Cable Providers Can Achieve Significant Cost Savings: Here is How

Given recent rapid transitions to work-from-home, telehealth, and remote learning, it is no surprise that broadband usage has exploded globally. As of January 2021, the number of active internet users worldwide reached almost 4.7 billion, which equates to nearly 60% of the population. With residential usage attaining an all-time high, broadband service providers, ISPs, and cable telecommunications companies have struggled to keep pace in today’s demanding landscape.

Providers failing to deliver the high-quality broadband services that customers expect are flooded with call center inquiries. Plus, many of them lack effective tools to efficiently assess subscriber Wi-Fi Quality of Experience (QoE) and diagnose and resolve Wi-Fi-related issues. This translates into high operating costs, unnecessary truck rolls, and replacements of healthy customer equipment that do not necessarily resolve the real problem. Not to mention, when customers are dissatisfied, they ultimately abandon service and switch to a competitor. In fact, Accenture analysts estimate that the overall costs from customers switching providers have reached $1.6 trillion. These are problems worth solving, indeed!

So, what can providers do to alleviate these issues, lower costs, and amplify QoE?

Case in Point: Cable Provider

In 2021, a successful cable provider contacted us because they were looking for ways to improve QoE and offer better diagnostics so care center agents could provide effective solutions for Wi-Fi environments. And with today’s increasing customer support costs, truck dispatches, and hardware swaps, they were also concerned about expenses cutting into their revenue.

In this post, we will look at how this provider tapped into the power of ASSIA CloudCheck to evaluate its impact to improve customer experience and reduce the cost of support and maintenance.

The Test

CloudCheck’s subscriber optimization features use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics to evaluate historical and real-time conditions of Wi-Fi environments so it can perform automated, contextual-based optimizations for each node on the network, improving subscriber quality-of-experience.

For customer service agents, CloudCheck’s Tier-1 customer support GUI diagnostic tools evaluate subscribers’ internet issues and make next best action recommendations that help alleviate the guesswork of care center agents and technicians.

The optimization analyses we completed with this cable provider represent data collected over the course of three months in 2021. 40,000 homes were divided into two equal groups of 20,000 with similar call/dispatch rates based on the prior six months of data, to represent our control and test groups. On all 40,000 homes, optimization was disabled for two weeks. After two weeks, one group was re-enabled with CloudCheck optimizations so that we would have two even groups to compare.

Measuring the reduction in the number of dispatches (truck rolls) was also an integral component of the study. These can be costly, especially if a call center care center agent is capable of resolving the issue. This part of the test was based on the utilization of the CloudCheck Tier-1 customer support GUI. Factors that were evaluated included dispatch reduction from remote resolution, repeat call reduction, and average call handling.

The Results

The goal of this study was to evaluate the value and cost savings achieved, and the results were very promising.

Based on this test, this ISP estimated that they would save $4.27 per subscriber per year in support costs, equating to over $4 million in annual savings per million subscribers.

Digging deeper into the results:

CloudCheck Network Optimization

Analysis was performed to evaluate call rate reduction on lines with CloudCheck optimization enabled. Average call rates during the trial period were compared with the rates prior to the trial period. The reduction was significant, representing an 18.5% decline in calls, directly correlated with the optimization features.

The overall reduction in calls also had a direct impact on the number of dispatches (truck rolls), which were reduced by nearly 15%.

CloudCheck Tier-1 Customer Support GUI

To validate the benefits of the Tier-1 customer support GUI, analysis was developed by measuring improvements in the ability to remotely resolve customer issues by tracking the percent dispatch rate of the care agents. This was further validated based on an internal survey delivered to the company’s Tier-1 customer support agents. This data was leveraged to create a business case for the Tier-1 Support GUI. The respondents of the survey indicated how frequently they use the tool and most importantly how often it enables them to remotely resolve an issue versus dispatching an on-site technician. The results are impressive, reducing the number of dispatches by nearly 11%.

To explore how your company can benefit from CloudCheck, by generating similar cost and quality-of-experience improvement for your subscribers, contact us today.

Calculate what CloudCheck can do for you by downloading our cost savings calculator, below.


Improve Subscriber Quality-of-Experience While Generating Incremental Revenues

Today’s ISPs face significant challenges supporting their subscribers as the demand for bandwidth and the number of devices connected to Wi-Fi networks explodes. Yet, as we look to imagine the “new normal,” accelerated by the global pandemic, one thing’s for certain: the need for speedy, reliable broadband is here to stay. So, what now?

What matters to subscribers is that the internet works when they need it to. Imagine the frustration of not being able to see or hear participants during a Zoom sales call, or them not being able to hear or see you. When issues like this occur, providers should expect a flood of calls and possibly churn.

In this post we outline the critical capabilities and features that you need on your networks to deliver your subscribers the value, customer experience, and performance they want, while unlocking opportunities for ISP revenue growth.

Deliver the Highest QoE to Your Residential Subscribers

ASSIA CloudCheck® is a software platform that enables operators to manage and optimize residential home Wi-Fi networks and deliver a high Quality-of-Experience (QoE) for their residential subscribers. The CloudCheck layered architecture combines the advantages of both real-time analytics and decision-making with long-term diagnostics and proactive optimization policies in the cloud.

Cloud Intelligent Optimization

Automatic Actions in Real-Time

The system continuously monitors the Wi-Fi environment, adapting to environmental changes, while the server analyzes historical data to create system policies for ideal optimization.

Depending on the specifics of your implementation requirements, a variety of optimization actions can be deployed. Once deployed, automated reporting will provide you with an understanding of the technical benefits from the optimization actions, including before and after comparisons to show the overall interference per interface on the network.

Reactive Customer Care

Empower Your People to Do Great Things for Your Customers

Change starts from within. If your customer care teams have the resources they need to be successful, your customers will too. Customer care teams use CloudCheck to troubleshoot subscriber technical complaints through a rich set of analytics and diagnostic algorithms. CloudCheck provides agents with complete visibility into the subscriber’s home network and helps pinpoint underlying problems affecting performance.

Call agents can troubleshoot connectivity issues with either the CloudCheck Wi-Fi GUI or by pulling data into their own operator monitoring tools via a northbound API (NAPI). With guided flows, agents can assist subscribers to troubleshoot issues themselves. If field technicians are required, they can use the CloudCheck Wi-Fi GUI for verification during install or service validation on repair calls.

Proactive Reporting

Resolve Issues Before Your Customers Call

Proactive Reporting enables operators to take action to improve the subscriber experience, before the subscriber calls to complain. Operators can put programs in place to contact the subscriber proactively and/or utilize the information provided in the complaint. Your program can include tracking results of the proactive outreach program as compared to baseline. We offer a set of off-the-shelf reports to help operators measure how they’ve improved subscribers’ experiences.

Subscriber Control and Self Help

Empower Subscribers To Manage and Troubleshoot Their Home Networks On Their Own

CloudCheck gives subscribers a way to manage and troubleshoot their home networks. Via the ASSIA Mobile App or by building an app via the NAPI, operators can make network changes and limit internet access for children with the simple push of a button. Additionally, more advanced users can avoid the potentially frustrating experience of contacting customer support and troubleshoot issues directly on their own. Service providers can offer uniform functionality across both a mobile app and a web portal using the NAPI.

Operator Internal Analysis Reporting

Provide Your Teams with Data and Insights To Measure Performance

Give your internal technical teams a way to monitor network performance with data and analytics features designed to be combined with other sources of operator data.

Firmware Analysis

QA, Testing and Rollout Analysis

Improves the testing and rollout of new firmware with QA testing automation tools and rollout analysis. Gain insights and visibility to field performance and identify potential issues before pushing firmware out to subscribers. This same analysis can be done to help with other network upgrades to closely monitor customer premises equipment performance.

Alerting

Raise Alarms When Something’s Wrong To Help You Put Things Right

CloudCheck automatically flags diagnostic changes on a week-to-week basis to identify changes not related to a firmware upgrade. These include network, station, configuration or cloud changes that can benefit from an automated monitoring system. The number of issues identified and resolved through the alerting system should be used as the key metric to track the impact of this feature.

Network-Wide Reporting

Data-Driven Decision Making

CloudCheck’s network-wide reporting capabilities provide decision-makers across your organization with actionable insights into key performance indicators (KPIs) via a set of standard reports designed for specific teams and business functions. These reports will help your teams obtain a deeper understanding of subscribers and drive targeted initiatives within your organization, which you can measure with these reports over time. Your assigned deployment engineer or account manager can help you configure the following reports:

 

To learn more about CloudCheck’s features and functions, complete the form and we will send you the complete guide!


How Service Providers Can Build and Scale Quality of Experience

Network architectures and subscriber demands, both to-the-home and in-the-home, continue to evolve. And rapidly. To meet the quality-of-service (QoS) and quality-of-experience (QoE) levels customers expect, ISPs must squeeze as much performance as they can out of their existing infrastructures by replacing hardware when needed and building for the future, versus rebuilding their entire networks.

Meeting modern standards and customer demand requires proactive maintenance and troubleshooting while ensuring network uptime and efficiency. That’s a lot to do at one time, and that’s why global service providers are turning to ASSIA Commande™ to deliver support and service at scale.

ASSIA Commande diagnoses, optimizes, and helps to heal the root causes of customer complaints and network issues. As internet traffic patterns and subscriber needs are quite different from what they were a year ago, Commande’s role in overseeing how the systems, devices, and links that deliver home internet and Wi-Fi services work together is critical.

Subscriber service issues, what causes them, and how to fix them

Subscribers need more from their home Wi-Fi networks, more than they’ve ever needed before. Imagine a family of four: two high-school kids on Zoom classes, a startup CEO leading a team of 50, and a therapist that uses a proprietary platform to counsel clients. Every family member downloads and uploads web traffic (for work or fun) all day and possibly until late at night. When there’s an internet hiccup, their immediate response is to troubleshoot the issue themselves, and if that doesn’t work, they call the service provider for help.

There’s a lot that can go wrong. Is an outage or a “pause” the result of what’s happening in the home, such as competing devices? Or maybe it’s an out-of-house issue, or some line is down in the neighborhood? Or perhaps it’s a middleware failure? It’s hard to diagnose the problem unless you can see into the network. ASSIA CloudCheck gives operators full network path visibility and diagnostics, from the exchange to Wi-Fi connected devices inside the home. Rather than deploy a technician, issues can be diagnosed and fixed remotely. What’s more, CloudCheck allows operations to detect and locate breakdowns before customers complain.

A research study conducted earlier this year with one of our customers showed that CloudCheck reduced call volume by 50,000 and customer churn by about 2% in 30 days. Further, an end-user application keeps subscribers up-to-date on progress with real-time information about what’s going on with their Wi-Fi and assistance with self-installation and troubleshooting, as needed.

Software-defined service for multi-platform networks

Many operators, DSL providers, and even cable companies have large-scale upgrades in the works: moving to fiber or upgrading existing copper and coaxial networks to make them reliable. Further, service providers are looking to gain flexibility and find the most suitable fiber and copper combination to deliver the best service.

But this flexibility leads to complexity in the network and introduces new challenges for optimizing service delivery—ultimately impacting subscribers’ QoS and QoE. ASSIA GPON & DSL Expresse offer a unified software-defined solution, applicable to any network deployment model, to address the complexities of deploying and operating a multi-platform FTTx network.

GPON Expresse abstracts the underlying technology and hardware so that providers have a unified view of broadband delivery. As such, operators are better able to monitor performance, optimize the networks, and detect the location of faults when (or before) they occur—from fiber damage to congestion. Utilizing machine-learning algorithms, network optimization gets more precise and smarter over time.

ASSIA Commande: The power to oversee it all—end-to-end

Think of ASSIA Commande as a cloud-based, intelligent overseer with end-to-end visibility, from network operations to the home, bringing all the components of the diverse world of Wi-Fi management together.

Commande helps service providers improve their wireless and wireline access networks’ broadband-to-the-device QoE through artificial intelligent best-practice diagnostics, analytics, and optimization. It oversees the systems, devices, and links that deliver internet and Wi-Fi service at every point. Commande is capable of diagnosing and optimizing the network and healing network issues when they occur. Further, ASSIA has built Commande to be vendor-agnostic to support service providers’ choices and accommodate emerging Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi management standards as they evolve.

Commande Delivers Tangible Results to ASSIA Customers

We have deployed Commande to a number of large telecom providers around the world. These customers employ Commande to bridge data and analysis between broadband and Wi-Fi and to get end-to-end diagnostics, recommendations, and severity classifications.

Commande offers much higher diagnostics’ accuracy because the insights are based on both DSLAM/OLT (digital-subscriber-line-access-multiplexer) data and CPE (customer premises equipment) data. Commande also mitigates the uncertainty about where issues exist by providing accurate issue detection, problem source definitions, and recommended resolutions based on all the information we collect from so many sources.

With an integrated view of the network and diagnostics, here are some of the ways customers are using Commande today:

  • Measurement
    • Customers can better understand subscribers’ behaviors, issues, and experiences​.
    • With intensive monitoring, they gain an in-depth service understanding with a high level of precision and detail.​
    • Because we capture a large volume of network usage data to feed proprietary machine-learning models, customers get deep insights into subscriber habits, which might lead to the development of new products and services
  • Control
    • We diagnose any network impairment, at any point from the central office to Wi-Fi devices​.
    • Customer care and marketing teams get full visibility on subscriber satisfaction levels and future needs.​
    • Operations and network planning teams control network resources and shape future resource requirements by observing collected data and recommendations.​
    • Field technicians have the definitive toolbox to diagnose, locate, and verify activities​.
    • Operations teams detect and locate massive breakdowns before subscribers complain.
  • Improvement
    • Automated optimization of subscriber’s wireless connectivity delivers the best QoE.
    • Detailed recommendations improve customer service by identifying needed, proactive repairs before subscribers call, which further maximizes network QoS and QoE.
  • Integration
    • We automate operating processes by integrating BSSs (business support systems) and OSSs (operation support systems) with end-to-end solution APIs​.
    • We are able to integrate customer indicators from other sources into Commande to complement QoE.​

Put it all together and Commande reduces operational costs, increases efficiencies, reduces subscriber churn rates, and maximizes customer satisfaction.

When you think about the issues operators and ISPs face when ensuring reliability and speed to home Wi-Fi users, you can see why it makes better sense to focus on improving and evolving existing performance and infrastructures, versus replacing hardware unnecessarily or overhauling entire networks.

ASSIA’s global expertise and understanding of over 100 million customer access connections—including Wi-Fi to the home—help us bring all the pieces together now and for the future.

Contact us for more information on Commande.


Survey Results: The Future Telco-Connected Home

The Future Telco-Connected Home

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Download the new survey from Omdia and Broadband Forum on the importance of greater open standards to enable service providers to protect their position in the connected home.

This report is a follow-up to a report produced in 2015 in association with the Broadband Forum entitled Efficient and Automated Smart Home Rollout. The analysis in this report is based on a quantitative service provider survey of more than 100 representatives across 19 countries, in-depth qualitative interviews with key executives from 11 service providers in Latin America, North America, Europe, and China, and existing Omdia research and data in the broadband, connected, and smart home domains.

Survey Overview

For many years broadband service providers viewed the connected home largely as a cost driver and, therefore, focused their strategies on developing cheaper hardware and driving greater operation efficiency. However, the connected home is now a far more advanced environment than it was in the early days of broadband. Over just the five years to 2020, the number of installed connected devices has doubled to 13.4 billion, and this figure will increase again by a further 70% over the next five.

It is not just the sheer number of devices that is increasing but also the applications that they are running, including ultra-HD video, cloud gaming, tele-health, and home working, all of which require a highly reliable, quality network to perform to the required standard. Managing this network is, therefore, of paramount importance, and if done well it can bring the service provider significant brand differentiation and new revenue opportunities.

Industry standards and open frameworks are vital to this success, because they remove technical barriers and better equip broadband service providers to compete with global tech and consumer electronics companies.

This report is a follow-up to a report produced in 2015 in association with the Broadband Forum entitled Efficient and Automated Smart Home Rollout. The analysis in this report is based on a quantitative service provider survey of more than 100 representatives across 19 countries, in-depth qualitative interviews with key executives from 11 service providers in Latin America, North America, Europe, and China, and existing Omdia research and data in the broadband, connected, and smart home domains.

Key findings and recommendations

Ensuring a wall-to-wall advanced Wi-Fi experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the importance of broadband and a good home Wi-Fi solution. Wi-Fi solutions, therefore, must now be optimized to provide the best-quality connection possible to all corners of the home. However, this is not just about throwing more hardware at the problem: in some cases this only makes the situation worse. Service providers must take a comprehensive view of the connected-home predicament and look to invest in both hardware and software platforms that will deliver the right solution to each individual customer.

Balance operational efficiency and new service development to optimize the customer experience. There are two sides to modern smart Wi-Fi platforms: one is around driving service and operational efficiency; the other is about developing and enabling new applications and services. However, this is not an either/or situation. All service providers, regardless of their market position, should look to do both, because it is only through driving service optimization and new service features that they can optimize the customer experience. The key question is how this should all be monetized, and service providers should develop an overall roadmap with a clear monetization strategy in mind.

VAS prioritization remains focused on safety and security. In terms of new value-added-services, the priority today remains on applications that bring added safety and security to the customer. Especially considering the pandemic, during which many more people are working and being educated from home, this prioritization makes perfect sense. However, service providers should also have a longer-term roadmap that means that their service portfolio will continue to evolve, unveiling new revenue opportunities over time.

Telcos’ attitude to smart home has changed, but for the better. Since Omdia carried out its last service provider connected-home survey in 2015, there has been a distinct shift in not only strategy toward the connected-home gateway but also smart home strategy. Five years ago, there was a greater focus on and optimism around developing service provider own-branded smart home solutions. Since then there has been a real shift toward more smart home enablement, working with third-party developers, with the connected-home gateway a key element of that strategy.

Help drive open standards to a better-connected world. Without greater standardization, service providers will continue to be restricted by industry fragmentation that will limit both their ability to gain scale and the pace of innovation and thus their ability to compete with global tech and consumer electronics companies. All service providers and equipment vendors should, therefore, invest time and money in driving new open standards that will help ensure broadband service providers maintain their place at the core of the future connected home.


Improving Customer QoE at Globe Telecom

Over the last several years we have seen increasing pressure on ISPs from regulators around the world to deliver on performance metrics for the services they deliver to their customers. Governments are pushing their ISPs to increase overall bandwidth across their countries, recognizing the crucial role access, speed, and Quality of Experience[1] play for competitive advantage in the digital age accelerated with the expansion of work from home adoption during the pandemic.

We are helping Globe, a leading full-service telecommunications company in the Philippines, do just that on their copper broadband networks that utilize multiple DSLAM vendors and DSL technologies while they continue to expand their fiber networks. Customer experience is vital in this day & age where customers are dependent on their ISP provider to deliver a reliable and stable internet service at home.

Globe selected ASSIA DSL Expresse for managing the performance of their xDSL network nationwide to improve their existing xDSL services because of DSL Expresse’s hardware-agnostic approach, advanced diagnostics, and data-driven optimization. These allowed Globe to identify and maximize DSL lines while maintaining a good customer experience in terms of speed and stability. Its proven track record of managing over 100M DSL lines for service providers globally, was also a key consideration especially as Globe embarked in its major network transformation to bring about improvements through its 3-pronged strategy for its network upgrades and expansion, which includes aggressive cell site builds, upgrading its cell sites to 4G/LTE/5G using many different frequencies, and fast-tracking the fiberization of Filipino homes nationwide. Our partnership with Globe complements its network builds through an equally aggressive modernization of its existing network infrastructure.

The DSLE implementation will improve the stability of customer lines, increase their bandwidth, and identify unstable lines to proactively dispatch field technicians, thus improving customer quality of experience. It also prevents churn while expansion towards fiber is underway.

Globe supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 9 which highlights the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development. Globe is committed to upholding the 10 United Nations Global Compact principles and 10 UN SDGs.

[1]  Quality of Experience is defined as the overall experience resulting from improvements in bandwidth, access, speed, latency, throughput, and connectivity for broadband services to devices at home.

 


Here’s Why 2021 Will Be the Year for Wi-Fi 6

The holiday season is here. And so is something that can make home internet work better. On November 10, Apple announced that its newly released MacBooks, Mac Mini, and now the iPhone 12 would support Wi-Fi 6. Consumer Reports recently published an article explaining why it’s time to buy a Wi-Fi 6 router. Manufacturers are rushing to add Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices to everyone’s shopping lists.

As a service provider, you need to know what Wi-Fi 6 offers, anticipate likely questions from your subscribers, and understand how ASSIA can help you support your customers as this standard comes to maturity.

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of Wi-Fi standards. It was a planned effort designed to accommodate the growing number of internet-enabled devices coming on the market and appearing in places of business, in homes, and pretty much everywhere. While Wi-Fi 6 has been around for over a year, there are three solid reasons for its suddenly rapid roadmap.

  • Work-from-home and stay-at-home mandates led to unprecedented home internet usage and associated challenges.
  • The FCC recently ruled to make available new spectrum “to enable wider channels that can be immediately used by Wi-Fi 6 to support gigabit connectivity with lower latency, improved coverage, and better power efficiency.”
  • The additional 6GHz band is known as Wi-Fi 6E. Essentially it’s like the FCC turned a two-lane into a six-lane highway.

At a high level, Wi-Fi 6 solves several fundamental problems for end-users:

Speed
Wi-Fi 6 is about 6x times faster than Wi-Fi 5 though speed is largely dependent on the number of access points, devices on the network, and environment. Overall, users can get Wi-Fi speed, stability, and availability on the level of a wired connection.

Consistent access and performance
As important as speed is consistent access and optimized performance. This is where Wi-Fi 6 shines. As we bring more and more internet-enabled devices and applications into the home—from video games to online education to light switches, Wi-Fi 6 can use what bandwidth is needed, only when it’s needed. Essentially, a way better job of balancing the load.

Capacity and density
Whether your teenagers in the next room have hijacked the internet or all your neighbors and/or roommates are on video chat, Wi-Fi 6 can handle co-channel interference. It solves for dense environments with myriad devices and simultaneous connections.

Reach and coverage
Another common challenge that users experience with Wi-Fi is reach. You walk around the house, and your Wi-Fi comes and goes. In some places, it’s an internet dead zone. Wi-Fi 6 can offer consistent coverage throughout your home and a better job at prioritizing access for applications, devices, and users.

Better security
WPA3, emerged in 2018, but only now in Wi-Fi 6 is a new security protocol that makes it harder for hackers to crack a user’s password with repeated guesses. It also makes some data less useful if hackers get it.

How does Wi-Fi 6 work, technically?

Wi-Fi 6 offers several many capabilities to improve Wi-Fi network coverage and performance. Some include:

  • OFDMA (Orthogonal frequency division multiple access): Enables greater network efficiency and lower latency for uplink and downlink traffic.
  • Multi-user MIMO (Multi-user multiple input, multiple output): Allows for more downlink data to be transferred and to handle more devices concurrently.
  • TWT (Target wake time): Improves network efficiency and extends device battery life by letting devices “sleep” when they are not used.
  • BSS (Basic Service Set) Coloring addresses densely populated areas where networks are transmitting lots of data, typically in proximity which leads to overlaps between access points, interference, and latency.

These are just some of the technical details. Learn about the rest here.

Will non-Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices become obsolete?

Yes and no. Yes, Wi-Fi 6 will eventually eclipse older devices. But, no, because Wi-Fi 6 software and devices are still being rolled out. The good news about standards is that new devices will be Wi-Fi 6 enabled by default.

As The Verge advises, the one purchase you might want to add to your holiday shopping list is a Wi-Fi 6 router. Especially if you plan to invest in a Mac, Asus, Samsung, or Lenovo laptop. Here’s why:

“If your router doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, you won’t see any benefits, no matter how many Wi-Fi 6 devices you bring home. (You could actually see a benefit, though, connecting Wi-Fi 5 gadgets to a Wi-Fi 6 router, because the router may be capable of communicating with more devices at once.)”

ASSIA has been working with service providers, CPE vendors, and chipset manufacturers to enable the value that Wi-Fi 6 can bring. 2021 is the year when it will all come together—home network, new devices, and cloud management—to deliver a superior quality of experience for the end-user.


A Wireless-Wireline Physically Converged Architecture: Introducing Cellular Subscriber Lines

As customer demand for high-bandwidth services increases, providers look for ways to maximize existing infrastructure and manage costs. ASSIA is proud to be at the forefront of an innovative approach to solve this challenge: CSL (Cellular Subscriber Lines). CSL, as detailed in this paper published for IEEE, is a ground-breaking new concept for greatly extending radio coverage and data rates. CSL re-uses existing wireless-wireline architecture—copper phone, Ethernet, coaxial cable, and other wireline connections—to deploy numerous wireless small cells in an economical manner. The value of this approach is improved bandwidth at a much lower cost.

How CSL Works

CSL leverages existing cabling in a very low-cost architecture. As shown in the figure below, a single BaseBand Unit (BBU) communicates over existing cabling to many remote radio heads. The CSL-IFs down-convert the wireless baseband unit’s (BBU’s) signals to the appropriate frequencies for transmission through the wireline connection, with up-conversion at the CSL-RF. The same process also runs in reverse (with up-conversion at the CSL-RF) to provide bi-directional transmission. Complex modulation, coding, signal processing, MIMO, and other functions are performed at the BBU. The CSL-RF remote radio head (RRH) only needs to perform simple analog frequency conversion and amplification, thereby allowing a very low-cost, small and simple radio head. Further, communication over the wire is exceedingly simple, using existing cabling, with no need to run new fiber, and no costly optical to electrical (O2E) conversion.

 

Identical to 4G LTE and 5G NR, CSL modulates OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) signals, thereby providing complete interoperability with existing 4G/5G systems and handsets. The authors show that these OFDM signals are advantageously also nearly optimal for wireline transmission, when sent at the proper frequencies. For more details, refer to the IEEE paper to learn how cellular’s OFDM systems can be used to implement near-optimal DSL performance with the wireless signals.

Because radio head/base stations are simply-constructed and low-power, they cost less to deploy. When feeding many distributed small cells, these cost-savings could be significant.

Cost-Effective Wireless Deployment

With CSL, the baseband wireless link now includes the metallic baseband/IF signals, which has less attenuation than the same-length wireless link. Furthermore, several spatial streams can be multiplexed on single wire, allowing low-cost deployment of enhanced MIMO (Multi-Input, Multi-Output) systems for increased wireless performance.

Further, the electrical power that existing copper wire may deliver to the home could also energize the CSL-RF, solving the thorny problem of powering numerous small cells. Similarly, this architecture accommodates Wi-Fi systems, which is well-suited to enterprise deployments where Ethernet cable is present. The super-heterodyning concept of IF and RF can enable very low-cost proliferation and allow cloud-based control to enhance existing standardized infrastructure.

IDEAL MU-MIMO

CSL systems may well provide an excellent solution to the increasing need for more cost-effective wireless deployment so that the promise of a highly connected wireless future can advance with much less economic risk. CSL can enable the 5G vision

Massive Bandwidth Lift

As consumers demand better wireless quality in- and out-of-home, quality of service is critical but potentially costly. CSL would address this increasing demand with less economic risk. Cellular-wireless (or Wi-Fi-wireless), MCS, and MIMO methods’ re-use on copper costs less, uses more existing infrastructure, and improves wireless residential networks’ profitability.

Further, and possibly most dramatic, is the spectral efficiency, increase in effective speeds, and low latency provided by the ability of CSL to provide a cost-effective massive decrease in cell radius.

Data Rates (down plus up)

In the example above, an approximate decrease by a factor of 5 in cell radius provides over a factor of 25 increase in cellular reuse, with a consequent factor of 25 increase in effective bandwidth.

In summary, CSL is a dramatic and less expensive way to put a cell base station at every house so every customer gets a massive bandwidth increase for their mobile devices. By using their existing copper wiring (pair cable or coax), providers avoid the need to deploy a lot of fiber to the home.

While an exceptional solution for areas with wireline access built out 20-50 years ago, CSL is also a disruptive concept for the many countries that have already started to invest in getting fiber to every home.

For more information on CSL, contact the ASSIA sales team.