2020 was a pivotal year in the development and deployment of Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) to support the shifting needs of end users. This has resulted in a wave of innovation and advancements in technology that is paving the way for exciting new capabilities in 2021 and beyond.
The pandemic made internet access to the home an acute necessity. In the midst of a global pandemic, content and communication services became a necessity for many around the world—including across North, Central, and South America. It created an imperative to improve all aspects of network service provider (NSP) infrastructure, including the quality and capacity of CPE.
As a result, requirements for broadband internet access will continue to drive CPE growth in 2021 and beyond. When customers cannot benefit from distance learning, remote telecommuting or remote healthcare, the economy suffers.
Looking at internet access, there are two different markets. There is one market that currently has connectivity and has historically been served. But there is also a market that has historically been either underserved or has not had any access at all due to limitations brought about by
geography or economics.
The first market, for the most part, receives premium access at 500 megabits-per-second (Mbps) service and beyond. The benefit of a larger access pipe to the home is a reduction in latency which is important for video streaming, video conferencing and gaming. Additionally, a bigger pipe improves capacity for traffic upstream and provides an overall better user-experience, which is especially important now as people work from home and use video-conferencing services while sharing important—and sometimes large—files with customers and colleagues from their home.
Moving forward, this highly competitive market will demand—and receive—more ultra-broadband and gigabyte services which will further propel growth of DOCSIS 3.1, fiber and 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) technologies.
Also important for this segment of the market is the need to optimise network performance within the home. Up until very recently, network service providers (NSPs) have not had a lot of control over in-home wireless local-area networks. However, as the number of devices connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi grows, so does the complexity associated with maintaining a good experience. As a result, we are seeing consumers across the Americas express interest in having NSPs manage this aspect of their digital lives.
In the past few years, memory requirements have increased from less than a gigabyte to multiple gigabytes of memory and corresponding improvements in processing power. Software enabled capabilities such as management features and security testing—which are quickly becoming requirements—will all contribute to driving an evolution of the ecosystem.