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BROADBAND ACCESS

The behaviour of residential or business subscribers was similar


and predictable in the past.

The customers of today are dissimilar in profile and


behaviour, and they no longer demand the same basic services.
So the key challenge to operators now is how to provide the
bandwidth and services that subscribers want, and yet still make
a profit?

Introduction – more speed, more services, more Flexibility

Broadband@Home
From the point of view of a network subscriber, freedom comes
from mobility and choice. Traditional narrowband access had
characteristic drawbacks (e.g. dial-up delays and session time-
outs).

Now, the direct availability of products, services and


applications in the
homes of subscribers is one of the main factors behind the
growing demand for broadband connections.

The demands of residential users and the services and


applications that meet them can be summarized:

'Always On' Fast Internet – no dial-up delays, no session time-


outs, bundled voice and data.

Video on Demand – film downloading and immediate visualization.


Interactive Gaming – high-quality sound and images over the
Internet allowing several participants from different places to play
simultaneously.

Internet via Television – TV customized browser for basic


applications such as e-mail, chat, browsing and T-commerce (TV
channels that offer products and services via the Internet).

Voice over IP – cost-effective voice communication and packet


data delivered over any medium.

Interactive TV and Appliances – ‘intelligent’ domestic appliances


such as refrigerators that monitor consumption and automatically
order replenishments.

Home Safety and Security – accessibility (locking/unlocking of


doors, switching lights on/off) and the ability to monitor home alarms
via the Internet.

Wireless Home – Bluetooth connections offering such services as


remote home control, cordless Internet and radio access.

True Multi-service Combined 3G and Wireline – delivery of


services from the mobile network (voice, SMS, WAP, etc.) over the
fixed backbone and access networks.

Broadband@Work
Businesses, like residential end-users, need more capacity,
functionality and services. However, as well as the common
demand for high-speed Internet access, businesses – whether
home offices or corporate enterprises – have certain
requirements that residential subscribers do not have.

In summary, businesses need:


Voice over DSL – multiple voice channels and high speed data
delivered over a single copper pair, as well as dynamic bandwidth
allocation with voice prioritization.

IP Telephony – high-quality voice with Centrex services over any


medium.

Bandwidth on Demand – remote and instant allocation of


broadband capacity according to customer needs, enabling self-
management of the required bandwidth.

Video Services – video conferencing and the distribution of moving


images and sound.

IP Virtual Private Network (VPN) – use of the public network to


make safe, virtual connections between geographically separate
locations.

Distance Working – remote access to files and file sharing.

The challenge to operators


The main challenge for operators, when implementing
broadband, is to do so quickly and cost-efficiently.

The capability to provide all the aforementioned services


requires the construction of highly scalable, reliable, optimized
networks that can deliver Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees to
many subscribers simultaneously.

Operators must be competitive, yet still make a profit. They must


support an entire range of services and functionality, maintain
legacy networks, and remain confident that their investment in
new
networks is future-proof.
And they must be able to offer bundled services that allow
customers to obtain all their communication needs from one
provider. For these reasons, operators are converging
their services on to a single, multi-service network, as illustrated
below.

Meeting the challenge – broadband or ‘broader’


band

Residence Business
Home office Single home
Multi-tenant Small office
Enterprise

To serve these different customer segments, operators must


choose an appropriate access medium – copper, fiber, or fixed
radio.

And they must have solutions that reach from the network
backbone right up to the end-users, thus providing the
broadband services that are required – VoDSL, IP telephony,
VPNs, video services, managed bandwidth, 'always-on' Internet,
etc.

Implementation: Residential access


Access to residential subscribers can be provided by several
means including copper, fiber and cable.

ADSL is the natural choice for those operators who want to


provide broadband while making use of the existing copper
network.
Operators who wish to provide high bandwidth networks to local
communities (housing complexes), can implement fiber optic
cable. Cable operators also have a good opportunity to deliver
broadband services to esidential and business subscribers by
using their existing infrastructure.

ADSL for residential users


ADSL is a technology for providing fast broadband access to
residential end-users (8 Mbit/s downstream: 1 Mbit/s upstream).
For network operators and Internet service providers, ADSL
technology offers an almost unlimited opportunity to supply
broadband services to nearly every residential user anywhere in
the world, via the existing copper network.
For residential users the value of ADSL technology resides in
the broadband services that it can deliver – ‘Always-on’ fast
Internet, home working, telemedicine, video, e-commerce,
telemetry and other applications still to be realized.
Problems in ADSL deployment
The rollout of ADSL services has not been as rapid as first
anticipated. The problems inherent in traditional rollout methods
include:
- the complicated traditional installation and activation
processes themselves;
- reliance on manual work for key operations;
- the need to coordinate separate parts of an operator’s
organization that did not previously work closely together.

ADSL end-user services


For residential subscribers the value of ADSL technology
resides in the broadband services that it can deliver:

Always On' Fast Internet – 8 Mbit/s downstream, 1 Mbit/s


upstream.

Video on Demand – ADSL users can watch video films offered by


video providers. The TV is connected via a set-top-box.

Television Broadcasts – ADSL can carrying the video signals from


a TV broadcaster. Users connect their TVs via a video set-top-box.

Other services such as home working, telemedicine, e-commerce,


and telemetry.

Fiber access for residential users


The combination of fiber optic cable and Ethernet switches is an
ideal, IP-based solution that provides broadband access to local
communities, campuses and similar communal buildings.

It has QoS mechanisms for real-time services such as IP


telephony, TV broadcast and video distribution via IP. So fiber is
a very good carrier of present and future real-time services to
users, as shown in the graphic below.
The fiber solution is based on open protocols such as Ethernet
and IP, and it offers high bandwidth in both directions for
Internet and local services (symmetrical transmission speeds of
10 or 100 Mbit/s).

Fiber-Ethernet end-user services

A fiber-Ethernet access network should be designed to fulfil the


diversified needs of single residential and communal users.
These services include:

‘Always-On’ Fast Internet Access

Telephony over IP – users can phone directly through the IP


network or connect to the PSTN by the IP network. Separate cables for
telephony are not needed in the building area.

Video over IP – LCS users can access Video on Demand to watch


films offered by video providers. The TV set is connected to LCS via
a video box.
TV over IP – LCS can carry the video signals from a television
broadcaster. The users connect their TV sets via a video box.

Other services such as e-service systems, computer games, radio,


e-commerce, telemetry, tele-working and remote learning.

Broadband cable access for residential users


Many people believe that TV cables have a far greater capacity
to transmit images and information than telephone lines that
were made to carry voice signals only.

Similar to copper and fiber-based networks, cable TV (CATV)


networks can be used for handling Internet and multimedia data
(a maximum upstream capacity of 1 Mbit/s, and downstream
capacity 2 Mbit/s) – perhaps even better.

This is an interesting argument and may be difficult to dispute,


but there are other factors to consider – not least the question of
how well the CATV networks handle voice traffic.
Today’s cable access equipment has certain limitations, briefly
discussed here, that will continue to confront operators.

The main challenge is the ability to balance investments in


nfrastructure and the potential revenue gains offered by emerging IP-
based multimedia services.

And there is always the question of how CATV operators will be able to
break into the business segment without the ability to offer carrier-class
voice.

Broadband cable end-user services


To meet end-user demands for high-speed services, cable TV
networks provide a variety of residential, value-added, data
services. They include:

Always-on high speed Internet Access.


Online shopping and banking.
VPN.
On-line gaming.
Video conferencing.
Entertainment on-demand.
IP-based telephony service.

Problems with today’s cable networks


The inherent problem in today’s CATV networks is that, in order
to deliver multimedia and voice services, the network has been
constructed from different technological parts, mainly provided by
different vendors.

Consequently, network maintenance and troubleshooting are


poor.

The illustration above represents a typical CATV network. As


previously mentioned, some of its limitations include:
No carrier-class voice;
Lack of scalability;
Low performance;
Poor network management;
Expensive service and subscriber provisioning.

In general, the delivery of IP-based multimedia services to a very


high number of residential users requires a network
infrastructure that today’s CATV operators do not have. The
answer to this problem
is a single, integrated solution as seen below.

Small and medium enterprise access


Most small to medium enterprises (SMEs) would agree that
starting up their businesses at the lowest possible cost is the
first priority.

They don’t want to invest heavily in information infrastructure,


nor can they afford a lengthy wait before their basic
requirements are met by an operator.
Unlike residential subscribers, business users often need to
send out as much information as they receive. Security is
another major concern.
The ideal solution
The ideal SME solution is a multi-service access network
described in terms of functional entities located at different
nodes in the access network, and linked together over different
types of access technologies. All of this can be provided over a
Symmetric High Speed Digital subscriber Line (SHDSL).
SHDSL is a transmission technique which provides high-speed
symmetric data and voice transmission (2 Mbit/s –
up/downstream). The many advantages of SHDSL for business
users and operators include:
- use of the existing copper network
- use of existing equipment
- the provision of voice plus high-speed internet data over the
same copper pair.
For operators who wish to provide a ‘wireless' solution of this
type, the access node may very well be a radio node. The
obvious advantage here is that an office offering the same
combined voice and high-speed data can be set up in an area
that would not otherwise be reachable via traditional (wired)
broadband access methods.

SME network structure


The functional entities that make up the ideal SME network are
the Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), the Access Node (AN)
and the Edge Node (EN). In this solution copper cable is used
between the CPE and the AN, and fiber-optical cable is used
between the AN and EN (see the illustration below).
SME end-user services
Small to medium enterprises are demanding increasing speed in
both directions – upstream and downstream, i.e. symmetrical
communication. An SME network must be able to provide the
following applications and services:

’Always-On’ Fast Internet – via SHDSL or fixed microwave radio,


enabling high-speed Internet access upstream and downstream.

IP VPN – uses a public network to make safe and virtual dedicated


connections between geographically separate locations.

VoDSL – simultaneously creates up to 16 telephone extensions as


well as high-speed data. Provided by the VoDSL voice gateway and
the CPE equipment in the network.

VoIP – Voice over IP integrates cost-effective voice and packet data


communication.

Video Services – enabling conferences and the distribution of


moving images and sound.

Managed Bandwidth – bandwidth capacity allocated instantly and


remotely according to customer needs.

Metropolitan access
Metropolitan network solutions are needed to overcome
bottlenecks in high-density areas, while bringing the power of
the core closer to the end-users.

Depending on the density of the user populations, such a


network must be configured to handle everything from SMEs to
large corporations and ISPs (see the illustration below).
Metropolitan access network structure
Metropolitan access networks must be able to join various
access interfaces, high-speed trunk interfaces and a variety of
services together into a single solution.
This must provide carrier-class, multi-service, network
communications (see the illustration below).
A network of this type must be simple and modular, so that the
system can be placed at the central office of public networks, in
a multi-tenant building, or at the location of a large enterprise.

Fiber or fixed wireless


The two best transport methods for a metropolitan network
solution are fiber optics and wireless radio.
If an operator needs a wireless connection between the Edge
Node and several buildings, a wireless radio node can be used.
If higher bandwidths are needed, then a fiber can be deployed
directly to the end-user.
Fiber/Ethernet
If higher bandwidths are required, then one or more fibers can
be connected directly from the metro node to the business-user.
Fixed radio
In wireless radio networks, user traffic is transported to the
customer premises in a point-to-multipoint configuration, or
through a dedicated point-to-point connection for longer radio
reach. The former uses the available spectrum efficiently,
sharing the air interface capacity among many customers and
allowing the use of statistical multiplexing over the radio
interface. All of this is provided by access terminals
communicating with radio nodes (see the illustration below).
Metropolitan access end-user services
Although broadband access to information networks is
important to metropolitan customers, it is even more crucial to
realize that their requirements are driven by critical services and
applications that are
entirely bandwidth dependent. Some of these applications are
very time-sensitive, so business-users are willing to pay a
premium for services that support these applications. The end-
user services supported
by Metro Pop Access Solution include:

IP VPN – uses a public network to make safe and virtual dedicated


connections between geographically separated locations.

VoDSL – creates up to 16 telephone extensions as well as high-


speed data simultaneously.

VoIP – integrates cost-effective voice communication and packet


data communication.

Video Services – enables conferences and distribution of moving


images and sound.
Managed Bandwidth – broadband capacity is allocated instantly
and remotely, according to customer needs.

Telephony – traditional voice services.

IP-Broadcast – video and radio to selected groups or on demand.

'Always-On' Fast-Internet – high-speed Internet access upstream


and downstream.

Looking into the future: All-IP Access


As previously mentioned, datacom-centric operators – new
operators with no existing infrastructure – have the opportunity
to invest in an All-IP network architecture, right from customer
premise
equipment to the backbone (see the illustration below).

This alternative is independent of the drop technology. It provides a full


PSTN service to residential and SME subscribers over IP and enables
the operator to take over the full PSTN subscription, including the basic
fee. At the same time the operator can act as the full service provider to
it’s customers.

Broadband Internet Access, VoIP/Telephony over IP and


Multimedia services (Video, TV on demand, etc.) are delivered
over an All-IP network infrastructure. The obvious advantages of
such a solution are numerous. They include the fact that the
operator avoids the migration from an existing architecture and
can implement an All-IP network immediately not to mention the
ability to offer new multimedia services as they evolve.

Summary & conclusions


The following diagram and table show a comparison of the
different services demanded by residential and business end-
users.

Generally it can be concluded that the most bandwidth-


demanding applications (Video & TV) are best provided over a
fiber/Ethernet network architecture, whereas applications such
as high-speed
Internet and video conferencing are provided at very good
quality over CATV or xDSL.
However the advantages and disadvantages of different network
solutions and drop technologies must be examined more closely
before an operator can choose the architecture that best suits
its needs.

Factors such as existing investments, legacy infrastructure and


the customer base are also keys to making the correct choice.

The following table summarizes the most significant advantages


and disadvantages for each of the broadband technologies
described.