Gigabit availability is arriving at US households at lightning speeds: in June 2018, 63% of housing units -- 74% of the cable broadband footprint -- have access to 1Gbp/s, up 7% in three months, according to a report published this month by CableLabs.
In March 2018, 56% of US housing units -- or 66% of the cable broadband footprint -- had gigabit service or faster from their local cable operator, CableLabs reported in September 2018. That's because providers are heavily investing in their infrastructures in order to empower consumers and businesses to tap into capabilities that gigabit service delivers, wrote Mark Walker, director of Technology Policy at CableLabs, in a blog on the organization's website.
"CableLabs and the cable industry are continuing to advance the capacity and performance in each segment of the cable broadband network to remain well-ahead of consumer demand," he wrote. "We are focused on developing innovative network technologies in the areas of coax (e.g., DOCSIS 3.1 and full duplex DOCSIS), fiber (e.g., coherent optics in the access network) and wireless (e.g., WiFi and 5G), as well as defining optimal network architectures to provide the necessary capacity and performance in each segment of the network for today's gigabit services and those anticipated in the future."
While DOCSIS traditionally has provided asymmetric service, users increasingly create content -- such as video and gaming -- that demands symmetrical streaming. The anticipated increase of uses including telemedicine and the arrival of 5G with its as-yet-unknown use cases is only expected to place more need for equal up- and down-stream speeds. That's where D3.1 is heading, according to CableLabs, which has completed the FDX DOCSIS specifications and predicts commercial availability of "conforming network equipment with the next calendar year," according to its Fall 2018 InformED Insights report.
In addition, CableLabs is focused on adapting coherent optical transmission, typically used in metro and long-haul fiber networks, for use in access networks. By using coherent optic technologies, service providers could increase the per-strand capacity in their access networks by orders of magnitude compared with today's optical access technologies, the industry group said. Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) -- which helps enable deployment of fiber deeper into cable networks -- and consumers' demand for ever-higher speeds are driving this need for more fiber capacity in the access network.
Likewise, mobile wireless back-haul, 5G and commercial services also spur on optical fiber's development. To address this, CableLabs released two specifications for point-to-point coherent optics earlier this year.
On the wireless front, CableLabs developed protocols for WiFi proactive network maintenance (WiFi PNM) and global standards for WiFi performance, data elements and residential WiFi mesh networks. Most CableLabs members also are mobile network operators, and CableLabs released an addition to the DOCSIS specification to enable HFC networks to more effectively provide mobile wireless backhaul services to support increased deployment of small cell architectures and, eventually, 5G, the group said.
The industry organization's major initiatives will address broadband differentiation based on quality of experience, global test labs for services, 5G, multi-access strategies and more, say CEO Robin Mersh and CMO Geoff Burke in an interview with BBWN.
After NTIA asked for public comments on map improvements in October 2018, the FCC decommissioned the agency's broadband map in early December but did not say whether it will use any of the public's great ideas on its own (largely panned) map.
Mike Zeto, GM of AT&T's Smart Cities division, expects metro areas to adopt platforms to manage multi-departmental IoT solutions once internal processes are aligned and more agencies are involved in smart city applications.
Consumers are buying millions of IoT devices, from smart thermostats and security systems to intelligent entertainment setups and furniture. Yet many of these devices remain isolated because home users are uncomfortable connecting them to each other – or even their WiFi. After all, their WiFi network was probably designed only to handle a few laptops, a gaming system and a couple of smartphones. Now, demand on the network is surging and even though you're delivering 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, that doesn't necessarily mean the broadband power is in the right place or reaches every corner of a home.
Even if WiFi coverage is sufficient, typing is not on trend. Voice is far more natural, easier and faster. Using a TV keyboard is archaic when more and more households have access to cloud-based voice services, like Amazon Alexa. This webinar will explore how service providers can create a comfortable, truly smart home for consumers – simultaneously driving up margin and loyalty.
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on Thursday, November 1 at 8 a.m. PT, 11 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. UK as Ronan Kelly, CTO, EMEA & APAC Regions at ADTRAN, explores the five pillars of network integrity -- a topic he discussed during his recent Broadband World Forum keynote. Register now!