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Fixed access network

Future fixed access networks will have to distribute a range of narrowband, broadband and interactive services. This new style of infrastructure drives the elimination of service-specific networks, and could mean that wireline, wireless and business services all share common infrastructure.

Looking even further ahead, fixed access architecture will be based on network cloudification, virtualization and programmability. This could support hybrid and transitional deployment scenarios, which have a mix of physical and virtual services.

Components and characteristics

Fixed area network graphic

The fixed access and aggregation network is undergoing radical simplification:

  • Cloud, NFV and SDN technologies, along with value added services in general, are leading to a constellation of services reachable via L2 and L3 aggregation
  • Traditional NAT in the home equipment will soon be hosted in the network
  • Carrier-managed virtualization on the premises can deploy a 'one size fits all' CPE
  • Hybrid access, for use of both fixed and LTE uplinks, is obtained via a modified residential gateway and a corresponding proxy located in the network

Fixed access networks in action

Fixed access networks in action graphic

In the industry, there is a push to re-factor service platforms into component functions. The virtual network functions would be expected to fit into a common central office (CO) virtualization environment, with shared WAN interconnection and access. The obvious split is between the WAN routing function and the subscriber-centric policy enforcement points.

To meet customer expectation, the CPE will be virtualized in the cloud CO. This moves the traditional CPE functionality into different domains, as cloud, NFV, SDN and service chaining technologies develop.

This evolution will refactor BNG functionality for virtualization, integrate subscriber policy with PON scheduling, plus support hybrid and transitional deployment scenarios that have a mix of physical and virtual components and services.