Devolo look at the challenges and opportunities presented by smart home networks

Strong, high performing home networks are defined by three key aspects: availability, performance and convenience. Availability refers to the fact, that especially within detached or row houses as well as apartments with several floors a single device – namely a router – simply is not enough to ensure Wi-Fi coverage and internet access where it is needed. Hence, home networks have to consist of multiple devices.

A distributed network with several devices then must deliver high performance to cope with the growing need for higher bandwidth caused by services like video-on-demand or online-gaming. Therefore, the network needs a strong backbone. The most reasonable solution is to use the powerline: Thus, the signal is not impeded by thick walls or reinforced concrete ceilings as it would be, if a network is purely Wi-Fi based. 

With the next generation of powerline-products based on the latest generation of chips, such as the new devolo Magic series, this backbone is stronger than ever. Also, using PLC as the backbone helps save valuable Wi-Fi spectrum which is crucial as the need for additional bandwidth further increases, driven by data-hungry services and applications.


From device-orientation to a network-centric viewpoint

But convenience, the third aspect, is getting more and more important as well. For obvious reasons: Customers shouldn’t have to struggle with installation, set-up or troubleshooting issues of numerous devices. They should simply be able to rely on the network to function on its own.

Many operators therefore realize, they should shift from being device-oriented to a network-centric viewpoint. This mindset is based on a network that is gaining more and more intelligence and will evolve into a self-organising network (SON). Depending on the vendor, the naming for self-organizing network approaches differs. The abbreviation ‘SON’ is widely used, but it does not define the exact implementation. It is widely accepted though, SON covers the four pillars self-configuring, self-managing and – in the future – self-defending and self-healing.

Config-Sync: A step beyond SON

Recent trends towards in-home SON solutions mainly address the network aspect handled on the network layer 3. They focus on enabling full and seamless in-home Wi-Fi mobility by dealing with four issues: In-home roaming and solving the problem with sticky clients, band steering in overcrowded network environments, airtime fairness for optimal bandwidth distribution and finally meshing as a solution to extend coverage.

However, the aspect of comfort features – handled on the application layer 7 – are still out of scope. Therefore, devolo developed its ‘Config Sync’ feature set to address user experience in its entirety. Based on standard protocols, the solution provides automated handling of any existing or future comfort features across the home network. Examples are parental control settings, guest Wi-Fi settings or switching off the Wi-Fi network in certain rooms during night-time. By opening up APIs, they could easily be integrated into native operator apps thus providing additional services to customers. Moreover, call rates might significantly decrease if networks with SON capability could either solve issues themselves or assist customers to find a solution before contacting the support hotline. 

The addition of the self-configuration approaches of SON in combination with Config Sync is the optimal base to enhance customer’s freedom to use the service they want where they want by providing an unlimited WiFi experience. The combined approach changes the customer perception from a network consisting of individual devices to a single entity, thus optimizing his network experience.

To learn how to deliver higher speed, higher customer satisfaction and lower churn rate, Sebastian Richter – Director Product Creation of devolo AG will share his expertise on ‘How operators can benefit from perfect home networking’ at our upcoming Total Telecom Congress 2018. Come and join Sebastian by registering for a pass here

Click here to download devolo’s latest EBook, entitled Perfect in Home Networks – Today and Tomorrow.