In 2020, the sudden pandemic changed people's way of life. Broadband networks became the digital lifeline of people locked at home for quarantine, and services such as online office, online education, online shopping, and telemedicine became rigid demands. According to authoritative organizations and experts, these behavioral changes are more likely to stay on, and new services pose higher requirements on home broadband networks. In this context, the construction of broadband network infrastructure and digital transformation will pick up speed.
By the beginning of 2021, 234 operators in 57 countries have released gigabit services, gigabit optical network has become a global consensus. As the bandwidth of broadband packages even increase to gigabit, the home network experience seems to be lagging behind. According to the statistics of a province in China, more than 76% of 200 Mbps broadband subscribers does not actually enjoy the subscription bandwidth. This problem lies in the last section of the home network coverage.
Currently, there are two key pain points in home networks. One is that Wi-Fi coverage is poor and interference is severe. Wi-Fi performance deteriorates significantly after signals pass through walls, and interference from neighboring Wi-Fi devices and microwave ovens can also cause low network rates. Second, the transmission rate of media is limited. Mainstream solutions include Wi-Fi relay, PLC, and network cables. Take Ethernet cables as an example. Even CAT 5E cables can barely reach gigabit. In addition, the service life of Ethernet cables is limited, and also there are no strict construction and delivery standards. The qualities of network cables also vary from case to case.
The fiber to the room (FTTR) solution will completely solve this problem. With the advantages of long service life, high rate, easy installation, and high reliability, fibers are most suitable for replacing network cables as new media for home networking. Once deployed, fibers can support service evolution in the next 30 years without re-cabling.
Fibers are energy-saving and environment-friendly. It is well known that fibers are made from sand, which not only saves non-ferrous metals, but also avoids environmental pollution caused by metal refining.
Dedicated to continuous innovation in the optical field, Huawei takes the lead in developing the innovative FTTR solution that extends fibers to each room based on the PON technology architecture in 2020.Fibers are used to replace traditional network cables for Wi-Fi networking to achieve premium experience in full fiber connection, gigabit full coverage, seamless Wi-Fi roaming, and intelligent management.
Based on Huawei Wi-Fi 6 160 MHz ultra-band technology, gigabit Wi-Fi can reach each room. When a user moves from one room to another, the connected Wi-Fi AP can be switched instantly to ensure that such as video phone call services are not interrupted. With intelligent management, faults can be remotely located and rectified in one-click mode, improving fault locating and rectification efficiency.
In addition, Huawei's OptiXstar ONTs feature high energy efficiency. Using an innovative smart hibernation technology, an ONT reduces carbon emission by 31.52 kg per year per residence, equivalent to planting one tree.
To improve the FTTR construction efficiency, Huawei has developed multiple innovative products. For residences with concealed pipes, Huawei develop a pipe-through robot which is equipped with an endoscope with a camera at the front end. A technician can clearly see the conditions inside the pipe through the endoscope. Multiple stranded steel wires are arranged inside the pipe-through robot, and a steering joint is used to control the rotation angle, which improves the success rate of indoor pipe-through cabling to 95%.
For residences without concealed pipes, optical cables have to be routed in an exposed manner. Considering the aesthetics of indoor decoration, Huawei has developed a new type of invisible optical cable. The optical cable is almost transparent and does not cause negative impact on the original decoration. The invisible optical cable can flexibly adapt to various turning angles during cabling.
The FTTR service, once launched, has been sought after by many Chinese operators, showing a vigorous development trend. In May, China held 35 FTTR-related press conferences. 28 provincial operators and 58 municipal operators released FTTR commercial packages. In addition, on July 1, 2021, the Technical Specifications for Residential Decoration Engineering, drafted by the China Building Decoration Association and other related organizations, was officially released. The standard specifies that a point-to-multipoint fiber network system architecture should be used in residence decoration and specifies the deployment requirements on FTTR, setting an industry standard for FTTR to follow.
FTTR has become a new engine for operators' home broadband revenue growth. It has been proved that the FTTR solution can flexibly adapt to different pre-decoration and post-decoration scenarios, improve user experience and loyalty, and increase ARPU through package upgrade. Compared with a common home broadband package with a tariff of $49 per month, the FTTR networking package increases the tariff to $62 per month. In addition, new high-value services such as online education and live TV acceleration are flourishing, bring an extra revenue of $5 to $8 per service per month. All these are huge commercial opportunities for operators. According to the experience in China, residents who live in villas, flats, and houses with more than three bedrooms are more likely to purchase the FTTR networking solution. Online game players, network anchors, and geeks account for a high proportion.
The FTTR technology is considered as a revolutionary solution for optical network construction. Huawei's FTTR solution is a new start and is also the first step towards full-home intelligence. For operators, FTTR is an effective means to implement differentiated and refined operation of home broadband services, build home network brands, and improve the ARPU.
In the next five years, FTTR will reach more and more residences and enterprises around the world to continuously help operators develop premium broadband services, open up a market worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and drive the growth of digital applications and smart homes worth trillions of dollars.
This content is sponsored by Huawei. The Light Reading editorial staff has no involvement in producing sponsored content, verifying its accuracy or otherwise ensuring that it meets our editorial standards.