The Nexus for Mobile + Fixed Convergence
A New Era of Connectivity
the process of harmonizing, unifying
Network convergence has been occurring for a long time. Today’s evolutionary focus is on the merging of broadband cable and mobile networks. Enabling convergence benefits both operators and end-users.
Connexus and Convergence
Connexus is a collaborative initiative that brings together the industry to deliver impactful converged network solutions. We aim to push to the forefront of innovation, transforming concepts and impossibilities into practical and adoptable everyday uses. To realize the vision of a truly connected future, Connexus is crucial to facilitate industry alignment.
What is Convergence?
Broadband operators are uniquely positioned to provide converged services because they already have secure wireline networks and Wi-Fi hotspots in place that reach a vast number of homes and businesses. In many cases, these operators are also mobile operators.
The convergence of networks is necessary to meet future demands for:
How to Achieve Convergence
Recent enablers such as disaggregation, cloudification, and open interfaces have paved the road for convergence across wireless and wireline networks. The different types of convergence include:
There is no “one-size-fits-all” convergence roadmap and we are working on all three to accomplish our vision of the future. Convergence is accomplished through a common toolkit of techniques and specifications that the ecosystem can draw upon. This toolkit is designed to accommodate convergence at each network layer.
Realizing the vision of a truly connected future is a major task that will require effort and innovation. CableLabs has been working on the building blocks needed to support convergence on the wired network side for many years:
And we haven’t stopped there. Recent convergence initiatives include:
- Developing MVNO architectures and requirements to support deployment of cable operator mobile offerings and Wi-Fi offload
- Edge-based access controller supporting real-time intelligent traffic splitting, switching and steering across multiple access technologies
- Building a service orchestration framework that supports both physical and virtual network functions to automate deployment, configuration, and assurance of converged services
Innovations in fixed and mobile will leverage key technology enablers.
A Collaborative Ecosystem
CableLabs is a catalyst for new network and broadband technologies. We are the nexus for collaboration across the industry, bringing crucial new technologies to over half a billion customers around the globe. This makes us a natural unifier as convergence requires immense cooperation and communication to realize a harmonized network that works for everyone. Here are some of the convergence collaborative efforts:
An operator-led group whose main objective is to drive a convergence strategy which differentiates the industry.
The MCC will focus on:
- Requirement definitions
- Architecture development
- Proof of concepts
An advisory board composed of a broad range of experts and thought leaders representing multiple aspects of connectivity. The focus is on identifying convergence use cases that will inspire development, as well as solutions and business models that could unlock opportunities.
A Collaborative Lab
The lab is designed to support convergence in collaboration with operators, vendors, and other innovators to experiment, test, and develop converged fixed and mobile networks. The lab was created to:
- Develop and test next-generation network capabilities across multiple layers
- Conduct interoperability development across a broad range of technologies
- Provide network and edge computing infrastructure to develop and test new services, applications, and security on a converged architecture
A Broader Ecosystem
Engagement from the full ecosystem is crucial for successful convergence:
Inventing the Future
Convergence will enable a new wave of innovations that will fundamentally change the way we live, work, learn and play. From smart cities to mixed reality to nano surgery, convergence involves thinking about what the future might look like, figuring out how we get there, and what we need to make it work.
One of the methods CableLabs uses to visualize that future is our Near Future videos. In the video “Diverse Thinkers Wanted”, the main character embarks on a scavenger hunt with the help of her remote colleagues and a slew of futuristic technology. Throughout her adventure, there are certain things the character never does: She never stops to check her network connection or find a network to connect to, and she never has to enter a login or think about her connection. Instead, she’s simply always connected to her colleagues, to her personal assistant, to cars, to information. Moreover, she simply assumes that connection will provide her with whatever she needs.
Although there are aspects of this future vision that may still be a ways off, the ability to be always connected—to always have the connection you need—without thinking about it, may not be as far away as you might think. Check out the video “Diverse Thinkers Wanted” at https://www.cablelabs.com/thenearfuture.