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FTTH・5G固定無線:様々なコースに様々な方法

FTTH & 5G Fixed Wireless: Different Horses for Different Courses

 

出版社 出版年月電子版価格 ページ数
Heavy Reading
ヘビーリーディング社
2018年4月US$2,495
 エンタープライズライセンス(PDF)
35

サマリー

米国調査会社ヘビーリーディング社(Heavy Reading)の調査レポート「FTTH・5G固定無線:様々なコースに様々な方法」は、FTTHとmmWave 5G固定無線アクセス(5G-FWA)技術の、技術面とビジネス面の交叉する相対的なメリットを検証している。米国市場の査定からはじめて、5G-FWA技術とその他で適用される戦略的な見通しも記載している。

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY(PDF)

Connectivity between a service provider's distribution infrastructure and its customers' premises – the last hundred feet – takes a large share of total capex per customer served. It also presents unique challenges and opportunities. Providing high-speed broadband services to a customer typically involves a drop cable between infrastructure and premises. This is typically optical fiber for greenfields and overbuilds, coaxial cable for incumbent multiple system operators (MSOs) or copper pairs for incumbent telcos. Fixed wireless is now becoming a viable alternative to drop cables.

The wireless last-hop opportunity comes under the marketing rubric of "5G." For the first time, new technologies and newly-available spectrum permit wireless networks to achieve data rates that are comparable to consumer expectations (highest tier at 100 Mbit/s, preferably 1 Gbit/s) for fixed networks. Such high-speed services, fixed and mobile, are one of the three main use cases for 5G. 5G new radio standards reached initial release in 2017, and vendors are racing to complete product development. In the meantime, pre-standard 5G technologies are now in field trials from Tier 1 operators and in commercial deployments from smaller providers.

5G-FWA and FTTH are tools in operators' toolkits for providing Gigabit-class residential/small business broadband services. Their fields of application overlap, and some markets will have competing services using each.

AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint are in a horserace to be first with commercial 5G service, each by its own definition of what that means. Verizon and AT&T have both announced their vendors and initial launch cities for pre-standard 5G-FWA, commencing in late 2018. More launch cities will be disclosed on conclusion of negotiations.

Behind the scenes, 5G-FWA providers have much work to prepare for commercial launch. In addition to stable networks, there are marketing, operations, customer care, IT, HR and legal components to being able to offer commercial service. There will have to be pricing decisions, branding and communications plans, engineering tools and guidelines, procedures manuals, business/operations support system (BSS/OSS) extensions, training, regulatory filings and other major deliverables. Fiber and sites will have to be engineered, permitted and constructed. All of this is underway since it must be completed before commercial service offerings. The work is business as usual for providers and fairly low risk.

Sacramento and one of AT&T's target cities will open for service in late 4Q18, but it is premature to call which will have bragging rights to being first. At the same time, converged access network and purpose-built FTTH deployments continue to accelerate, with 15-18 percent annual growth expected in 2018. MSOs are nearing the end of their present fiber-deep, line extension and DOCSIS 3.1 initiatives. In all of these geographies, 5G-FWA will give customers a second or third alternative. None of this infrastructure is going away.

FTTH & 5G Fixed Wireless: Different Horses for Different Courses examines the relative merits of fiber to the home (FTTH) and mmWave 5G fixed wireless access (5G-FWA) technologies from the intersection of engineering and business perspectives. Although it primarily addresses the U.S. market, 5G-FWA technology and strategic perspectives apply elsewhere.

The industry has been watching field trials intently because of the effect their results have on system economics derived from ISD. A consensus of academic and industry research had predicted that ISD would have to be no more than about 200 meters (656 feet) in urban environments in order to assure a high probability of achieving Gigabit data rates in mmWave bands. Field trials tested these results and provided a more granular understanding of propagation in real-world conditions. Verizon has selectively shown its propagation modeling and trial results. It claims to achieve median data rates of about 1 Gbit/s at up to 2,600 feet, or 792 m, as shown in the following excerpt. The company suggests that this is a mix of LOS and NLOS paths. Verizon did not disclose 95th percentile data rates. It is able to cover MDUs up to 19 stories, and saw better-than-expected foliage penetration.

FTTH & 5G Fixed Wireless: Different Horses for Different Courses is published in PDF format.



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プレスリリース

[プレスリリース原文]

Is 5G Fixed Wireless vs. FTTH a Cage Fight or a Toolkit?

Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Daniel Grossman, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading
4/3/2018
 
 

Battles between telecom technologies are an endless source of entertainment for industry observers, and, somehow, the physical and data link layers seem to attract more than their fair share. For longer than I can remember, standards committees, conferences, the media, analyst coverage and the marketplace have been the scenes of epic "A" versus "B" battles. Some ultimately are decisively decided at a standards meeting or by the marketplace (how many ATM ports shipped last year?). Others are not so binary, and both "A" and "B" find their respective niche. mm-wave 5G fixed wireless access (5G-FWA) and fiber to the home (FTTH) fall into the latter category. Some pundits predict that lower infrastructure costs associated with 5G-FWA will halt new FTTH builds, other are convinced that 5G-FWA’s inadequacies will doom it to the dustbin of history. They are misinformed.

Realistically, there will be no winner or loser here. Instead, 5G-FWA is "just another tool in the toolkit," alongside FTTH and other access systems. A new Heavy Reading report, "FTTH & 5G Fixed Wireless: Different Horses for Different Courses," looks at the trade-offs that operators must make between the two technologies, the use cases in which one or the other best meets provider needs and operator strategies. Let’s take two examples.

The first example is a new planned community. All utilities are underground, and duct for fiber is placed at the same time as the electric, gas and water lines. Along with the rest of the wiring, electricians install power for an FTTH optical network terminal (ONT) in a dedicated place and run structured wiring from there. When the provider gets involved, broadband construction crews pull pre-assembled feeder cables through the duct network from a centrally located fiber hub and set fiber terminals in pre-positioned hand holes. Installation crews can then race through the project, pulling drop fibers and installing ONTs. There’s little opportunity for bad surprises, and productivity can be measured in minutes, rather than hours, per house. That leaves no case for building small cell sites on every street corner -- even if the developer will allow them. If the developer has a say in the matter, FTTH adds about 3% to the sale or rental value of each unit, an attractive proposition.

The second example is an older urban neighborhood (imagine the outer boroughs of New York City). Multiple dwelling unites (MDUs) and storefronts occupy every square foot of most city blocks, except for the surrounding sidewalks. Each fiber installation requires a permit cut into those sidewalks and burdens installers with all of the hassles that come with working in congested areas. Difficult installation means expensive installation. Worse, the provider must deal with dozens of landlords and owner associations, some friendly, some not. Some of them are persnickety about the appearance of their common areas; some of them cut an exclusive deal with another provider; some won’t let anything happen unless their palms get greased; some don’t answer the phone or the doorbell. Worse still, sometimes the existing phone lines run from basement to basement (really!), and not all the landlords are cooperative about allowing new fiber to be installed those unorthodox pathways. For FTTH providers, these are the ingredients of splitting headaches. On the other hand, rooftops, poles and streetlights provide relatively convenient space for small cell sites. Better yet, each site can serve many hundreds of households and mobile subscribers, despite the short range of mm-wave radios. Even better still, 5G-FWA customers might be able to self-install, sparing the provider the cost of a truck roll.

FTTH obviously makes more sense in the first example, while 5G-FWA clearly has the advantage in the second. Of course, these are clear cases. For those in between, providers that deploy both technologies will develop and utilize life-cycle cost models tailored to their cost structures. Household density is the key variable in those analyses. Generally, 5G-FWA use cases will tend to be urban scenarios, where capex and opex can be spread over a large customer base and the propagation environment is favorable for advanced mm-wave radios. FTTH use cases have a sweet spot in the suburbs, where fiber construction is easier and profitability can be achieved at lower household densities.

Verizon's public analysis shows that about one third of US households are candidates for 5G-FWA. Interestingly, those are largely outside their traditional territories. AT&T has similar out-of-region ambitions. In other words, they are extending their mobile rivalry to residential services.

That battle will be much more interesting to watch than the technology debate.

— Dan Grossman, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading

 

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