Dramatic changes in the broadband home market are challenging service providers and equipment suppliers. The drivers underlying these changes are ever increasing access data rates, a leap in expectations for home network performance and the rapidly emerging market for smart home services.
In the latest generation of access technology, Wide Area Network (WAN) data rates of hundreds of megabytes per second are becoming common, and some regions are reaching Gigabit speed service delivery. Wired and wireless home networks operate at gigabit data rates, and the number of in-home devices accessing the local-area network has grown from a handful to a dozen or more. Added to this is the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) at the consumer level, representing a new class of networked devices and services operating in the same environment as our computers, storage devices and entertainment media.
This rapid evolution led Intel to form the Connected Home Division, a single organization that is positioned to lead in every broadband access technology and as an innovator in home networking. At Computex 2015 in Taipei (June 2-6), you’ll be able to see how this translates into products that will help our customers win in the smart home revolution.
A new class of smart home platform is the key to success for equipment providers and the carriers they serve. The characteristics of this platform include the following.
- Concurrent, seamless management of media and communications services, including both traditional carrier-delivered content and telephony and Internet-driven services such as IP voice/video calls and over-the-top media.
- Support of multiple in-home networking technologies, including wired Ethernet, Wi-Fi servicing a multitude of clients running 802.11n or 802.11ac, copperline and coax data links, and multiple technologies for connectivity to Smart Home/IoT devices.
- Ability to serve dozens of customer devices – including TV, tablet and traditional computers, smart phones, and peripherals such as printers and attached storage – without any data drops or lags in performance that reflect on overall service quality.
- Intelligence to host a new wave of applications that work with smart home devices, many of which are sourced and downloaded directly by consumers who expect that a smart home platform will work just like a smart phone in allowing fast and easy access to the latest apps.
At Intel, we call this platform a smart home gateway. And we look at its architecture through the lens of carrier-quality network service delivery.
A smart home gateway starts with a broadband access modem, whether cable, fiber, xDSL, G.Fast or a hybrid of fiber/copper or even high speed wireless (LTE). One or more WiFi access points are paired with Ethernet and new in-home wired links to build a robust home network with the intelligence to prioritize data streams. Some home gateways add storage to become a home cloud to store your family’s memories or data. The next step is to add computing resources to the gateway to support IoT devices and services in the home.
Importantly, the smart home gateway mirrors the technology used in carrier-class networking to assure Quality-of-Service (QoS), security and virtualization to enable transparent-to-user execution of multiple applications in parallel. The most advanced gateway platforms offered by our latest acquisition Lantiq, now part of the Connected Home Division, use several tightly linked technologies to accomplish this; TrueQoS,™ DirectFlow,™ TrustWorld™ and TrueVirtualization.™ Each uses a combination of on-chip hardware (such as packet classification, a Trusted Execution Environment, and hardware-enforced isolation of data streams) to support and strengthen software from other Intel groups and partners.
Our life at home is being redefined. How we work, how we relax, and how we play are changing at a faster rate than ever before. And this rapidly changing lifestyle is changing consumer expectations for the performance of networking hardware. Manufacturers of residential broadband access gear have an opportunity to power the success of their customers by helping them to not just meet, but exceed, consumer expectations. Our aim is to transform people’s digital lives with trusted and effortless connected home experiences – If it’s smart and connected, it’s best with Intel. If you’re attending Computex, visit us at the Intel Showcase (Nangang Hall 4F, Booth MO420) to learn more.