[email protected]
apartments in MDUs may have to be upgraded.
• Gigabit around the home
There is a danger that the home wireless network will become the new bottleneck. From using
more 5 GHz spectrum to multiple access points to smarter software, the solutions are already
available to dramatically increase Wi-Fi performance.
• Owning the smart home
taking advantage of their connectivity and their understanding of QoS across the home network. They
In the smart home and IoT era, service providers can provide a platform that unifies different applications,
need to invest in CPE that competes against retail devices.
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Owning the Gigabit home
Servicing the gigabit future
By Charles Cheevers,
CTO for Customer Premises Equipment, ARRIS
It’s the new Holy Grail: the gigabit home network. It’ll
take us to the new horizon of stunning quality wireless entertainment and all-encompassing home services.
Most importantly, the technology to deliver this superfast
connectivity is already here. But are the service providers
ready to respond?
The purpose of this report is to unearth the challenges of preparing for tomorrow. How do service providers not just navigate the gigabit home, but own it? And
with new technologies emerging and changing standards
causing an uncertain future, where do providers stand?
It’s essential that service providers feel confident
enough to satisfy today’s consumers. But as there’s more
than one way to reach gigabit speeds, providers are considering their options, and many are becoming more technology agnostic. DOCSIS 3.1 is the often discussed solution
for upscaling broadband speeds but some are looking at
fibre as a feasible alternative. An open-minded approach
could be beneficial for businesses weighing up the options.
Providers must also take into account the other
factors that will present new challenges. As an industry,
we’re already far beyond the point where ‘home entertainment’ meant piping in enough bandwidth to service
one TV or one PC. Yet there are still remnants of the past
that need to reflect changing consumption habits. For
instance, where does the equipment live and how should
it perform? There might currently only be one router that
is meant to serve an entire home. It might not physically
be able to do that. And even if it is, it might not be strategically placed to do so in the current home.
The relationship service providers currently have with
customers will change. They will now have to factor in various component parts to create a holistic connectivity offering. Whether it is gateways, extenders or connected set-tops,
service providers will need to help end users understand the
value. And they should also be able to tell the narrative of
how the equipment will shape tomorrow’s demands.
But this service provider/customer relationship is
already under strain. Retail providers are enabling customers to introduce their own equipment to the home. It
is equipment that service providers don’t have the same
amount of visibility or control over, so there are potential
tensions. Providers need to consider how they maintain
their presence in the home network and stay front of
mind from a customer point of view.
Connecting everything
The major game changer in the home isn’t 4k streaming
or virtual reality gaming - at least not in isolation, anyway. The thing that will really shake things up will be
the connecting together of these, and other technologies,
all across the home. The challenge then, isn’t just the increasing quality of the gadgets we already have, but the
arrival of new ones to the home.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that will
have an increasing role in the home. Items in almost every room will talk to each other, and to the home network.
This communication will open up new requirements for
service providers. Among the many considerations they
will have to make is how they deal with the growth in
low-power devices. And how do they respond to the resulting network complexity?
Putting customers first
Much of the technology might be new but one age-old
premise is still true. Companies succeed when they put
forward a service that best serves end users.
Cost will factor into this debate. But it isn’t an easy
task to install enhanced equipment affordably, especially
when factoring in the competition from retail solutions.
Could it be that one-size-fits-all products become a thing
of the past? It may be that a tiered approach is more suitable to reach all types of users with the right level of service.
And then there’s network management. It could remove the headache for users and reduce costs for providers if networks could self-diagnose.
The gigabit home will be the route to helping consumers dive into a more immersive future. Faster and
more reliable speeds will help usher in innovative ways to
be entertained. They will enable consumers to live their
lives augmented, and not hindered, by technology. The
challenge for our industry is to make it happen.
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Owning the Gigabit home
How service
providers can own
the Gigabit home
We are about to enter a new era in
entertainment and communications
thanks to Gigabit speed broadband.
We are about to enter the Gigabit broadband era and while The migration to all-IP video viewit will free the imagination of entrepreneurs for smart home ing will be accelerated. Multiscreen
and IoT innovations, the immediate demand is for better viewing around the home will match
video experiences in every room. John Moulding investi- the broadcast user experience. 4Kgates the role of service providers beyond delivering more everywhere will become realistic.
The true promise of virtual reality
access bandwidth.
(VR) television and telepresence can
be explored.
That is before we start thinking about the smart home and Internet of Things (IoT). Many of the
services and applications associated
with the IoT are light users of bandwidth but still need extremely low latency and ultra-reliability. And who
knows what ingenious services await.
The CEO of TDC Group,
Pernille Erenbjerg, noted the potential for future innovation when
announcing the roll-out of Gigabit
broadband over a new DOCSIS 3.1
network in Denmark. “We are opening a super highway of digital entertainment services where only the imagination sets the limits, and not the
speed,” he declared.
Gigabit broadband will become the new benchmark for excellence and a tick-box for earlyadopters. It presents a number of
challenges to service providers, including cost-effective upgrades to
their access networks and ensuring
the Wi-Fi home network does not
become a bottleneck that frustrates
consumers and limits service innovation and so revenue potential.
The Gigabit era will spawn
a multitude of companies offering
smart home services or IoT applications that need hardware in the
Photo: Based on image from iStock/mevans
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home and access to the home network. Most commentators think service providers should try to become
the aggregator of such third-party
services while also ensuring their
home hub is the primary gateway for
all broadband-connected functions.
They should then use their umbrella
view of the home network to become
the QoS guarantor, and use their
ubiquitous connectivity to present a
converged user experience.
ABI Research, identifies 4K video
and VR in the consumer space and
augmented reality in the workforce.
“Downloaded services clearly benefit
heavily from faster speeds, despite
the predominance of streaming,” he
The analyst firm CCS Insight
has predicted that VR could be one
of the most disruptive technologies
for a decade, forecasting that more
than 12 million virtual reality headsets will be sold next year. “Currently,
gaming is the low-hanging fruit for
VR devices but video, entertainment
and user-generated content will also
drive adoption of this technology,”
the firm says.
Today the No.1 driver for Gigabit
In May the Finnish broadbroadband speeds is video-centric band provider DNA announced the
entertainment and richer media. launch of its next-generation fibreSam Rosen, Managing Director and optic network (DNA Valokuitu Plus), Sam Rosen, ABI Research
Vice President, Video, OTT and AR/ which will enable speeds of up to
VR (augmented / virtual reality) at 1Gbps. The service is being made available to 300,000 households in
the Helsinki region first and will be
extended to 600,000 homes within a
year. Today it is video entertainment
Today the No.1 driver for Gigabit
that is driving the upgrade.
broadband speeds is videoDNA says a typical family of
Finland already has 9-15 decentric entertainment and richer
vices connected to the network and a
spokesman says the figure is increasing. “Simultaneous usage of video
services like YouTube, Netflix and
our own TV-OTT service, Dna-TV,
calls for more capacity.”
The highest speed available
today with DNA is 350Mbps and the
Gigabit service costs little more at
EUR 49.90 per month. A spokesman
points out: “We aim to provide customers with the best quality-price ratio and differentiate the fixed broadband from the mobile broadband
DNA is also testing 3Gbps on a
live network in Helsinki using DOCSIS 3.1 and has declared that speeds
of up to 10Gbps will be possible within just a few years
The need
for speed
AT&T advertises its Digital Life smart home services
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Owning the Gigabit home
using DNA Valokuitu Plus.
In Denmark, TDC started to
offer Gigabit broadband on its HFC
network in May, using DOCSIS 3.1
with a move from CMTS architecture
to a distributed CCAP solution. The
service is available to real customers
thanks to cooperation with a small
antenna association and 15% of
customers should be using the new
technology this year. The company
predicts it will become the first in
the world to upgrade an entire cable network for Gigabit speeds, hitting this target (and therefore its
1.4 million homes passed) by the
end of 2017.
So what is driving demand for
1Gbps download speeds in Denmark?
“Primarily video,” says Carsten Bryder,
Director of Technology & Capacity
The ARRIS VAP4300 wireless extender, as used by Get in Norway
at TDC. The average TDC home will
do fine with around 100Mbps today,
covering television and broadband The arrival of 4K/UHD television,
requirements, but the arrival of 4K/ accelerated by major live sports
UHD television, accelerated by major
live sports events this summer, will events this summer, will drive the
drive the demand for higher speeds. demand for higher speeds
“When you download movies
or software like Microsoft Office, the Denmark get their broadband via their
Being responsible for network
speeds are significantly faster with a employer and need cloud solutions for capacity, Bryder admits that the
1Gbps connection, so the customer business.”
thought of live streaming of 360 deexperience is better,” Bryder adds. “We
gree VR into the Facebook network
plan to offer a 500Mbps upload
makes him sweat! So
solution. Lots of
Gigabit broadusers
band is
The trend is towards good-looking
operator CPE, like this ARRIS set-top box
Sponsored by
Owning the Gigabit home
“We want to build a 10-lane
highway into the household
so nobody has to think about
capacity anymore”
about future-proofing. “We want
to build a 10-lane highway into the
household so nobody has to think
about capacity anymore,” he comments.
Charles Cheevers, CTO for
Customer Premises Equipment at
ARRIS, whose CCAP-based converged edge router and high-end
DOCSIS 3.1 Wi-Fi modems are helping the push to Gigabit speeds, also
highlights virtual reality as a driver
for future broadband requirements.
But the most pressing need is to handle multiple concurrent 4K video
streams to different devices in the
home, usually over Wi-Fi.
Available ‘burst speeds’ are
particularly important when it
comes to improving the user experience, Cheevers notes. This includes
downloading media faster. And he
warns that one of the current limitations to what consumers can suck
from the broadband network – the
Wi-Fi ingest capacity of handheld
devices – will soon be removed as
a new generation of notebooks and
tablets, etc., with better antenna technology, penetrate the market. When
they become commonplace, inferior
in-home Wi-Fi networks will be exposed.
Cheevers highlights newspaper apps as another place where the
user experience can be vastly improved. “Some newspapers today are
loading their web pages with such
Carsten Bryder, TDC
high resolution photos that even
with 100Mbps broadband and good
Wi-Fi you still have to watch them
rendering on the screen.”
Celeno demonstrates Wi-Fi device management
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Gigabit to
the home
Comcast is using fibre and DOCSIS 3.1 for ultra high speeds into the home
The IoT stretches beyond the
home and that enhanced network
capacity is more about enabling
services like smart roadways and
eHealth than consumer services
When it comes to the IoT at
home, CCTV security monitoring is
one of few applications that demands
high bandwidth today. A spokesman
at DNA says the main challenge in
this market is handling tens of different devices at the same time. But
Rosen at ABI Research notes that the
IoT stretches beyond the home and
that enhanced network capacity is
more about enabling services like
smart roadways and eHealth than
consumer services.
Broadband providers are becoming
when it comes to the access network, using any means necessary to
be competitive. According to Sam
Rosen: “IP technologies are taking
over on every part of the network…
Operators now look at delivering a
mix of fibre, copper, coax, cellular
and satellite technologies to deliver
services… Upgrading networks with
new technologies, like with
over copper, needs to be evaluated
for their service life and business case
against the cost of deploying fibre
Steve Davidson, Cable Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Nokia,
provider of network hardware and
services, says one cable customer in
Europe, which operates a small network, has opted for EPON (fibreto-the-home) rather than DOCSIS
3.1 over HFC as its next-generation
access solution. “DOCSIS is not a
‘no-brainer’ anymore; there can be a
business case for going to fibre,” he
Multiscreen TV is one of the drivers for higher speed broadband. Photo shows the Comcast X1 family
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A typical family of four in Finland already has 9-15 devices connected to the network (Photo: DNA)
Comcast illustrates this pragmatism. Last year the company
launched its fibre-based residential
service called Gigabit Pro, offering
symmetrical 2Gbps speeds. This is
now available to 18 million homes
Lior Weiss, Celeno
Comcast DOCSIS 3.1 triallists
include hobbyists like
photographers, videographers
and gamers
across the U.S. Anyone living within
one-third of a mile of a fibre termination point on the HFC network
can request a survey to see if FTTH
is viable. But for most customers
that final link will be achieved using
DOCSIS 3.1 over coax.
DOCSIS 3.1 does not require
any changes to the cabling so will be
ubiquitous and Comcast expects to
scale very quickly once it gets moving. In the customer premise Comcast provides the XB6 Gigabit Home
Gateway, a DOCSIS 3.1 device that
uses shared-source RDK-B software.
This includes a Wi-Fi router capable
of delivering Gigabit wireless speeds,
IP video technology and integrated
home automation and security capabilities.
Comcast is running beta trials
of Gigabit broadband using DOCSIS
3.1 in Atlanta and Nashville and users are characterised as early adopting, tech-savvy consumers who like
to ‘play’ with the latest technology.
They tend to use the latest software
and Internet experiences. They include hobbyists like photographers,
videographers and gamers. They
include people who like the best of
everything, whether it is their apartment, car or broadband. The Gigabit
speeds are considered especially relevant to multi-generational households.
Kamalini Ganguly, Senior
Analyst, Service Provider & Markets at Ovum (the telecoms, IT media and entertainment intelligence
firm), reckons the real Comcast target for FTTH is business customers. “Businesses typically require
symmetrical bandwidth more than
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Owning the Gigabit home
“DOCSIS 3.1 will be the primary
means of delivering Gigabit
speeds for quite some time”
consumers and will require sustainable Gigabit speeds, both of which
are better served by FTTH compared
with DOCSIS 3.1.” She thinks the
FTTH deployment also provided a
faster competitive response to telcos
like AT&T and Google, who were
rolling out Gigabit services on FTTH
to consumers.
Despite the FTTH offer, DOCSIS 3.1 will be the dominant access
technology for Comcast in its quest
to deliver ultra-fast broadband. Ganguly says this will be the case for the
cable industry generally. “DOCSIS
3.1 will be the primary means of
delivering Gigabit speeds for quite
some time. It is typically cheaper
due to the re-use of existing infrastructure, which means there is no
need for digging. Typically it enables a faster response to competitors
offering Gigabit speed tiers.”
ABI Research (the market intelligence company) forecasts that
there will be approximately 9 million
broadband subscribers using DOCSIS 3.1 equipment by 2017. That
represents slightly more than 1% of
total fixed broadband subscriptions
In Europe one of the main
challenges in the access network will
be achieving Gigabit speeds across
the ‘last 50 metres’ in apartment
buildings. DNA is using building
Ethernet networks where available,
or harnessing the in-building coax.
MoCA is tackling this problem with
its new MoCA Access specification,
which will support 1Gbps immediately and later 2.5Gbps throughput.
The target is to have MoCA Access
standardised by mid-2017.
Charles Cheevers, ARRIS
Helge Tiainen, Chairman of
the MoCA Access Work Group, says
the target market is telcos and fibre
providers who need to deliver Gigabit speeds between the fibre termination point in the building and
the individual apartments. Installing
DNA’s fibre-optic broadband network will enable speeds of up to 1Gbps to 600,000 homes within a year
Sponsored by
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CAT 6 Ethernet would require too
many people to agree to it, and take
too long. A cable operator choosing
DOCSIS 3.1 as its next-generation
access network will not need MoCA
Rob Gelphman, Vice President
Marketing and Member Relations
at MoCA, says: “We are leveraging
the performance and reliability of
MoCA. Operators with MDU deployments have asked for this. There
is a huge market opportunity and the
market is now.”
The MoCA standards group
also recently published the specification for MoCA 2.5, which can
provide 2.5Gbps over in-house coax.
“This is significant because it will allow existing wired homes to have a
2.5Gbps backbone for adding additional Wi-Fi and IoT access points or
hubs, and to be able to pull Gigabit
speeds deeper into Wi-Fi extenders
The target market for MoCA
Access is telcos and fibre
providers who need Gigabit
speeds between the fibre
termination point in a building and
the apartments
throughout the home,” Cheevers
explains. “This is particularly important for operators who want to
claim Gigabit speeds everywhere in
the home.
“Furthermore, the MoCA 3.0
spec that is underway looks to expand this capacity to 10Gbps, leveraging any clean-up investment in
home MoCA.”
It is possible to achieve 1Gbps
downstream broadband speeds on
cable using DOCSIS 3.0 but as Cornel
Ciocirlan, CTO for EMEA at ARRIS,
points out, the roadmap leads firmly
towards DOCSIS 3.1. An all-DOCSIS
3.1 network will keep a cable operator competitive for at least the next
eight years, providing a 10Gbps pipe
for cable operators to use for managed video and broadband services.
Ciocirlan predicts that the average
industry broadband speeds will only
‘break’ DOCSIS 3.1 in around 20232025. New technologies that ARRIS
is pioneering, such as extended-spectrum DOCSIS, will allow DOCSIS to
be competitive even beyond 2025, he
The Gear VR, powered by Oculus, which enables virtual reality experiences using a smartphone
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It’s in Finnish but you get the idea, as DNA shows how it will deliver Gigabit speeds, and why
ARRIS enables operators to
deploy DOCSIS 3.1 and Gigabit
speeds with its E6000 Converged
Edge Router, which is based on the
Converged Cable Access Platform
(CCAP) specification. Customers
include Comcast, Liberty Global, Telstra, TURKSAT and SK Broadband.
Altice is the latest service provider to
deploy the E6000, revealing in March
that it would use the technology to
deliver Gibabit broadband to homes
in France (with SFR), the Dominican
Republic (with Orange-Tricom) and
the U.S. (at Suddenlink Communications).
DOCSIS 3.1 will certainly be
enough to cope with all-IP video
on cable networks, which Ciocirlan
expects to become a reality at some
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Head of Broadband Business at DNA,
identified the final networking challenge that faces operators. “Another
bottleneck at homes is the wireless
LAN, which often squanders the majority of the connection speed. Gigaclass speeds require more efficient
and higher capacity modems that enable ultra-fast speeds even wirelessly,”
he declared.
Customers of DNA Valokuitu
Plus are being given a modem with
802.11 ac Wi-Fi and 3x3 technology that is 3-5 times faster than the
previous router model. 3x3 MIMO
multi-input, multi-output (MIMO)
technology means a router can handle three transmit and three receive
streams at the same time. “The device ensures better service and works
When announcing the new DNA much better with all the connected
Gigabit service, Mikko Saarentaus, devices in the home simultaneously.
give telcos the kind of ubiquitous Gigabit speeds (over copper) that will
allow them to compete with DOCIS
3.1. “This promises telcos with short
loop lengths up to Gigabit speeds
without necessarily getting fibre to
the door,” she explains. “But the technology is still new. We are aware of
deployments but not services so we
do not know whether
services are living up to the promise
of Gigbabit speeds, or close to Gigabit speeds, at a reasonable cost. But
we should know within a year or so.”
Gigabit around
the home
Cornel Ciocirlan, ARRIS
operators within the next 3-5 years.
The migration to all-IP video will
generally start with VOD before encompassing long-tail linear channels
and finally the most popular linear
channels. CCAP, the emergence of
multicast ABR streaming and the
increasing volume of unicasting are
making the move to all-IP video over
cable easier.
The requirement for operators to support the large population
of DVB-C set-top boxes already deployed is the only barrier to all-IP
video on cable networks, according
ABI Research also views ultrabroadband as the road to all-IP video.
“Thinking ahead, enhanced deployments of ultra-broadband networks
could pave the way for cable operators to migrate to a pure IPTV over
the DOCSIS network, abandoning
legacy broadcast QAM technology,”
the company stated in January.
Ganguly at Ovum says we will
soon know whether is going to
“Deployments of ultra-broadband
networks could pave the way for
pure IPTV over DOCSIS, with cable
abandoning legacy broadcast
QAM technology”
Rob Gelphman, MoCA
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The number of those increased very
rapidly,” a spokesman explains.
More use of the relatively
quiet 5 GHz spectrum will improve
Wi-Fi performance in the mediumterm, as newer client devices penetrate the market. But to enable Gigabit speeds Europe will have to move
from a model that is dominated by
single wireless access points (APs) to
one where there are multiple access
points in homes, Charles Cheevers
This would generally mean a
primary Wi-Fi gateway that also has
a wired extension (using Powerline
or MoCA) to a Wi-Fi extender that
also transmits and receives from end
devices. A simple formula is that in
an average European house measuring 1,200 square feet you will need an
extender if signals have to go through
more than two brick walls. The Norwegian broadband and content provider Get is one company using the
extender model to optimise home
Installing the primary Wi-Fi
gateway near the middle of a home
and software, agrees that we are
moving into a multi-AP world in a
bid to achieve Gigabit speeds. “We
believe that the inherent physical
limits of wireless challenges the delivery of the theoretical peak speeds
of Wi-Fi standards to every corner
of the house. Therefore, a multi-AP
approach is a more robust home networking architecture if you want to
deliver multi-Gigabit speeds to the
edge of the home.”
He adds: “As the hunger for
speedier connections increases and
more Pay TV set-top boxes are moving over Wi-Fi, the single access
point model will hit its limit in many
homes. Based on our studies, between 25% to 50% of homes will require two or more APs to deliver Pay
TV over Wi-Fi to multiple televisions
alongside a Gbps data service.”
It is not enough to focus on
the physics alone, however. Celeno is
pioneering smarter Wi-Fi with software products like its OptimisAIR
airtime management technology and
the ControlAIR multi-AP controller.
Weiss says software is a very impor-
“Multiple access points provide a
more robust home networking
architecture if you want to deliver
multi-Gigabit speeds to the edge of
the home.”
also improves Wi-Fi performance
but has proved near-impossible in
Europe. Shipping boxes with retailstandard aesthetics might help. In
the meantime, antenna diversity can
project Wi-Fi signals into the home
from the corner of a room and is
considered a cost-effective improvement.
Lior Weiss, VP Marketing
and Business Development at Celeno, which provides Wi-Fi chips
tant factor in Wi-Fi improvements,
like coordinating the different access
He points out that a typical client device decides for itself which access point to associate with in order to
receive data. But this scheme may not
work for a multi-AP home network.
“Clients do not have visibility into the
overall network requirements and
the current use of the access points
so moving this intelligence to the
Margaret Ranken, Machina Research
network will significantly improve
the overall throughput and speed of
the network.”
Telling Wi-Fi clients which access point they should lock to, and
on which frequency, are two important management functions. Another
could be prioritising services, like
giving pay-per-view on the living
room priority over YouTube on the
Celeno enables Wi-Fi capacity
to be allocated between multiple virtual management networks (SSIDs)
and this means you can effectively
isolate different services, like a 4K
video service, smart home services
and a public access home hotspot.
The company envisages use-cases
where a SSID is allocated exclusively
to a managed set-top box, while another SSID is open to unmanaged
private devices.
“Potentially there could be others for a guest network and smart
home applications,” says Weiss. “The
service provider will be able to manage capacity to these individual
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Service providers can market a
‘premium Wi-Fi’ offer but first they
need a clear understanding of
home network QoS
sub-networks with the appropriate
QoS setting for each. This tool will
enable an upgraded user experience
and even the capability to create new
service tiers to enable new revenues
streams for the operator.”
Service providers can market a
‘premium Wi-Fi’ offer but to do this
they need a clear understanding of
home network QoS and the ability
to make proactive interventions to
solve issues and pre-empt customer
calls. And if it becomes obvious that
the current Wi-Fi architecture is inadequate and a Wi-Fi extender would
significantly improve performance,
there should be a mechanism to go
to the customer with this proposal.
Cheevers at ARRIS warns
that you need to get the Wi-Fi physics right before allowing software
management to make its contribution. “You should always have the
chance to reach 1Gbps without any
software, relying on just the physics,
and then add the software solutions,”
he advises. He points to the ARRIS Touchstone CM8200 DOCSIS
3.1 modem, which supports 5 Gbps
downstream and 2 Gbps upstream.
Lionel Gremeau, Product
Marketing Management Director at
SoftAtHome, which provides a unified software platform for gateways
and set-top-boxes, acknowledges
that there will be a premium for supporting wireless Gigabit speeds. “The
main cost is the Wi-Fi chipset capable of doing [802.]11ac at Gigabit
speeds with 4x4 antennas, compared
to a Wi-Fi chipset that would support only [802.]11n or 3x3 antennas
Lionel Gremeau, SoftAtHome
at a much lower price.
“You will also need to have the
right level of software support on the
box to properly manage this power
and the associated QoS,” he explains.
Virtual reality with Oculus. VR could be a big bandwidth hog in future
Sponsored by
Owning the Gigabit home
“Wi-Fi has shifted from a consumer
problem to a service provider
problem in many geographies”
If a service provider wants to
prevent churn, or stop customers
from spending EUR 200 in retail for
an advanced Wi-Fi gateway, they will
have to put their hands in their pockets. As Sam Rosen (ABI Research)
observes, “Wi-Fi has shifted from a
consumer problem to a service provider problem in many geographies.
Consumer expectations of connectivity throughout their whole home
is a measure of the reliability of the
service provider offering.”
generate a revenue stream, and not
just indirect benefits like reduced
churn. “There is a belief among a
significant number of our customers
that you can charge more for a better Wi-Fi experience in the next 2-5
years,” Charles Cheevers at ARRIS reveals. “In Europe some operators believe they can get at least a quarter of
their customers to pay for a premium
Wi-Fi experience.
“Customers also believe that
Wi-Fi can be used to attract new
customers, because people value it
so much and because of the services
that are coming, like virtual reality,
that will demand more from it.”
Owning the
smart home
John Kendall, Principal Analyst,
Connected Home & Smart Home at
IHS Technology, confirms that current smart home offerings require
only low power wireless solutions, in
general. “They require a platform to
unify them rather than higher bandwidth,” he adds.
It seems that the smart home
/ IoT opportunity for service providers is not selling bandwidth, but
selling an experience, certainly for
SoftAtHome illustrates what it thinks the home will look like in the IoT era
Sponsored by
Owning the Gigabit home
the foreseeable future. That could
mean providing the gateway that
aggregates different services and applications, and it could mean managing the QoS on the home network.
It could also mean carrying out the
professional installs.
Margaret Ranken, Principal
Analyst at Machina Research, which
provides strategic market intelligence on the Internet of Things, says
there is a danger that the smart home
becomes a burden to service providers if all they get is more traffic on
their pipes. “I do not think the pipe
is what matters here. If you are going
to have a comprehensive smart home
hub that connects the heating and
doors and windows, that is a challenging self-install. Some fire alarms
will need professional installation. So
the field force that a service provider
has [installers and engineers] and
the customer relationship are what
“I do not think the pipe is what
matters with IoT; the field force
and customer relationship are
what matters”
She adds: “People will want to
buy different products from different vendors and hope that they talk
to each other. The role of providing
the central hub for the smart home is
still up for grabs.”
In January Machina Research
published its latest Strategy Report
called ‘IoT Platforms Best Practices’ and stated that it is not the
feature-sets and functionality of the
platform that offer the key differentiator but factors like support and a
robust partner, systems integration
and developer ecosystem. A focus
on the customer will also be a key
Charles Cheevers (ARRIS) believes the broadband operator can
become the entity that aggregates
third-party services and presents
them to the customer, even if they
can also be accessed through independent apps. This kind of ‘onboarding’ should mean a better consumer
experience, and minimise the number of devices in the home.
There is also an argument that
the service provider is best placed
to have an overall view of everything that happens in the home, and
therefore to help different subsystems communicate with each other,
Everyday life is going to start demanding more from access and home networks (Photo: ARRIS)
Sponsored by
Owning the Gigabit home
The TDC data centre
The broadband operator can
become the entity that aggregates
third-party services and presents
them to the customer
leading to a unified user experience.
SoftAtHome’s Lionel Gremeau provides some examples.
“Cameras can be seamlessly integrated into the LAN with the right
QoS already configured in the operator home gateway. Users can access
camera streams from the operator’s
television UI to monitor their entrances or see that their babies are
sleeping well…The home gateway
detects that my son is back home, indicated when his mobile phone WiFi has been seen or a Bluetooth Low
Energy tag is detected.”
Operators can use open software platforms within their home
gateway to enable the integration of
third-party IoT devices, which Gremeau views as a great opportunity.
“This will lead towards aggregated
services whose total value will be
greater than the sum of their parts,”
he argues. “This will usher in new
revenues for operators, as well as increase customer satisfaction and reduce churn.”
The research firm Gartner says
cable, Internet and alarm companies
and mobile phone operating system
providers are actively creating platforms and ecosystems in an attempt
to break into the IoT gateway market.
“We predict that the most successful
will develop a system that seamlessly
integrates with nearly any vendor’s
IoT application and is relatively painless to the homeowner. A system that
locks homeowners into one specific
operating system limits their opportunity.”
Cheevers says service providers
must break through siloes and deliver
a converged experience. “The opportunity for the operator is to do this
better than Google or Amazon could.
You need to leverage service provider
Having the ‘global’ view of the
Gigabit home means service providers can take up the role of the QoE
The ARRIS Touchstone TG3462 telephony
and Wi-Fi gateway
Sponsored by
Owning the Gigabit home
“The smart home and IoT will
become part of the all-important
fifth play”
guarantor. Corrado Rocca is Executive VP, Product Management & Development at ADB, a company that
provides set-top box and broadband
customer premise equipment and
software. He points out: “Operators control the entry point into the
house and have the ability to look
around it in a way that companies
like Google cannot.”
He notes how his customers
can use standard protocols to access
data on devices that are on the home
network and establish a unified view
of QoS. “The ability to provide QoS
monitoring and management will
become more relevant in a world
with more devices,” he states. “And if
you introduce services like [connected] health then they become critical
Rocca thinks it is important
that service providers convey the value of this QoS management to their
customers. It may then be possible to
monetise the function, like charging
a few EURO per month for a ‘Geek
Squad’ of trouble-shooters. And he
reminds us that video, with its higher
bandwidth requirements, will be one
of the services that needs QoS management.
Rosen at ABI Research thinks
there is another way to monetise
QoE management. “There is the expectation that for some IoT services
with special requirements, the [IoT]
service provider will pay for carriage
along with higher QoS guarantees
measured in latency, throughput and
low error tolerance thresholds,” he
The Smart Home and IoT may
not bring lots of value to service
providers immediately, admits Gremeau at SoftAtHome. “It may just
appear to be a medium for gadgets,”
he adds. “But it will become part of
VR is out there (Pic: Oculus)
the all-important fifth play that enables new use-cases to be introduced,
some of which will be revenue generating.”
When it comes to wireless connectivity for the IoT, the focus is on
ultra reliability and low-latency, rather than bandwidth
and that could mean a role for
cellular networks. If you are
offering eHealth services, it is
critical that the hub can connect with someone who may
have fallen, and is now immobile in the corner of a house.
The stronger the wireless coverage (of whatever kind), the
longer batteries in remote IoT
devices should last, too.
When designing their
gateways, service providers
can cover most of the future
IoT wireless requirements by
supporting a handful of protocols and
Comcast advertises the benefits of security-focused smart home services
Sponsored by
Owning the Gigabit home
If a retail router sits downstream
of the service provider gateway
and performs the NAT function, the
operator loses its clear view of
end devices
technologies, like Bluetooth Low En- being responsible for at least some of
ergy, Zigbee and Thread.
the user experience.
The presence of third-party retail routers inside the Gigabit
home cannot be avoided entirely, but
operators should try to limit the reasons why customers feel they need to
purchase an additional Wi-Fi router,
The mobile industry knows what it ensuring the operator keeps direct
feels like to have device makers and connectivity to devices in the home.
OS providers take control of the Charles Cheevers notes that if a retail
user experience, as Google and Ap- router sits downstream of the service
ple did. But cellular networks are provider gateway and performs the
more important to consumers than NAT (network address translation)
ever, largely because of smartphones. function then the operator loses its
Fixed line providers should be hop- clear view of end devices that are
ing for the best of both worlds – de- being served, interfering with their
livering high value broadband and ability to perform analytics. “You
Ready for the
Gigabit era
Helge Tiainen, MoCA Access Work Group
want to be the first hub that all the
end devices see,” he suggests. “This
is essential for operators to be able
to provide new services such as IoT
and smart B2B2C services such as
home automation, health or energy
Video services including 4K everywhere will be key drivers for Gigabit speeds (Photo: TDC)
Sponsored by
Owning the Gigabit home
Service providers have the brand reputation and trust to play a key role in the future connected home
“Operators are realising that
the value of their customer
relationship does not stop at the
Lionel Gremeau (SoftAtHome) also considers it a problem if
other (third-party) devices perform
routing or management roles for applications on the home network. “Retail devices can create big headaches
for the network and in the end, the
user will blame the operator for any
bad connectivity,” he declares.
He says it is in the interests of
the operator to provide sufficient performance and capacity on their own
home gateway to remove the attraction of retail devices. He warns that a
failure to invest in customer premise
equipment will position the operator
as a dumb pipe. And yes, operators
can afford the combination of goodlooks and performance to ensure
their own gateways can fight off retail competition, he says, pointing to
the latest Orange residential gateway,
the Livebox 4, as an example.
Speaking at ANGA COM recently, where the dominant theme for
the show was Gigabit broadband and
the Gigabit home, Steve Heeb, President and General Manager of RDK
Management, noted that RDK-B will
make it easier for service providers
to diversify the kind of broadband
gateways and routers they offer to
consumers, including high-end gateways for more demanding customers.
This could be important if there is
more competition to perform gateway functions.
RDK-B is the shared source
software platform for broadband
devices, designed to encourage SoC
innovation, more device competition and ultimately more and faster
service innovation. Broadband device ‘agility’ is now an opportunity
for service providers, Heeb believes.
“They have a huge opportunity
to provide a router or gateway with
advanced services, like being a Web
companion that you can talk to and
which will schedule your appointments.” These are features seen on
the Amazon Echo wireless speaker.
Depending on the country,
there will be a subset of broadband
subscribers who are willing to pay
for a good-looking device with advanced services on it, Heeb confirms.
“This is an opportunity for operators
to keep customers happy and potentially sell them new services.”
Referring to the possibility
that consumers may use third-party
Sponsored by
Owning the Gigabit home
video in the near-term, including 4K
video. “At some point, Gigabit broadband will become the standard home
broadband subscription, but the
looming question is when?”
It may be a nascent market
but Gigabit broadband is already
changing consumer perceptions and
therefore service provider marketing.
Kendall explains: “Currently, operators view Gigabit tiers of service as
a premium offering, with a corresponding price tag. It can, however,
be leveraged as a powerful marketing
tool to sell higher subscription tiers,
resulting in higher ARPUs, while
looking towards a time when Gigabit
speeds will become normal.
“While consumers have not, by
and large, begun subscribing to Gigabit tiers of service, Gigabit speeds
are currently a very important marketing tool. The offering itself has
tremendous upsell and churn possibilities for operators. So while widespread adoption has yet to occur, it
has in a way become a differentiator
in the market.”
Charles Cheevers at ARRIS
The widely deployed E6000 Converged Edge Router from ARRIS
emphasises: “User experience is key
to growing customers and the uptake
of new services and this needs to be
“While widespread adoption of
built on burst-level Gigabit capacity,
Gigabit speeds has yet to occur, it
both to the home and in the home.
has become a differentiator in the
87% of all devices now connect on
in the home and the Wi-Fi
network needs to match the capabilretail routers, like the OnHub from throughput, operators are offering ity of the multi-Gigabit DOCSIS 3.1
Google, Kendall at IHS Technology more technologically advanced con- network for best user experience.
says there will always be users who sumer premise equipment. Opera“We are seeing the first true
buy their own equipment, but opera- tors are realising that the value of commercial VR services coming and
tor investment in CPE will continue their customer relationship does it is an application that only works
to push the envelope.
not stop at the wall, but exists in the when the user believes what they see
He thinks the customer rela- home network itself,” he comments.
and that what they are immersed in is
tionship is at the heart of how you
Kendall observes that broad- real. To achieve reality, the networkwin the Gigabit home, and talks band offers are not widely adopted to-eye needs to deliver Gigabit speed
about a partnership with consumers. yet, “but that does not mean there is at ultra-low latency. This can be
“Having recognised that consumers no demand in the market.” He says achieved on DOCSIS 3.1 and future
measure the value of their broad- take-up of the ultra-fast broadband generations and must be achieved
band subscription by their Wi-Fi services will be driven mainly by over home wireless connections too.”
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