The burgeoning interest in on-demand streaming video, driven by over-the-top (OTT) service offerings such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, is putting an enormous strain on in-home networks, which are struggling to cope with the growing demands on bandwidth.
According to HomeGrid Forum president Donna Yasay, these trends are adding to bandwidth congestion and the need to find reliable ways to deliver increasing amounts of traffic.
"More and more people are choosing to opt out of traditional broadcast TV in favour of all-IP services," she said, speaking at the Broadband TV event in Anaheim, California. "And they generally no longer have just one entertainment point or internet outlet in the home – it's more likely to be one in every room."
The demand is exacerbated by the availability of new devices that provide streaming video, such as connected TVs and streaming media devices, game consoles and set-top boxes, and a plethora of other new gadgets on the market, from wearable technologies to smart devices in the home. OTT streaming services are predicted to reach over 330 million subscribers globally by 2019, according to a recent Juniper Research study, published in May of this year.
"That's more than the entire population of the United States, men women and children included!" Yasay said.
Yasay added that number is likely to continue increasing rapidly as more and more homes install smart meters, security systems, CCTV monitoring and other smart systems.
"So what is the downside? None, providing your in-home network is up to the task of handling so much bandwidth and dispersing content to all four corners of your home," Yasay said. "And of course, if you live in a dense residential environment, such as an apartment block, you need to know that the network can handle the close proximity of other networks, something wireless often struggles with."
Yasay argues that the quality of experience these services require and the bandwidth block that can arise with so much going on in one small space, can only be handled in multi-room, multi-device homes and multi-dwelling units (MDUs) by mixing and matching the wireless and wireline networking to fit individual consumer's or family's needs.
"What makes most sense is to take the best of all the networking technologies and combine them," Yasay said. "Wireline technologies of any description, running at Gigabit speeds around the home with G.hn make a robust, reliable backbone, connecting static devices such as TVs, smart meters, desktops, whilst access to the Internet from individual mobile devices can piggyback with Wi-Fi onto the network."