The Connected Home Division of Technicolor today announces the availability of Cobra 5G, an indoor customer premises equipment (CPE) solution that provides an ultimate fixed wireless access (FWA) modem and high-fidelity Wi-Fi router functionality in a single enclosure.
The device addresses the connectivity and performance issues created by signal attenuation —or weakening—as traffic passes through the walls of homes. Even if outdoor deployment remains the way to reach highest 5G speeds (see Technicolor’s 5G Omni Outdoor CPE), wherever possible, operators prioritize the one-unit self-install indoor CPE deployment as it reduces the total cost of ownership for the FWA service.
Optimizing 5G Access to the Home
While network operators have been aggressively rolling out 5G FWA services to subscribers by leveraging the newly available C-band spectrum, attenuation has prevented NSPs from delivering a reliable single-unit in-door solution.
“Signals from the FWA connections weaken as they travel through household walls and other barriers. This can prompt users to consume lower band 5G resources for FWA applications. This creates congestion and impact smartphone/mobile services which typically use lower band frequencies,” said Girish Naganathan, Chief Technology Officer of Technicolor Connected Home. “It not only creates poor customer experiences for users, but also prevents carriers that have invested significantly in national 3.5GHz auctions from optimizing their returns on these investments.”
For instance, typical fixed broadband users consume 300GB of data per month compared to 4G mobile device plans—which operate below the 3.5GHz band—that have an average usage of 30GB per month. When a significant portion of FWA traffic is pushed to lower bands congestion is created, reducing performance.
The Cobra 5G solution from Technicolor Connected Home leverages its breakthrough Indoor5G™ technology to manage traffic in a dynamic and intelligent manner. It allows the antennas in the gateway device to self-optimize by automatically tuning the direction and configuration of its internal antenna system to ensure the best 3.5Ghz reception from operators’ towers. By improving 3.5GHz downlink and uplink throughput performance, NSPs avoid loading lower frequencies with heavy home broadband FWA traffic.
Cobra 5G, powered by Qualcomm Technologies leading 5G solutions – Qualcomm® Fixed Wireless Access Platform Gen 2 featuring Snapdragon® X65 and X62 5G Modem-RF Systems – brings FWA to a new level (coverage improvement, increased system capacity and higher user experience). Superior performances are achieved with Snapdragon X65 thanks to its 8Rx antenna design, 3x Carrier Aggregation 5G downlink capability, its wide 200MHz 5G bandwidth and a transmit power enhanced by 3dB in 3.5Ghz range. These capabilities will yield even more benefits when the networks migrate to 5G SA. This is making Cobra 5G the most future-proof indoor CPE on the market.
“Qualcomm Technologies global 5G leadership and technology solutions have been pivotal towards supporting the proliferation and adoption of 5G and FWA to drive cost-effective, accessible connectivity infrastructure for global communities,” said Gautam Sheoran, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We congratulate Technicolor on this exciting milestone to drive enhanced performance and experiences with Cobra 5G.”
This is the latest development in Technicolor Connected Home’s ongoing commitment to leveraging open and innovative technologies for NSPs around the world. The ultimate goal is to help NSPs deliver seamless connectivity and premium entertainment experiences to consumers by creating best-in-class CPE and partnering with the most innovative companies in the connected home ecosystem.
Delivering Comprehensive Wi-Fi Coverage Throughout the Home
The early generations of 4G/5G mobile CPE technologies have struggled to meet the in-home expectations of consumers. The lower-than-average Wi-Fi performance, and lack of innovative offerings—like managed services—have hampered the ability of operators to scale their existing FWA service offering. It has relegated many FWA providers to simply offering purely data pipes.
Cobra 5G, by contrast, leverages Technicolor Connected Home application-oriented middleware, based on OpenWRT and RDK-B standards deployed in over 150 million homes. Thus, Cobra 5G improves in-home experience and fosters the deployment of services that help consumers manage connectivity and troubleshoot problems.
Because Technicolor Connected Home has designed Cobra 5G on top of these open technologies, third-party applications (security, gaming, smart home w/ data analytics, energy savings…), developed by Technicolor Connected Home HERO partners, can be pre-integrated into the CPE solution to meet the needs and desires of NSP subscribers. This means operators can now offer the same services to their FWA subscribers as they do for their fiber, copper, and cable customers.
Finally, Cobra 5G offers the ability to deliver comprehensive connected home coverage with 500 Mbps throughput in every corner of the home. It transmits the maximum power allowed by regulation to maximize Wi-Fi coverage and can be supplemented with extenders that run on EasyMesh R2 software, which is also based on open industry standards.
“This product is there for operators to offer much more than just data services. Cobra 5G’s middleware enables the integration of applications that will drive and develop new revenue streams,” said Naganathan.