Why carriers must focus on home networking solutions to satisfy the hunger for bandwidth and to free their clients
If you compare the penetration rate of broadband connections per citizen in the EU from mid-2007 to mid-2017, the number has grown by more than 86 percent. You don’t have to be a visionary to predict, the annual growth rates will continue to stay at a very high level. But it is time to shift the spotlight away from purely focusing on providing highspeed Internet access to customers.
The home network – a bottle neck
The reasons are obvious: It’s good to have a strong highspeed connection. But what’s the use, if clients cannot experience the power when trying to stream UHD content, when moving around the house with their tablet, when gaming? That’s what happens when users connect more and more devices to their home network, subscribe to new OTT services and roam through their home – while at the same time they haven’t installed a home network that can keep up with these bandwidth-consuming trends.
What’s worse: Customers get frustrated about weak performance. And they blame their carrier for it, affecting its Net Promoter Score and the churn rate. Instead of just focusing on promoting highspeed access, carriers therefore must actively offer stronger high-performance home networking solutions as well.
Entering the “black box”
This means entering what’s often a “black box” for them – their client’s home. It’s a black box, because carriers hardly know a thing about the housing situation, the size of their home – let alone the material it is built from. Yet, they should actively provide customers with a solution, that address the demands, their clients have. A solution offering both: On the one hand freedom to move around, to seamlessly roam throughout the home – and on the other hand strong network performance in every room. But aren’t WiFi products the right answer for all scenarios, independent of size or shape of the home?
Best of both worlds: WiFi plus PLC
Not really: Some WiFi only solutions might promise seamless connections, but thick walls and concrete ceilings still often block the Internet signal; physical boundaries will always affect the performance of these products. Instead, it makes much sense to use a technology which can overcome these boundaries by using existing power lines as “backbone” to transmit data across the entire home. Leveraging intelligent WiFi technology ensures, user’s devices always have the strongest connection to that backbone.
A solution, combining WiFi and powerline communications (PLC) therefore provides “best of both worlds”. The world market leader in powerline communications is German based devolo AG, which also acts as OEM provider to leading carriers and ISPs across Europe and abroad. To date, devolo has shipped over 36 million of its “dLAN” PLC-adapters – clear proof of the strong performance of the technology.
To further advance its offering, devolo will soon equip its adapters with Smart WiFi technology, thus solving typical WiFi problems. For this purpose, the devolo technology combines the core functions of Airtime Fairness, WiFi Roaming and Band Steering: Airtime Fairness assigns an equal amount of transmission time to all WiFi Devices, thus preventing slow devices from blocking WiFi. WiFi Roaming ensures that devices are always automatically connected to the strongest access point instead of "sticking" to one access point. The devolo adapters also use Band Steering to flexibly select the right channel and "push" devices either into the 2.4 or 5 GHz frequency band.
Using a high-performance solution combining PLC and WiFi, carriers can meet the challenges, changing user habits bring about – to position themselves as enabler of a great user experience.
Michael Himmels, VP Engineering, develo AG will be giving a keynote address at this year’s Gigabit Access event. Michael will share his expertise on how home networks can open up opportunities for operators to improve their NPS and customer relationships. Held in Brussels from the 10-11 April, Gigabit Access will bring together the key stakeholders from Europe’s fibre broadband sector. Click here for the full agenda.