Living with the Future – 4 Predictions for Home Connectivity in 2017

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Charles Cheevers, CTO, CPE, ARRIS

Predictions serve a dual purpose. On one hand, they challenge us to fulfill the promise of new offerings and innovation. On the other, they excite us about the kinds of technologies and breakthroughs that might make it into our homes this year.

For 2017, I am predicting the potential for several advancements in the home that could help enable some of the latest ‘headline’ consumer technologies, such as IoT and VR etc. Here are four key innovations that I can see happening this year:

Gateways get companions and open the smart home as new classes of home device emerge

Single gateways and routers have done a great job creating connections for Wi-Fi devices in the home. As broadband speeds to the home increase, this needs to be reflected inside the home. The gateway is set to get some help from Wi-Fi extenders increasing range and performance to support services like 4K video over Wi-Fi.

These new devices offer both challenge and opportunity:

  • Challenge – to create better Wi-Fi and not act as interference. We solve this with software in the devices, supported by the cloud – to ensure best channel use and make sure the home clients are on the right access point, roaming quickly across them.
  • Opportunity – to add functionality to devices deeper inside the home and in rooms where connectivity is most needed. This could be, for example, IoT low-power radios to support smart device onboarding; or voice input and audio output – allowing the device to ‘double up’ as a wireless connectivity point and a smart assistant.

Adding functionality will enable service providers to leverage their position in the home and converge Wi-Fi capex spend with new IoT and smart assistant opportunities – it makes economic sense to deploy aggregated services.

In addition, increasing the footprint of extenders could also support emerging 60GHz applications, such as fast-sync to mobile devices and low latency un-tethered VR, that require in-room high bandwidth.

Service providers can take advantage of this device demarcation to add connectivity features in an all-in-one device. The natural evolution is to a future home architecture with a single connectivity device per room.

Shared Spectrum and convergence to 5G – experimentation and first reference architectures will emerge

As we move towards 5G, combining multiple wireless technologies into a seamless experience will be key. Consumers are only interested in the best access to the service or content on whatever device.

This is driving convergence of wireless connectivity at the device level to embrace connectivity for IoT, gigabit broadband, roaming, voice, VR, AR – independent of the physical layer. And, the lines between unlicensed and licensed spectrum-based devices are set to blur – more than the LTE + Wi-Fi capabilities in devices today.

New approaches to spectrum use – e.g., CBRS shared spectrum and frequency control via Cloud Spectrum Access Solutions as well as the aspirations of 5G – mean that service providers that don’t own LTE spectrum will be able to offer a seamless and robust solution across macro and pico wireless solutions.

We envisage a new class of home cell that is Wi-Fi dominant in the home and supports the 3.5GHz CBRS band promise over LTE – enabling the best of Wi-Fi and LTE within the home. The service provider augments the reach of 3.5GHz LTE with 5GHz Wi-Fi, and uses local wired connection for backhaul.

While mmWave promises point-to-multipoint transmissions at 10Gbp to get into the home (in good line of sight conditions), the 5G signal will be converted to Wi-Fi or sub 6GHz LTE inside the home. Solutions that terminate and retransmit, convert, and translate will be key for this multi-hop connection

Providers to investigate VR for live TV - testing the blended experience

The introduction of mmWave connectivity at 60GHz could provide more than 25Gbps of bandwidth wirelessly around the home – proving a platform for next-gen services such as untethered VR/AR.

VR/AR presents a number of challenges to begin considering:

  • Short-term – to support the large file downloads of gaming and graphic centric VR/AR experiences
  • Mid-term – to support low-volume VR experiences from the ‘best seat in the stadium’
  • Long-term – to support a million unique streams from the stadium – requiring new technologies and improvements in event IT infrastructure. Today live VR generates 6-10Mbps per view at 1080p levels and this will increase significantly with 4K level transmissions.

So long-term, VR/AR may not just be the prerogative of the gaming community. The industry is experimenting now to find the best blend of VR/AR and TV experiences.

The TV experience offers multi-camera views, helping the viewer find the best action at a live event. Adding VR/AR allows the users themselves take control of the camera. The ability to switch between live and user-controlled experiences will be an area to watch over the coming years as VR/AR tries to make its mark. TV producers are already experimenting with VR segments of scheduled live shows – allowing the viewer to continue immersing themselves after the live show has ended

Virtualization will increase hardware capabilities – not make CPE hardware redundant.

The predicted demise of hardware is not happening – the reality is that software partitioning between device and cloud is changing. When software has shifted to the cloud – there will still be a gateway and a set-top – very similar to today and with new features like IoT, Smart Assistant and 60GHz

Virtualization for vCPE is about the repartition of software features – allowing new services that require low latency knowledge of the home to be handled in the cloud. This enables rapid development cycles; development once in the cloud versus multiple times on different platforms and best in class services. For example, the best parental control solution could run on all platforms from a single cloud instance instead of trying to develop for all unique platforms.

Where does this leave CPE? On one hand there is less need to add more CPU capability if the service can be processed in the cloud. On the other, there are services that should stay in the CPE – for example; to benefit from low latency; to ensure optimal graphics performance or for the best wireless connectivity – guaranteeing a clear future for physical CPE.

Spring is Here – Buy an ARRIS SURFboard® SB8200

 

Picture3It’s spring. We’ll spare you the surfing and spring cleaning references, if you just remember to keep our new SURFboard® SB8200 modem in mind when you upgrade your home network this season.

Why upgrade your network, you ask? Just think about all that video streaming you’ve been doing, and all that wishing for faster Internet. Well, now, you can give yourself the gift that keeps on giving you the fastest possible Internet speeds and the best video streaming experience. You can buy our SURFboard SB8200.

It’s true. Our SB8200 is one of the first modems available for purchase using DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which means it can deliver ridiculously fast speeds….today and into the future. And with its two Gigabit Ethernet ports, it’ll give you more broadband speed to more connected devices*.

Why is that important? It’s important because you’ll get to speed up every aspect of your digital life—from streaming the latest 4K movies to sending email and browsing the web. All of this, while you pluck money off of your money tree every month waiting for your broadband service to catch up… which could take years. That’s not just brilliant technology making your world a better place; that’s common sense. Yours for $199.99 at Amazon.com and the ARRIS SURFshop.

*Actual rates may vary dependent on a number of factors including, but not limited to: the services offered by your cable service provider, network traffic, computer equipment, type of server, number of connections to server, and availability of internet router(s).

 

ARRIS to Discuss Data Mining for Actionable Decisions @ Cable Congress 2017

We have access to the biggest trove of data ever produced, but how well-positioned are we to use it? And what are the areas in which consumers can derive benefits? ARRIS will be among the industry leaders discussing these themes at this year’s Cable Congress in Brussels this week.

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Charles Cheevers, CTO, CPE, ARRIS

Charles Cheevers, CTO for our CPE business, will be taking part in a panel discussion called Mining Network Data to Fuel Actionable Decisions. With the amount of information available from connected devices in the home, providers have a growing number of opportunities to improve services. New additions coming into the home, such as voice assistants and other IoT devices, will further broaden the possibilities. We can now better understand consumer behavior, improve service quality, and reduce churn. The panel debate will explore the ways in which we are currently prepared to do this.

But if customers are central to key service decisions, how do providers justify improved data mining to end users? Big data from a consumer perspective will also be part of the discussion. The panel debate will take place on Thursday 9th March in the Gold Hall at 11.50 am.

Cable Congress is a two-day event aimed at identifying and understanding the cable broadband market. This year, the event will cover commercial strategies, innovation, customer experience, marketing strategy and content as well as big data.

For more information about Cable Congress, click here.

The SURFboard® SB8200 – Get up to speed, with speed

Picture2It’s here! The SURFboard® SB8200—the latest member of the legendary SURFboard family has arrived!

We’re incredibly excited about the SB8200. It’s designed to deliver the fastest available* broadband service, both now and well into the future. It will let you access the most demanding services—like Virtual Reality, streaming Ultra HD, and high-performance gaming—with bandwidth to spare, and makes every day web browsing and streaming smoother than ever.

We believe it’s going to be a real game-changer for your home network. To prove it, we going to explore some of the unique features of the SB8200, gigabit internet and DOCSIS® 3.1.

What is DOCSIS, and why does it matter?

Simply put, DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) is a standard that internet providers, like Comcast and Cox, and hardware manufacturers, like ARRIS, use to make sure their systems can communicate properly and provide you with home internet.

ARRIS was an early pioneer in the DOCSIS standard, which is used around the world to facilitate fast and reliable internet connections.

What is DOCSIS 3.1, and how is it related to gigabit speeds?

DOCSIS has evolved dramatically over time. Each new version has allowed more data to be transmitted, which leads to higher internet speeds in our homes. DOCSIS 3.1 is the latest version of the DOCSIS standard. It allows for download speeds up to 10+ gigabits per second. That’s 10 times faster than DOCSIS 3.0, the previous version of the standard!

So, when we say that the S8200 is compatible with DOCSIS 3.1, it means that it can relay the fastest speeds available—today, and for a long time to come. You can find more information on DOCSIS on another one of our handy blogs, here.

What’s the advantage of gigabit speed?

A one-gigabit connection is the same as a 1000-megabit connection. That’s about 20 times faster than the average internet speed in the US today, according to Speedtest.net. In other words, gigabit connections are very, very fast.

Gigabit connections will make everything we already do online—browsing, using social media, streaming video—smooth and instantaneous. It also makes entirely new, internet-based technologies and experiences possible, in much the same way that broadband permitted services like Facebook and Netflix.

With gigabit speeds, we’ll see everything from live streaming to virtual reality headsets and ultra-high definition TV, as well as other technologies we have yet to even dream of.

Which cable companies have approved the SB8200 for use, and will the device work with DOCSIS 3.0?

We’re very excited that Comcast and Cox have approved the SB8200 modem for use by their subscribers. And we expect more major cable companies to approve it soon!

DOCSIS 3.1 is being quickly rolled out across the US. In the meantime, the SB8200 is fully backward compatible with DOCSIS 3.0. To check availability in your area, please call your service provider.

What are the standout features of the device?

The SB8200’s compact design, combines a 2×2 DOCSIS 3.1 modem with a 32×8 DOCSIS 3.0 modem, meaning it supports two download and two upload DOCSIS 3.1 channels, plus 32 download and 8 upload DOCSIS 3.0 channels for the fastest and smoothest internet available. Simply put, the more channels, the better.

And here’s a big one: it has two Gigabit Ethernet ports. This essentially doubles the throughput, when you compare the SB8200 to devices with only one port. It makes the SB8200 far more versatile. With one port, consumers only have the option of wiring a router to their modem. With a second port, users can create two separate gigabit-speed networks. Separate networks can be used for different purposes; for example: work and play. We advise subscribers to check with their service provider to ensure they can be allotted a second static IP address for enabling use of the second port.

Users also have the option of wiring certain devices directly to the modem, increasing the quality and consistency of that device’s internet connection, while also directly connecting a router. This is a fantastic option for particularly high-performance and data-thirsty devices such as gaming consoles.

How do you provision the SB8200?

Provisioning the SB8200 is very straightforward. We have prepared this how-to video to guide you through the simple process.

Can you tell us which chips are in the SB8200?

It’s company policy to not discuss which chips are in our devices. However, we are committed to using the very best hardware in all of our products.

Where can I buy the SB8200?

The SB8200 is available for purchase right now through Amazon and the ARRIS store. We expect it to be available at other major retailers in the coming months.

*Actual rates may vary dependent on a number of factors including, but not limited to: the services offered by your cable service provider, network traffic, computer equipment, type of server, number of connections to server, and availability of internet router(s).

Introducing the ARRIS SURFboard® SB8200 DOCSIS® 3.1 — Now Available at Amazon

Picture2Your ticket to today’s fastest speeds and tomorrow’s faster speeds is our new retail modem with DOCSIS 3.1.

Starting today, you can order our new flagship SURFboard SB8200 cable modem on Amazon for $199.99.

It’s made for the future—featuring the latest DOCSIS 3.1 cable technology to achieve the fastest broadband speeds available, for years to come. And it’s the only DOCSIS 3.1 gateway with two available Gigabit Ethernet ports, to deliver those speeds to the most connected devices.

Whether you’re preparing for Virtual Reality and streaming Ultra HD, or just want to experience the SB8200’s addictive speeds on everyday experiences like web browsing, movie watching, and file sharing—check it out today!

ARRIS to Acquire Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch Business

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Bruce McClelland, ARRIS CEO

In the shifting, converging worlds of cable, telco, and wireless, we’ve always been an expert partner to our customers. As we work together to enable the next era of connected experiences, we are beginning to see the lines blur; not just between wireless technologies, but between wired and wireless networking. Five years from now, every service provider will also be a wireless operator.

That’s why today we’re excited to announce that we’re planning to acquire Ruckus Wireless and ICX campus switching from Broadcom.

We’ve set an aggressive growth strategy for ARRIS that includes expanding our technology breadth and depth with a focus on wireless broadband. This strategy will also take us beyond the home – and into new, adjacent markets. The acquisition accomplishes all of these goals, expanding our focus into the enterprise networking and wireless spaces, as well as augmenting our portfolio of products serving our existing and emerging customers.

Ruckus is leading the industry in the development of an exciting new approach for delivering very high-bandwidth cellular service – areas that are of high interest to both mobile and fixed Service Providers.  Combining the strengths of ARRIS and Ruckus will allow us to be agile, innovative and evolve our services as those lines blur between wireline and wireless operators.

As you’ve seen from our Motorola and Pace acquisitions, we have a fantastic track record of making investments that significantly grow our business and create value for all of our stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders and partners.

Through our existing collaborations with the Ruckus team, we are very familiar with the amazing talent and innovation that have created this world-class brand. We plan to introduce Ruckus as a dedicated business unit within ARRIS, led by current Ruckus COO and industry veteran, Dan Rabinovitsj. Under Dan’s exceptional leadership, the team’s focus will remain on technological innovation, channel and partner ecosystems and vertical market development.

We look forward to welcoming Ruckus to the ARRIS family – and are excited by the future strides we will take together – as ARRIS continues to power the digital world.

Forward-Looking Statements

This communication regarding the transaction contain forward-looking statements concerning the transaction, the expected benefits, and the timing of closing. Forward-looking statements generally may be identified by the use of forward-looking terms such as “may,” “will,” “expects,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “estimates,” “projects,” “targets,” “forecasts,” “outlook,” “impact,” “potential,” “confidence,” “improve,” “optimistic,” “deliver,” “comfortable,” “trend” and “seeks,” or the negative of such terms or other variations on such terms or comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the possibility that proposed acquisition of Brocade by Broadcom will not be completed and the possibility that the proposed acquisition of the Ruckus Wireless broadband and ICX Switch business by ARRIS will not be completed, whether as a result of the failure to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, to satisfy any of the other conditions to the transactions or otherwise; adverse effects on the market price of ARRIS shares and on ARRIS’s operating results because of a failure to complete the acquisition; failure of ARRIS to realize the expected benefits of the acquisition; negative effects relating to the announcement of the possible acquisition or any further announcements relating to the acquisition or the consummation of the acquisition on the market price of ARRIS shares; significant transaction costs and/or unknown liabilities; customer reaction to the announcement of the proposed acquisition; possible litigation relating to the acquisition; general economic and business conditions that affect the combined companies following the consummation of the acquisition; commercial acceptance and use of the Shared Spectrum Small Cell market by ARRIS’s customers; changes in global, political, economic, business, competitive, market and regulatory forces, future exchange and interest rates, changes in tax laws or their interpretation or application, regulations, rates and policies; future business acquisitions or disposals; and competitive developments. These factors are not intended to be an all-encompassing list of risks and uncertainties. Additional information regarding these and other factors can be found in ARRIS’s reports filed with the SEC, including its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2016. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future. The factors described in the context of such forward-looking statements in this release could cause ARRIS’s plans with respect to the business acquired from Broadcom, ARRIS’s actual results, performance or achievements, industry results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Although it is believed that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, no assurance can be given that such expectations will prove correct and persons reading this document are therefore cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as at the date hereof. ARRIS expressly disclaims any obligation to update or correct these forward-looking statements except as required by law.

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