Home Gateway Trends at a Glance

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18 February 2018

Many changes are going on in the broadband market place. The main aspect today is the need to increase the bandwidth to the home in both the down-link and the up-link directions. The main driver of this need is video content that is widely demanded at home and small business environments. But this is not the whole story. In the era of 2020, another aspect is expected to dominate the market, the demand for more and more applications and new services in the home environment. This demand will continue to increase as the concept of IoT evolves and materializes. The IoT[1] market is projected to reach 50 Billion units, which in effect will require the Home Gateway to evolve from being just a broadband device to becoming a device/system that delivers services. The data aggregated from activities at home, will bring the service provider into a new venue of Artificial Intelligence evolving in this era, and will lead the machine to learn (AI) the home and act on it.

The change is leading to a paradigm shift from the point of view of the operators and the service providers. Currently the focus is on delivering the signal from the cloud to the home entrance, concentrating mainly on the last mile. The competition is primarily on the ability to deliver the best throughput in the up-link and down-link directions, using technologies such as Cables, ADSL, VDSL, and GPON. With the evolving IoT, the cheese moves to the home network distribution where the cash cow resides. Hence, in addition to high bandwidth, the operators need to ensure that their 'bits' can seamlessly reach the IoT devices, and that they can deliver 4k and 8k streaming video and other content to fixed and mobile devices. This is a shift in the paradigm, the architecture of the signal path needs to change perspective and focus on the services provided to the customer.

One technology that can help achieve this goal is caching more data close to the target. On one hand it may increase the CAPEX expense for the operators. On the other hand, it may save on OPEX, rolling the truck.

Wireless solutions make it easier to live, work and play. With an ever-growing number of devices using Wi-Fi, along with the emergence of IoT, Wi-Fi networks need to manage dense usage, increased data traffic and a diverse mix of applications and services with differing needs. The IEEE 802.11ax draft, the next step in the evolution of Wi-Fi, is specifically designed for such dense connectivity and variability. To resolve technical challenges such as power and capacity, 802.11ax will provide a four-fold improvement in spectral efficiency when compared to 802.11ac, using MU MIMO, BPSK up to 1024QAM depending on the channel conditions, operation in the 2.4 and 5 GHz ISM bands, and full duplex radio for spectral efficiency. The

Wi-Fi standards moved to the 5-GHz band to reduce contention with 2.4-GHz household appliances. The draft 802.11ax also moved to OFDMA with a longer symbol time, which provides better RF resilience. The advancement of using 2.4 and 5 GHz enables better separation between the Access Point and the extenders. The decision of the band selection may be programmable, based on local topology, by the home gateway. Yet, to these days it is not clear how long the certification process will last.

Most of the semiconductor companies are addressing the Wi-Fi market. More than 50 companies have offerings of SoCs or other companion chips. Out of the 50 semiconductor companies, only part is in the effort of producing SoCs that implement the 802.11ax draft. This is not sufficient for such an emerging market.[2]

The home gateway market is growing and is expected to reach its top market value around 2030. This market is served by the following home gateway manufactures: Calix, Comtrend, Pace, ZTE, Actiontec Electronics, Ericsson, Nokia, Arris Enterprises, Cisco Systems, Audio Codes, AVM, Humax, Sagemcom, Technicolor, Huawei Technologies, Zhone Technologies, ZyXEL Communications, Shenzhen Gongjin Electronics and others. The interest in the home gateway market covers the Ethernet Access Manufactures, Operators and service providers from all over the globe: The United States, Europe, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. In addition, to the IEEE 802.11ax draft, Security and Fault Management services provide a competitive advantage to service providers for seamless operation in the IoT and 4k/8k streaming, and VR era.

When this infrastructure will get close to 80% maturity, it will be the basis for widespread services and applications based on Artificial Intelligence, driven from the database that naturally will be yielded from the home-gateway, that will be a hub of customer usage information and behaviors. This is another endless source of revenues, similar to revenues generated based on credit card transaction information, mobile usage, Facebook etc.

Take away:

  • Service providers need to assess CAPEX and OPEX 'smartly' in order to harvest revenues
    • Caching technology
    • Fault Management
    • Distribution to end devices
  • The IEEE 802.11ax standard is a technology enabler
  • IoT and 4k/8k video streaming are the drivers
  • Home Gateway will generate the basis for future AI services

We can see a new market evolving which will adapt many attributes from the home gateway market, namely the Automotive market. The CAR Gateway Market [CGM] is just around the corner and will be based on mobile operators as Service Providers. This might also result in tickets issued remotely.

Last modified on Sunday, 18 February 2018 05:50
Moshe Bublil

Independent Consulting for Technology Breeding.
Amir Technologies.