This year’s ANGA COM in Cologne was rich with new insights for cable operators preparing to accommodate greater demands on hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) networks.
As operators are working to make their access networks more efficient, improve broadband speeds to the home and enhance wireless experiences inside the home, Intel is helping the industry accelerate progress in all of these areas.
At the event, experts from Intel contributed to two panels to share ideas about how the latest technologies — including 10 Gigabit access networks and artificial intelligence (AI) — can help operators achieve their goals. In addition, AVM announced its new DOCSIS 3.1 cable gateway with Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) that is based on Intel technology. Here are a few technology insights from ANGA COM 2019.
1. Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet will bring significant improvements in home connectivity.
The new Wi-Fi 6 standard delivers an enormous performance leap in wireless connectivity. But did you know that Wi-Fi 6 also gives cable operators a new level of network manageability? With Wi-Fi 6, operators can now control traffic between the infrastructure and the client in a very provisioned manner to manage the unique needs of each connected device. In short, Wi-Fi 6 will allow cable operators to deliver the fastest, most consistent home Wi-Fi their customers have ever experienced.
Innovations in wired connectivity offer another way to make the most of the faster speeds available via enhanced cable access networks. 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) increases bandwidth without the need to change cables, works with existing infrastructure (Cat5e and Cat6 cabling) and is more cost-effective and consumes less power than 5 GbE or 10 GbE.
Intel is leading the transition to both Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5 GbE with solutions for both PCs and home routers and gateways that are optimized with the user experience in mind. AVM recently announced the industry’s first dual-band concurrent 2x2-stream DOCSIS 3.1 cable gateway with Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+). The AVM FRITZ!Box 6660 uses the Intel Home Wi-Fi Chipset WAV600 Series and Intel’s 2.5 GbE solution, making it Gig+ capable for faster browsing, streaming and gaming on Gig+-capable PCs connected to the gateway. With this gateway, cable operators will have an affordable way to deliver exceptional performance for both wireless and wired connectivity as a larger number of devices connect to the home network.
2. Innovations in the HFC network will get us to 10 Gigabit, and then to 25 Gigabit.
We already know we need a 10 Gigabit access network to deliver on rising demands for speed and capacity. Beyond the known experiences that can benefit from 10 Gigabit speeds — like immersive VR and online gaming — we expect new use cases we haven’t yet envisioned, making it imperative to design for a future we can’t predict. As content producers continue to create rich experiences that require more bandwidth, services greater than 10 Gbps could be the market requirement as early as 2023.
At ANGA COM, industry executives — including Bob Ferreira, Intel’s GM of connected home strategy and technology — discussed the key challenges and opportunities with 10 Gigabit. The discussion touched on how the technology and deployment decisions we make for 10 Gigabit could also pave the way toward an economically feasible 25 Gigabit HFC in the future. This would further extend the life of DOCSIS and allow the industry to continue utilizing the HFC to deliver fiber-like speeds.
The good news is that 10 Gigabit is already working in labs today and we expect trials to start in customer homes as early as spring 2020. To support broader, worldwide deployment after that, Intel will deliver 10 Gigabit-ready technology from network infrastructure to home gateways.
3. AI is the smart way to prepare network analytics and automation for waves of new apps and traffic.
Today, AI is ready to help operators prepare for the connectivity demands of new, intelligent devices. As industry experts discussed at ANGA COM, automation was only a dream for network managers 20 years ago. Now that compute, storage and network bandwidth costs have all dropped (while performance has increased), running these complex applications and services has become much more affordable.
AI is all about working smarter, and it can help operators run their networks more efficiently by automating fault, performance and capacity management tasks. But AI can also go further, analyzing massive amounts of data to find patterns that human experts can’t recognize — all leading to better-than-human performance.
AI goes hand in hand with network virtualization. AI and machine learning will be needed to mine the more than one-hundred-fold increase in telemetry data in a timely manner. Standards-based servers have powerful compute resources to flawlessly run virtualized network workloads while also generating and collecting real-time telemetry data. As a result, these servers are able to store and process much more data than fixed-function appliances. AI is particularly well suited for event correlation and pattern recognition for millions of network events and transactions per minute.
Together, AI and network virtualization can help operators cut their OpEx spending by enabling heuristics-based automation. With this type of automation, it is possible to implement preventative and proactive network management procedures and cost-optimized service delivery capabilities. For example, AI systems can learn peak and off-peak network traffic patterns tied to subscriber usage and then apply adjustments to the CPU core frequency of the servers running the DOCSIS workload. This optimizes power consumption to conserve energy and reduce costs.
Prepare for the future of cable
Intel is helping the cable industry keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies like Wi-Fi 6, 10 Gigabit and AI. To learn more about Intel’s breadth of solutions — from the connected home and access network to the service provider edge and data center — visit intel.com/cable.