Broadband Forum tackles connected home management

The newly released BroadbandSuite 4.1 extends the work of previous technical requirements to let service providers pinpoint problems that can emerge as consumers attach many new devices to their broadband services, such as Internet-enabled TVs and energy management sensors.

Those new devices, as well as services such as home security and remote energy management, represent both new revenue opportunities and new challenges for broadband ISPs, says Laurie Gonzalez, Broadband Forum’s marketing director. Many ISPs hope to add incremental revenue by selling home monitoring to consumers and potentially partnering with utility companies on smart grid opportunities, she says.

“Regardless of whether they are supplying the service, however, broadband companies are the first place consumers turn to, when something goes wrong,” Gonzalez says. “They need to be able to accurately diagnose what is going on inside the home.”

The new release includes the DSL Quality Management (DQM) Suite of TRs (technical reports), which enables DSL providers — using either ADSL2 or VDSL — to more specifically determine whether problems relate to the broadband service or to devices within the home or home networks. Also in this release is an IPTV Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics suite, which spells out what’s needed to monitor the quality of the IPTV service from the end user’s perspective.

The Broadband Forum points out that more than 60 percent of the world’s broadband service is still delivered over DSL. As service providers try to squeeze out more bandwidth over their existing copper networks, they are also trying to wring cost out of their systems and streamline operations, while keeping customer satisfaction high enough to prevent churn. The more devices that are connected to those broadband wires, the more complicated that process can become. The Broadband Forum’s efforts enable greater automation of technical support and customer care, which are both key cost centres.

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