Stephen Hoskins, Senior Director of Product Management at Technicolor’s Connected Home Division, explains how new technology developments in home gateways have opened the door to delivering 10Gbps fiber services to the home.
This capacity, he says, will be needed to meet an ever-growing demand for data as interest in increasingly immersive experiences rises. This demand will create new requirements for delivering and managing bandwidth throughout the home using state-of-the-art Wi-Fi.
Hoskins: Ten gigabit per second fiber gateways are used by network operators that are supplying fiber to the home as opposed to copper lines for DSL, or coax lines for cable. They bring the fiber into the home, terminate it at the gateway, and distribute the signal throughout the home using Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
Technicolor has a 10Gbps gateway that has a very powerful Wi-Fi and gigabit Ethernet LAN, so it can be a very powerful platform for providing Internet and video services to the entire home.
Hoskins: Technicolor has a very strong background in providing gateways of all kinds to residences: both for coax cable operators and for DSL services provided by telco operators.
Fiber is the next thing for operators. We see a big opportunity there. The fiber market has been small, but it is growing. It has doubled in the last two to three years. That gets our attention.
Last year, Technicolor shipped over a million GPON fiber gateways and we see that number growing. We believe that 10Gbps fiber will grow to account for about 10 percent of the fiber market in the next three years or so.
So 10Gbps is a big opportunity, a big space. We have the right background for it and I think we can help make network operators successful by getting into this technology.
Hoskins: GPON is the sweet spot today in fiber networking. A lot of network operators are installing it to get faster data access to the home. It is a shared medium delivering 2.5 gigabits per second downstream and 1.25 gigabits per second upstream.
In greenfield sites where operators have to install new access technology to the home, fiber is the right choice because it futureproofs the network connection.
Hoskins: Ten gigabit will be targeted initially. It is pretty new. We are focusing on a couple of leading operators in North America who will blaze the trail and establish the standards. I think all other operators around the world will be watching to see how they go.
Once 10Gbps is established in North America, I think it will spread around the world and become generally deployed, but for now it is pretty much limited to North America.
Hoskins: It does. The 10Gbps fiber is a shared medium, which makes it very economical. You can run one fiber from a pedestal or network access point, do a 16-way split or a 32-way split, and then deliver very high speed data to multiple units over a single fiber.
It makes a lot of sense for multi-dwelling units because operators can terminate the fiber in the basement of the building and distribute the signal to multiple apartments.
They can do the same thing in neighborhoods by doing 32- or 64-way splits and deliver hundreds of megabits per second to each dwelling.
Hoskins: Data rates are going up, that’s for sure. If you look at data usage in North America, some people are taking in low single digit megabits per second. But a lot of people are paying to get close to 100 megabits. And demand is growing fast, largely driven by video.
Many people are getting their video over the Internet today. There’s lots of YouTube usage; all kinds of video is being shared. And in the future there will be virtual reality and augmented reality. Hundreds of megabits per second will be required for some of this traffic.
Whether it’s gaming, virtual reality, or 360-degree video, this category of traffic is driving the need for higher data rates. I sometimes ask audiences when I am speaking at forums what data rates they have in their homes. For the groups I address, it is usually about 100 megabits per second. You can imagine that in three years that activity can creep up to 300 megabits, or 500 megabits.
There are already people getting a gigabit into their homes today. They are the early adopters, but their numbers will grow faster and faster. Operators will need 10Gbps per second coming into a hub or into a neighborhood so they can service this demand for ever faster data access.
Hoskins: We simply had the opportunity to do that. We have early access programs with the major silicon providers, both for the fiber termination and for the high speed Wi-Fi that is needed to work with it. We also have early adoption agreements with some of the network providers that are working in 10Gbps.
These advantages coupled with our proven track record delivering similar gateways to network operators around the world enabled us to get in on the ground floor of the 10Gbps technology and work with it as it evolves.
Hoskins: Virtual reality is certainly hot, and I think you will see a lot of it at trade shows in 2017. People are entering that space and the data rates needed for immersive video are very high.
We are predicting as much as 8K resolution will be required for the virtual reality goggles, and that might be 8K per eye.
The current big thing is 4K resolution, with new TVs coming on the market that are supporting this technology to increase bandwidth consumption. If virtual reality pushes resolution up to 8K per eye, it will increase the need for bandwidth exponentially.
Besides video, there is a proliferation of devices in every home. These are not all super high data rate devices like virtual reality, but they all drive the data rate demand up. There are more Internet of Things devices coming online: door locks, windows, alarm systems, thermostat controls, and light controls.
Finally, there is a more mundane thing driving demand for 10Gbps fiber and that is greenfield opportunities. In North America, for example, there are scores of new housing developments being built, new apartment developments, and they will use fiber because it futureproofs the network.
We see this happening around the world also, especially in South East Asia and China. Service providers in these regions are providing access to more and more homes for the first time and when they do…they bring in the latest and greatest technology. They don’t bring in yesterday’s technology.
All these things together – virtual reality, more and more devices, and greenfield installations – are driving the demand for 10Gbps.
Hoskins: We have been doing our homework for quite a while. About a year ago, we started laying out our circuits, because we have early adopter agreements with the major silicon providers. We have had circuit boards running in the labs now for quite some time. We are running 10Gbps right now on the fiber side, and we have 10Gbps running on the Wi-Fi side as well. Technicolor has developed a 10Gbps gateway. We have spun three versions of the board, so it is very mature, and it is very versatile
On the fiber side, it can do multiple flavors of gigabit fiber. It can do XGS-PON, which is 10Gbps down and 10Gbps up. It can do NG-PON2, which is multiple wavelengths of 10Gbps fiber. It can do some of the EPON standards. It can do the plain old GPON standard. It can do active Ethernet.
On the Wi-Fi side, it is state of the art. It uses 8 x 8 [eight transmit and eight receive antennas], which means it can support 10Gbps on the Wi-Fi side, as well as Ethernet LAN.
It is the hottest thing out there. We have it running in our labs right now and we will be ready to put this into people’s homes by the end of 2017.Show less