How Internet Service Providers and Business Owners Can Offer More

Internet providers and building owners that want to offer gigabit services should  investigate G.hn technology and reuse the existing copper wiring or coax cabling.

For both condominiums and apartments to rent, gigabit internet access is highly  valued, on par with state-of-the-art kitchens and spa-like health facilities. A recent report from market research firm  RVA LLC indicates that high-speed broadband,  which usually means (up to) gigabit services, adds  2 percent to the value of a condominium and 8  percent to the rental price of an apartment.

Fiber-to-the-home technologies, such as  GPON, EPON and active Ethernet, are great  technologies to serve single-family homes, thanks  to recent advances in fiber deployment with  techniques such as directional boring or aerial  fiber. But the complexity of reaching all doors  inside MDUs or multi-tenant units (MTU)  with a fiber feed is a major problem, particularly  in brownfield buildings. Bringing fiber to each  door, deep inside a building, can be costly, complex and disruptive to residents. There is a need for a simple, cost-effective way to extend  gigabit coverage deep inside the MDU or MTU  without relying on the installation of new fiber.

The answer is to reuse the existing telephone  wiring or coaxial cabling inside the building.  That’s why the concept of G.fast appeared to  hold some promise. Unfortunately, in many  brownfield situations, G.fast has failed to deliver.

Another broadband protocol, G.hn, which was originally developed for in-home networking, has potential to solve this problem.
Distributing gigabit services with G.hn from the fiber feed into the building, using the existing wiring infrastructure, benefits both building owners and operators. For owners, the availability of gigabit internet services is a great value-add.

As mentioned above, it can increase the monthly rent by as much as 8 percent. Operators can deliver gigabit services at a fraction of the cost of deploying fiber to each door, avoiding major disruptions for building owners and residents. Operators can expand network coverage quickly without a major capex and opex investment, and they can feel confident that their investment is future-proof because it will deliver any bandwidth up to gigabit speeds to each subscriber.

EXISTING COPPER, COAX REALITIES

The desire to leverage the existing telephone  wiring or coaxial cabling is not new. This was the  underlying premise of G.fast. Unfortunately, the  lofty goals set for G.fast have yet to materialize,  even with the anticipated availability of newer  G.fast chipsets supporting Amendment 3 that  promise to improve achievable bandwidth.

Despite numerous announcements, many  operators have quietly reduced or abandoned  their plans to deploy G.fast. Real-life use of  G.fast highlights its scalability limitations. Although both G.hn and G.fast work on  existing telephone wiring and coax cabling, only  G.hn will work over coax cabling with splitters.

WEIGHING G.HN, G.FAST

The ITU-T G.hn standard (G.9960),  also known as Wave-2, was ratified a  few years ago. It allows operators in  many international markets to leverage  existing telephone wiring or coaxial  cabling to deliver gigabit internet  and related services to each door of  an MDU or MTU over the existing  infrastructure. When operating over  coaxial cabling, the current G.hn  standard takes advantage of standard  coaxial splitters to serve as many as 16  subscribers over a single coaxial port,  achieving economies of scale previously  limited to cable TV with DOCSIS.

Let’s compare G.hn and G.fast.  The most prevalent configuration of a  G.fast distribution point unit (DPU)  solution is 16 ports. This raises two  major concerns. The first is that the  delivery of true gigabit speeds on  current-generation DPUs requires  the bonding of two G.fast ports,  reducing by half the number of  subscribers the DPU can serve with  gigabit services. This effectively doubles  the cost for subscribers.

The second problem with G.fast  is that it’s not possible to add another  small DPU when the ports of the first  DPU are all in use because the noise  cancellation/vectoring processor in the  DPU cannot work alongside another  DPU. This forces the operator to go  through a “rip and replace” process to  install a larger (and more expensive)  DPU. With the typical coaxial  cable infrastructure being point-to multipoint, to support cable TV and  DOCSIS, it is nearly impossible to use  G.fast because it is strictly a point-to point technology.

G.hn doesn’t have these problems.  Each port on the G.hn solution can  operate as a single input, single output  (SISO) single-pair or multiple input,  multiple output (MIMO) two-pair  port on copper. The G.hn VectorBoost  technology for copper pairs works from  the get-go across multiple G.hn access  multiplexers (GAMs) for seamless  scalability. Furthermore, G.hn leverages  the point-to-multipoint nature of services at a much lower cost. This  means it’s possible to serve up to 16  subscribers per coaxial port. The cost  per subscriber with G.hn is a lot less  than with G.fast.

For operators and building owners that rely on satellite TV such  as DirecTV or DISH, G.hn is 100  percent compatible with the satellite  TV signal. This means that a single  medium (coaxial cable) delivers gigabit  internet, IPTV and IP telephony to  each subscriber. Operators offering  an IPTV service rely on the existing  telephone pairs or coaxial cabling for  all services they deliver to subscribers.  Either way, building owners no longer  need to worry about the impact of any  construction work in their buildings.

NEXT-LEVEL USER EXPERIENCE

The delivery of gigabit services over  G.hn Wave-2 is as scalable and  predictable as the fiber feed into the  GAM serving the building. Although  speed is a critical component of the  user’s quality of experience, subscribers  now demand a lot more from their  overall experience with the service.

Millennials and other internet savvy subscribers expect additional  capabilities such as self-installation and  zero-touch provisioning. They have  little tolerance for long delays before  they can talk to a support specialist or  get their service levels modified.

When deployed with the optional  GAM captive portal option, G.hn  facilitates subscribers’ self-installation  with zero-touch provisioning and  automated activation. With GAM,  operators now always have the tools to  allow subscribers to remain in control  of their subscriptions.

G.hn redefines the gigabit internet  service user experience. The technology  not only offers users a hotspot-like  experience from the moment they  initially connect to the “always on”  G.hn gigabit infrastructure, but allows  users to change bandwidth levels in  real time. Subscribers can experience bandwidth changes within seconds.  This enhanced user experience is  the best antidote to the high churn rate plaguing the industry and it  helps retain MDU tenants who value  gigabit access.

Multifamily Broadband

positron diagram october 2019

Positron’s GAM

The Positron GAM leverages a non blocking CE 2.0 Carrier Ethernet core  for reliable delivery of managed gigabit  services for MDUs and MTUs. The  GAM is a fiber-to-the-distribution point (FTTdp) solution typically  installed inside a wiring closet. Each  GAM comes with multiple 10 gigabit  SFP-plus interfaces to support any type  of fiber or PON standards (using an ONT as required). These SFP-plus  ports also support connectivity with  additional GAM devices in medium  to large MDUs and share the fiber  backhaul link.

With the Positron GAM, high speed gigabit internet services are more  stable, reducing support calls and  customer churn. The GAM software  extends its management capabilities  to the G.hn endpoint (aka G.hn to  Ethernet bridge) devices to simplify  and eliminate the more complex  functions of the residential gateway.

The GAM hardware enforces per subscriber bandwidth profiles and  always guarantees a fair and balanced use of the backhaul link to include  value-added services such as IPTV,  video streaming, online gaming and  telephony. Its extensive support for  VLAN (including Q-in-Q) allows for  seamless integration with the operator  xPON services and the OSS and  BSS functions already in place. The  service operations administration and  maintenance (OAM) capabilities of the  GAM provide real-time information to  the operator about the overall grade  of services without any additional cost  or complexity.

With cross-GAM hardware-assisted synchronization to improve the efficiency of VectorBoost, the GAM optimizes the bandwidth for each subscriber based on the real-time traffic demand and on the condition of the twisted pair wiring.

The Positron GAM is available in 24- and 12-port configurations for either coaxial cable or twisted pair with support for SISO (one pair per port) and MIMO (two pairs per port).

REDEFINING MDU, MTU GIGABIT SERVICE

G.hn Wave-2 provides an affordable and proven alternative to more complex and expensive gigabit solutions for MDU and MTU buildings. It redefines how building owners and operators can cost-effectively deliver the gigabit experience demanded by condominium owners or tenants over the existing building infrastructure and avoid substantial construction work otherwise required to deploy fiber.

G.HN TECHNOLOGY PRIMER

The ITU-T G.9960 G.hn Wave-2 standard leverages existing telephone wiring (UTP, Cat 3 or Cat 5/5e) or coax cabling (RG-6/RG-59) to deliver gigabit internet service to each subscriber inside an MDU or MTU without the cost, complexity and delays associated with in-building fiber installation.

G.hn allows operators to simplify the management of their access networks with an Ethernet-like technology that is highly scalable and less complex than DSL-related technologies. With G.hn, operators deliver advanced services such as gigabit high-speed residential internet and 4K IPTV without the high capital and operational expenses associated with a fiber retrofit. Each G.hn subscriber port supports up to 1.7 Gbps of dynamically allocated bandwidth for near-symmetrical gigabit services over existing telephone wire or coaxial cable. In addition to delivering residential high-speed internet, Positron’s G.hn access multiplexer (GAM) solution complies with MEF CE 2.0 and is ideally suited to deliver business Ethernet services in an MTU deployment.

G.hn Wave-2 is widely used by large operators in multiple markets with a strong base in Southeast Asia, where it provides gigabit services to MDUs of all sizes and for residential neighbourhoods. Operators such as Korea Telecom leverage the robustness of G.hn and its predictable bandwidth to scale to large deployments and complement PON infrastructure investments.

G.hn is also a perfect fit for coaxial cable networks, which typically have a point-to-multipoint topology, providing a solution capable of delivering gigabit services at a fraction of the cost of traditional DOCSIS solutions that rely on expensive remote PHY or remote MAC CMTS equipment.

Pierre Trudeau is president and CTO of Positron Access Solutions. He can be reached at ptrudeau@positronaccess.com.

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