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Mobile World Congress: 4G Technology Enters the Residential Market

Patrick Laurencier

We're just back from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, where more than 85,000 attendees from over 200 countries gathered to discover what the 1,800 companies present had to showcase. As expected, some of the show's biggest themes focused on the Internet of Things, the mobile cloud, Big Data, 4G LTE and wearable devices.

4G LTE technology has allowed broadband operators to branch out into new services. Whether it's for residential broadband or the business segment, 4G LTE offers opportunities for mobile players to enter the fixed broadband market, while also giving converged operators the chance to extend their xDSL or FTTx coverage.

After speaking to a cross-section of service providers at MWC, it became clear that many operators are already starting to leverage their investment in existing 4G LTE infrastructure and are looking for ways to improve management of the home gateway.

The idea is pretty simple. The subscriber installs a 4G LTE gateway device in his or her home or business and receives wireless broadband connectivity from the same 4G LTE infrastructure that the service provider uses for 4G mobile devices. The gateway in the home looks like any broadband router — whether it's xDSL, Cable, or FTTX — and simply needs to be connected to the power outlet to start working. The customer just needs to use the SIM card in the device to provision the broadband router on the operator's network.

Current mobile device provisioning systems allow for fairly straightforward provisioning of CPEs in a fixed broadband environment; however, providers then face the challenge of having no visibility or control over the device or the network behind it. Additionally, it's unlikely that the LTE operator can offer the same level of quality of experience and customer support as a DSL, cable, and FTTx provisioning solution. To do this, operators need the ability to remotely monitor customer devices, track trends, diagnose problems, and efficiently support customers facing radio quality issues.

This is where a TR-069 provisioning solution comes in. TR-069 is shorthand for a group of Broadband Forum standards that allow for remote device provisioning of CPE. By leveraging the power of TR-069, providers can gain visibility beyond the home gateway to gather actionable intelligence on subscribers' quality of service — such as radio link quality. This visibility helps simplify troubleshooting for customer service representatives (CSRs), and in turn help reduce customer service wait times, while TR-069 also helps providers map quality of service issues across the network.

To find out more about TR-069, check out our frequently asked questions page.

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