Sunday, March 22, 2009

Clusters of drivers of FTTH

This post is for future reference, summing up the drivers of FTTH (or NGA in general), brought together in clusters.

First, applications as drivers of FTTH. There is not one killer app for FTTH - there are many. Convergent applications (see #3) demand special attention - what's next?

1. Video
After data and voice comes video. Except, the internet wasn't designed for it. The rise of 3-D, HD and holography makes matters worse. These applications are run in traditional locations, except the latter that is about public screens.

  • Broadcast TV
  • VoD
  • Catch-up TV
  • Embedded video (tele- and e- apps)
  • City displays
  • Computers with embedded 10 Mp cameras for video calls/conferences
2. Everywhere, everybody
We do not want to be limited by our home or office.

  • File sharing, community efforts
  • Sling box (place shifting)
  • Cloud computing
  • Online storage, back-up
3. Mobile backhaul
More stuff that the internet wasn't originally intended for. Essentially, the broadband connection can be seen as a form of backhaul for new services.

  • Fixed/mobile convergence: femtocell (backhaul of mobile traffic)
  • Fixed/mobile convergence: as wireless networks go 4G, more base stations will be built and hence more backhaul is needed. This will go on to the point where mobile backhaul can be seen as an overlay of fiber backbones.
4. Connected devices
The internet increasingly reaches beyond PCs, laptops and even smartphones (which may connect to fiber via WiFi).
  • TV/internet convergence: interactivity (BB/internet content added to the TV experience on a split screen: the Daily Media box with Dynacast technology - see next post).
  • Widgets make the internet accessible on a new range of devices, even low-end handsets.
  • Digital cameras, e-books and e-readers (such as Amazon's Kindle), navigation gear, digital TVs, STBs: a broadband connection is often supplied. This has consequences for the network, esp. in the upstream.
5. Networked hours

Due to multitasking, the nu mber of networking hours rises from 36 in 2008 to 48 in 2013 (Cisco, June 2009)
  • Active multitasking: e.g. reading mail while gaiming
  • Passive multitasking: e.g. watching one TV channel and simultaneously recording another

Second, operator centric reasons for migrating to FTTH.

1. Intrinsic
Fiber beats copper and HFC.
  • Quantitative criteria: bandwidth, symmetry, latency, loop length
  • Redundancy (we hate waiting - "too much is just about right")
  • Aesthetics (no sat dish needed).
  • HFC (and copper) is not (always) unbundled, so innovation at the active layer (for community services e.g.) is not possible.
2. Timing
Why now?
  • Growth is high
  • Roll-out takes a long time
  • Every home needs to be connected because people move all the time
  • Resources (funds, labour) are scarce.
3. Financial
Capex may be high, but there is more.
  • Capex is continually falling
  • Opex is very low
  • Green (save on travel, carbon emissions)
  • GDP grab (attract business)

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