Building Intelligence into Home Networks

June 19, 2013
The number of devices connected to a home network is growing, and with it the number of technologies supported by the network. Within this complex web, consumers want optimal performance and low power consumption. The trouble is that the outward facing network i...
The number of devices connected to a home network is growing, and with it the number of technologies supported by the network. Within this complex web, consumers want optimal performance and low power consumption. The trouble is that the outward facing network is opaque to them, so to speak, making it difficult to determine the proper course to achieve both.Gateways have the potential to be the eyes and ears within the home network providing the "inside" information needed for the best results. They feasibly could have the necessary intelligence to not only direct devices to use the right interface - 2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz for example - at the right time, but also could communicate tips directly to the consumer for improving their networking experience, said Carol Ansley, senior director of IP engineering for ARRIS (NASDAQ:ARRS)."The reason why the gateway is the key to this is because whereas before you might have had a wireless router, set-top, DVR - all in separate buckets - with unified gateways, all the networks are homing back to one device," Ansley said.In a paper delivered at the Cable Show, Ansley explained that the gateway could be set to balance the needs of the various devices. For example, during the day, unused set-top boxes could shut down their MoCA circuits and "listen" over WiFi in case of system updates. In the meantime, the laptop in the basement office could benefit from the MoCA-to-WiFi bridge. Later in the day, however, when the set-tops requests video content, the gateway can determine the best use case for both the WiFi and MoCA links.Additionally, the gateway could send a variety of recommendations to the consumer via email or social media. This could be a notification of older devices that use out-of-date technology and, therefore, are slowing down the network. Or the consumer may have selected the wrong frequency band when setting up a device. The gateway can suggest another or offer auto-selection.Third, the historical information collected by the gateway could be useful when a consumer calls the operator for support. For example, a record of when intermittent WiFi problems have been occurring will help the customer service representative troubleshoot a problem with the wireless connection, Ansley wrote.So when can consumers expect to start receiving messages from their boxes and operators seeing the benefits of happier subscribers and reduced truck rolls? Although the hardware, network connections, and computing power are all available today, what is needed is the software "smarts" to pull everything together, Ansley said. "When you look across an entire deployment - potentially millions of boxes - being able to cut that down to help Mrs. Smith is a big challenge."Monta Monaco Hernon is a free-lance writer. She can be reached at [email protected].

Sponsored Recommendations

Coherent Routing and Optical Transport – Getting Under the Covers

April 11, 2024
Join us as we delve into the symbiotic relationship between IPoDWDM and cutting-edge optical transport innovations, revolutionizing the landscape of data transmission.

Data Center Network Advances

April 2, 2024
Lightwave’s latest on-topic eBook, which AFL and Henkel sponsor, will address advances in data center technology. The eBook looks at various topics, ranging...

Supporting 5G with Fiber

April 12, 2023
Network operators continue their 5G coverage expansion – which means they also continue to roll out fiber to support such initiatives. The articles in this Lightwave On ...

FTTx Deployment Strategies

March 29, 2023
Cable operators continue to deploy fiber in their networks at anincreasing rate. As fiber grows in importance, proper choices regardinghow to best fit fiber to the home together...