Ken Kerpez

Posted by Ken Kerpez

ASSIA Ph.D., IEEE Fellow


Ken Kerpez has published 2 blog posts.

ASSIA Vision for Wi-Fi Virtualization

Virtualization is transforming the telecom landscape, by moving network functions into the cloud where operators have ready access. Virtualization enables rapid upgrades (milliseconds instead of weeks), plug-and-play interoperation with many other functions, an innovative ecosystem, essentially unlimited computed power of a datacenter, and myriad other benefits. Many equipment vendors are moving toward providing control-plane software functions which compliment data-plane hardware functions. But what about Wi-Fi virtualization?

Being at the end of the network, Wi-Fi hasn’t seen much in the way of virtualization. For example, Wi-Fi Alliance Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh™ (aka Multi-AP) controllers are now limited to being within Wi-Fi Access Points. However, a series of recent efforts by ASSIA aim to improve this, to enable Wi-Fi virtualization by bringing the control plane of Wi-Fi into the cloud.

Cloud-based Management and Control of Wi-Fi

ASSIA CEO, Professor John Cioffi, recently presented “Wi5G: A Wireless Convergence Vision” as the Wi-Fi Now Keynote; then further expanded the subject with Wi-Fi Alliance presentation “Ergodic Spectrum Management (ESM) (a next “Wi5G” step).” These talks showed benefits of cloud-based management and control of Wi-Fi, highlighting a number of areas where advanced management and multiuser optimization can greatly benefit Wi-Fi performance and customer Quality of Experience (QoE). There was great interest in these advancements, particularly among broadband network operators and providers of “carrier-grade” Wi-Fi.

 

wifi-virtualization

Figure 1

Standards Initiatives for Wi-Fi Virtualization

As ASSIA’s Director of Standards, I am actively working to cloud-enable Wi-Fi in the Wi-Fi Alliance and in the Broadband Forum. In the near-term, I am working to strengthen the Data Elements release 2 specification so that it can be used by a cloud-based system to remotely control and manage EasyMeshTMcontrollers. I’m also proposing specification support for cloud-based EasyMeshTM controllers. EasyMeshTM communicates via Ethernet Type-Length-Value (TLV) messages in a customer premises LAN. These messages can traverse a WAN via IP encapsulation, passing through a layer-2 tunnel such as GRE or VxLAN, or being carried via a message transfer protocol. As figure 1 shows, a gateway can support such LAN-to-WAN message transfer. A promising message transfer protocol for this purpose is the User Services Platform (USP), The Broadband Forum’s successor to TR-69.

Related Virtualization Standards Initiatives

There are multiple related nascent efforts in the industry. The concept of virtualizing CPE is already established, already being specified by Broadband Forum TR -317, Network Enhanced Residential Gateway (NERG). Virtual CPE network functions are already being sold, such as enhanced firewall and parental controls. Edge computing can enable a low-latency, therefore high-performance, cloud controller; and the Broadband Forum Cloud CO project is establishing edge computing for broadband networks. Remote EasyMeshTMcontrollers are also being considered by the joint Broadband Forum – Prpl Foundation Open Broadband-Multi-AP (OB-MAP) project, which has an opensource implementation of EasyMeshTM.

Time to Move to Wi-Fi Virtualization

ASSIA Cloudcheck has advantageously implemented cloud-based Wi-Fi management and control for some time now. ASSIA is pleased about, and actively encourages, the industry move toward Wi-Fi virtualization.


G.fast, MGfast, and Beyond

G.fast is now being rolled out by several operators to provide ultra-fast broadband. G.fast can deliver nearly one Gigabit per second (Gbps) on telephone lines and over one Gbps on coax. G.fast provides an economical alternative to Fiber to the Home (FTTH), eliminating the high cost of fibering the last few hundred meters, while still pulling fiber deeper to provide ultra-fast service.

G.fast management

G.fast has many capabilities which enable robust high-speed service over existing and in-home telephone wiring; including:

  • Vectoring to cancel crosstalk
  • Retransmission and coding to correct errors
  • Low-power modes and reverse-power feed (RPF)
  • Many on-line reconfiguration capabilities, including:
    • Seamless Rate Adaptation (SRA)
    • Fast Rate Adaptation (FRA)
    • Robust Management Channel Parameter Adjustment (RPA)
    • RMC recovery (RMCR).

ASSIA works throughout the standards communities to ensure that equipment vendors provide open interfaces for operators to manage such capabilities. Each of these capabilities can be configured in many ways via many operator-configurable parameters. And, these are in addition to the margin, data rate, re-initialization and many other configurations common to DSLs. Further, the downstream:upstream asymmetry ratio of G.fast is configurable and can vary with real-time traffic loads. The G.fast environment is highly variable line-by-line, and to configure each G.fast line for best performance is impossible (unless perhaps an operator recruits an army of Ph.Ds in communication theory). But there is a solution: ASSIA DSL Expresse® is now adapted to automatically configure G.fast for the highest customer satisfaction and fewest trouble calls.

Multi-Gigabit fast (MGfast)

After G.fast, the ITU-T is now defining multi-gigabit fast (MGfast) for applications such as fiber-to-the building, fiber-to-the curb, and feeding small cells. MGfast is expected to have all the capabilities of G.fast and more, while running at multi-gigabit speeds. New duplexing and frame structures are being defined to provide wireline and 5G applications on a single backhaul or fronthaul MGfast line, including ultra-reliable and low-latency communications, and ultra-fast broadband. These traffic types should be supported on separate virtual network slices with the operator-configured boundaries. MGfast management will be even more challenging than that of G.fast.

Waveguide over copper

Beyond MGfast lies a new concept now being studied by a group of ASSIA® researchers: Waveguide over copper, which enables the Terabit DSL (TDSL). This exploits waveguide transmission modes, in particular transmission modes that are efficiently transported on the surface of a conductor such as copper wire. Waveguide over copper runs at millimeter frequencies (about 30 GHz to 1 THz) and is synergistic with 5G/6G wireless. A type of vectoring is applied to effective separate the many modes that can propagate within a telephone cable. Preliminary analyses project that waveguide over copper should support about the following per-home data rates:

100 meters 300 meters 500 meters
1 Tbps (=1000 Gbps) 100 Gbps 10 Gbps