Adtran, Nokia, Plume tackle in-home broadband pain

  • Broadband connections to end user premises are getting faster
  • But in-home connectivity, beyond the edge of the telco access network, is still a massive pain point for service providers
  • Adtran, Nokia and Plume all have new offerings to help

Fixed access broadband networks have improved immeasurably in recent years, with investments in fibre and DOCSIS 3.x access lines enabling service providers to offer broadband speeds of up to 1Gbit/s or even faster, yet many customers still bemoan a poor experience, most often because their Wi-Fi sucks.

Telcos know this, of course, but it’s hard to convince users that it’s not the fault of the service providers when, perhaps, old and thick walls or a cheap, shabby home router is to blame. So what can be done? Smarter in-home technology is probably the only answer (unless everyone suddenly decides that open-plan living is the way forward…) and three major names in fixed broadband technology – Adtran, Nokia and Plume – have marked the opening of the Fiber Connect event being held in Kissimmee (Orlando), Florida, with new launches designed to help with those in-house connectivity challenges. 

Adtran’s Intellifi, an addition to the vendor’s Mosaic One subscriber solution portfolio, is a “cloud-managed Wi-Fi solution designed specifically for communication service providers” that enables them to “effectively monitor, manage and monetise residential Wi-Fi networks.” That’s not a new marketing pitch by any stretch of the imagination, so what does Intellifi actually do? Well, it “enables CSPs to provide customers with an effortless, always-on in-home mesh Wi-Fi experience while at the same time lowering opex costs and creating new revenue opportunities.” 

Ah, mesh Wi-Fi with analytics tools that provides service providers and their customers with insights into what’s going on across the in-house wireless broadband network, so reducing the need for expensive truck rolls and improving customer experience levels. The full details can be found in this press release

This is a good approach, for sure… so good that Adtran adopted it previously with its smart mesh Wi-Fi partner Plume – see this announcement from April 2020.

Adtran says Intellifi is all its own technology, but that its partnership with Plume is still intact should service providers prefer that option.  

Speaking of Plume… it has enhanced its Full Stack Optimisation system, which “enables the measurement and prioritisation of traffic down to the application category level,” with the addition of home security capabilities, adding to the existing streaming, gaming and videoconferencing capabilities. With this addition, Plume is “now able to optimise home Wi-Fi traffic and performance for popular applications connected to devices such as cameras and video doorbells…[and] automatically prioritise home network traffic for security devices and applications when subscribers are away from home,” the company noted in this announcement

“Service providers must look for new ways to enrich their offerings through cloud and AI applications,” noted Jeff Heynen, vice president of broadband access and home networking at Dell’Oro Group. “In today’s hyper-connected home environments, consumers expect smart automation that alleviates time pressure and supports individual lifestyles. The combination of Wi-Fi motion sensing and individual application optimization will help adoption of home security as a revenue-generating use case for operators,” added the analyst. 

Nokia, meanwhile, has launched Corteca, which, like a video doorbell, has a certain ring to it, as it is “home connectivity software for broadband devices that will enable service providers to significantly enhance customer experiences, generate new revenues and reduce operational costs.” 

It addresses the home connectivity issues that plague so many home broadband users by “providing a combination of advanced Wi-Fi performance and devices in the home along with effective customer support tools and proactive monitoring in the cloud. In recent customer trials, Nokia’s Corteca solution increased peak hour Wi-Fi throughput by 70% and reduced average handling time of helpdesk calls by 50%.” 

As part of its Corteca pitch, Nokia has developed a digital marketplace that “allows operators to try applications before purchasing and centrally manage what is made available to their subscribers,” an approach that sounds genuinely useful for CSPs. 

For more on Corteca and its components, see this announcement.   

That three announcements on one day, albeit tied to a trade show, all focus on the same network operator pain points (in-home connectivity and customer satisfaction) and attempt to provide hope to service providers that they can increase their revenues-per-household by deploying such solutions says a lot about where the broadband sector is right now – the technology innovation battle is largely beyond the customer front door. 

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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