Executive summary 1
Home network environment 4
A new frontier 4
Network and service delivery models 6
User experience and service environment 9
Service convergence in the home 10
IP-based service developments 11
Consumer education 12
Emerging technology issues 16
The network boundary 21
Connectivity infrastructure 21
acma | iii
Developments in access networks, service and device convergence, and the evolution
of multimedia services are changing the home network environment. Providing high-
speed connectivity, interoperability and portability of services via the last few metres of
network in the home is an area of considerable industry innovation and activity.
The aim of this report is to identify technological developments and product migration
issues for homeowners, service providers and those in the industry involved with
enabling service delivery in the home beyond the network boundary, where the
consumer has an increasingly active role.
For the purposes of this report, the home network is defined as a local residential
network used to interconnect a variety of internet protocol (IP)-based devices mainly
designed for home entertainment, telecommunications and home automation systems.
Currently, networks in the home are fragmented and dedicated to one or more analog
or digital services. For example, the fixed telephony network may only carry voice, the
wireless network may only carry data and a cable network may be used exclusively for
video. Emerging access network technologies are expected to facilitate the integration
of these separate networks and extend next generation networks (NGNs) into the
The global migration to NGNs based on IP has been crucial to emerging technologies
that are transforming the capabilities of fragmented and dedicated traditional
infrastructure. These technologies are extending into the home network environment,
providing improved connectivity, quality of service, device interoperability and higher
data rates over a unified IP platform. The proposed next generation access network
will mean that service providers will not be constrained by the existing access
networks; they will instead be able to deliver multiple applications and services over a
single network. In the home, a combination of new and legacy fixed technologies is
meeting some network requirements. Wireless networks also play an important role,
providing comparatively inexpensive home network connectivity and portability of
devices and services. WiFi continues to grow in use and capability to meet both
network and application challenges.
Emerging IP-based services such as health monitoring, security, home automation,
entertainment and social networking accessible via home networks are reshaping the
user experience. The number of devices in the home is set to increase as services
move beyond the end-user to include automated machine-to-machine
communications. Devices in the home generally have evolved from analog to digital
technology and now to online or networked technologies. Device intelligence and
functionality is no longer limited to what has been built into the device, but is now
enhanced by the capabilities of its networked environment. Home-networked devices
have become windows to IP-based services that can potentially be offered from
anywhere in the world.
These new dynamics in home networking present both opportunities and challenges
for consumers, industry and regulators.
Consumers will be presented with new technologies that they will find attractive to
include in their home environment. However, consumers will be increasingly faced with
the challenge of supporting these next generation services in the home. Research has
acma | 1
revealed that homeowners are grappling with networking basics. As home networks
play an increasing role in service delivery, the level of in-home support and education
is likely to be an area of increasing interest to improve user experience and attitudes to
using and maintaining their home networks.
For industry, significant new opportunities exist for the rollout of innovative services in
homes across Australia. Technical standards will play an important role in the
coordination and delivery of end-to-end services in the home network environment.
Wide variations in the home network are possible depending on the technology
make-up of infrastructure and services. Dwelling construction and occupant density
also determine network requirements. While there is a continuing need for standards
coordination in an area of significant innovation, one of the emerging areas of interest
is the shift in responsibility for network reliability and security management from
communications and IT companies to individual home network users or consumers.
This is an area where information as well as skills development may be needed to
allow consumers to achieve a reliable and secure networking experience. As home
networks become increasingly fundamental to the successful delivery of services, both
industry and consumers will require education on the common home network ground
that they share.
For regulators, the boundary between the access network and the home network has
been a demarcation point for regulation, as it determines the customer responsibility
for infrastructure within the home. Regulation applicable to the home network can be
complex as there is wide variation in the infrastructure and services in use. Current
regulation of services in the home (ranging from regulating content on television to
device labelling) may or may not remain relevant, or appropriate, in this new
2 | acma
This report forms part of the ACMA’s annual research plan, available at
www.acma.gov.au. Through its research, the ACMA is seeking to understand the:
> external drivers of change in communications and media, with a strong interest in
identifying where platform, device and service convergence is occurring
> implications of change for regulation, including identifying where regulatory
pressure points are developing that require new or different regulatory or
This report draws on desktop research, information collection and ACMA analysis over
the past year focusing on developments and trends in the home environment enabled
by the migration to NGN technologies. The ACMA will continue to prepare reports of
this nature and welcomes feedback.
acma | 3
Home network environment
A new frontier
Modern home networks are part of an end-to-end chain of networks involved in the
delivery of services. Content providers, telecommunications operators, internet service
providers and access network providers are all part of the IP delivery chain referred to
as Next Generation Networks (NGNs). Developing access network technologies such
as DSL over copper and Ethernet over fibre have driven the IP evolution in the home
network to enable the provision of next generation services.
The home network environment is in transition from fragmented and dedicated
networks carrying one or more analog or digital services to a unified IP-based network.
These networks can interconnect a variety of IP-based devices predominantly
designed for home entertainment, telecommunications and home automation systems.
For example, the fixed telephony network may only carry voice, the wireless network
may only carry data and a cable network may be used exclusively for video. Legacy
networks in isolation are not able to deliver the full capabilities of digital multimedia
services and devices. Figure 1 shows some of the existing and emerging services that
can be realised by a transition to an IP-based network. The transition is also unlikely to
be the same for all consumers due to the variations in home construction, density of
occupancy and the types of services chosen.
Consumer services to the home are undergoing significant change as high-speed
connectivity, service portability and new multimedia services are made available in a
home-networking environment. These changes are driven by rapid industry
developments in access networks, the convergence of communications including
broadcasting services, the emergence of multimedia services, and devices. Service
providers face a new frontier as they are no longer constrained by the legacy access
networks and are instead able to deliver multiple applications and services over a
While there are benefits from technological improvements in home-based
communications and entertainment products that enable service migration and
innovation, consumers and industry will have an increased role in home network
facilitation as a result.
4 | acma
Network and service delivery models
Communications networks today are changing from a fragmented vertically integrated
model to a horizontal NGN model that share underpinning infrastructure layers.1
In a vertically integrated model, the network infrastructure and the communications
delivered over that infrastructure are closely bundled as the whole service. The public
switched telephone network (PSTN) telephony service is an example of vertical
integration where the copper network, switching and transmission systems are
dedicated to providing only voice telephony services. Figure 2 depicts the vertical
Figure 2 Vertically integrated service model
However, in the layered horizontal model, delivery infrastructure is shared among
multiple end-users, services and service providers. Gains in network performance are
possible due to the improved use of network resources such as capacity, footprint and
availability. Service providers and users share the underlying infrastructure and
transport mechanisms using a consistent IP network. The proposed NGN architecture
is expected to reflect this model with the added functionality of high-speed
transmission and managed quality of service (QoS). Figure 3 shows the horizontal
ITU, Terms of reference of NGN GSI, Definition of NGN, July 2009, viewed 4 October 2010,
6 | acma
Figure 3 Layered horizontal service model
The deployment of digital subscriber line (DSL) technology over the past decade has
created a hybrid model in which data, telephony and limited IP video services can
coexist on common copper access infrastructure. However, the services are split into
their respective vertical networks at the local exchange.
Home networks have generally reflected the available access networks environment,
in which dedicated physical networks delivered dedicated services to the end-user.
These networks are undergoing a transition, delivering both traditional single service
and multiple IP-based services over a common physical infrastructure in the end
user’s premises. This reduces the number and potential complexity of the individual
networks required to deliver independent competing services. The transition to the use
of a common physical home network is occurring by combining existing wiring,
wireless radio links and emerging technologies such as broadband over power line
(BPL) that uses the home mains wiring. Figure 4 illustrates the relationship between
the access, service delivery and home networks in a converged environment.
acma | 7
User experience and service environment
Next generation network architecture in the home allows consumers to access
multiple services from multiple providers over a unified IP-based infrastructure.
Emerging IP-based services such as health monitoring, security, home automation,
entertainment and social networking accessible via home networks are reshaping the
user experience. Demand for new innovative services can be expected to continue to
increase as Australians recognise the benefits of such services—whether they be
access to new content, ‘no wire’ home entertainment set-ups or the advantages of
home-automated machine-to-machine (M2M) for managing appliances.
Consumer access is also simplified by using a range of IP-based devices to access
these emerging services. Content providers are tailoring services to provide greater
interaction and are supplying niche content to larger, more accessible audiences due
to the global reach of the internet. This interaction means that providers can collect
data to analyse audience behaviour to assist in service and content planning and
development. Consumers can interact in a multimedia environment that includes not
only video, but live chats and commentary on content.
Ustream is an example of a service that provides interactive chat, live stream
recording, viewer statistics and more.
Ustream is a free service providing a platform
to enable anyone with a notebook, a webcam and an internet connection to broadcast
live, real-time video from anywhere. Users are able to create and distribute their own
content. The website also provides access to diverse live streaming and stored
content for video on demand (VoD). 3
Smart grid technology in the home enables remote management of intelligent
appliances to facilitate base-load energy reduction to improve energy efficiency. This
technology will provide the consumer with more detailed information and controls
using home network infrastructure to enable the consumer to make informed energy
Smart metering will be a critical enabler of energy monitoring
applications in which consumers can monitor their usage by accessing the data
derived from the smart meter.
Home networks can also be useful for some home health care situations. Bio-sensors
provide point–of-care monitoring for a broad range of patient conditions. This may
include measuring specific components such as heart rate, blood pressure and body
temperature, or diagnosing or monitoring conditions such as sleep apnoea or epilepsy.
By using the home network, patient medical data collected from bio-sensors can be
passed onto medical facilities for analysis. Bio-monitoring offers improvements on
patient management through the monitoring of at-risk patients, early detection of
adverse conditions and the potential to influence patient behaviour to improve their
Hunter Nursing, a NSW regional nursing agency, is in collaboration with Intel in a
telemedicine trial to monitor 50 elderly patients over a fixed broadband connection or a
Ustream, Why Ustream, viewed 5 October 2010, http://cdn2.ustream.tv/mediakit/Why_Ustream.pdf.
PLUS 7, Australian TV broadcasters offer catch-up TV where users can access previously aired programs,
viewed 5 October 2010, http://au.tv.yahoo.com/plus7.
Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, Smart Grid, Smart City, Public profile, viewed 5 October,
University of Virginia, An Advanced Wireless Sensor Network for Health Monitoring, viewed 5 October
acma | 9
3G cellular alternative. The service requires patient involvement in their own care and
provides back-to-base communications to medical staff via video conferencing.6
The consumer’s responsibility for home network infrastructure and device
maintenance varies across the range of fragmented services. In some cases, one
service provider carries out all aspects of service operation, maintenance and repairs.
The transition to NGN architecture for service delivery is expected to alter the relative
responsibilities of the service provider and the consumer. The consumer is becoming
increasingly responsible for the home network infrastructure, with the service
provider’s emphasis to cater for the end-to-end service requirements including some
home network equipment. Service providers have a greater ability to remotely
diagnose faults and resolve service issues.
End-to-end service management can reduce delays in responding and resolving
service difficulties as they arise. This transition will require better coordination between
the end-user and the increasing number of entities involved in service support but also
has the potential to enhance the overall end-user experience. The consumer will need
to know what the service provider configuration and interconnection requirements are
so that their home networks are capable of service delivery. Home-network firewall
settings, speed and connectivity can all affect service delivery. Service providers will
need to be more aware of the variations in consumer home-network configurations.
Service convergence in the home
There has been significant growth in the diversity, availability and adoption of
consumer communications and media services. The convergence of content and
services from previously discrete industries, such as broadcasting and
telecommunications, has been made possible by the extension of unified IP
architecture into the home resulting from the widespread deployment of DSL and
hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cable transport services.7
The home network can now support multiple services with managed QoS that are
independent of the underlying transport infrastructure. Access network providers can
exist as separate entities to the service providers of internet and telephony services
for the consumer. Services can be managed end-to-end providing QoS for both
access and home networks. For consumers, this common infrastructure gives access
to a wider range of access networks that carry a range of competing services and
features. Figure 5 illustrates the emerging IP-based services within the home and
access networks environment.
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Internet Activity Australia, June 2010, viewed 22 September 2010,
www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8153.0; Long, G., ‘Broadband passes the 500 million subscribers
globally’, Communications Day, issue 3841, p.4, 23 September 2010.
10 | acma
Figure 5 Converging service home environment
Devices used in the home are typically migrating from analog to digital and are
becoming IP-based. IP establishes a common platform and is expected to provide a
growing base for customer equipment and services. Increasingly, content and services
are being unbundled from legacy delivery networks to be offered as converged
services with added features.
A range of industry standards is in place or under development to promote device
interoperability and portability, integration of services and the support of existing home
IP-based service developments
IP-based service developments are leading to new opportunities in home network
infrastructure, services and devices. While the characteristics of interoperability,
scalability and openness are desirable in home networks, the proprietary nature of
some services and devices could lock consumers into a particular technology. The
use of proprietary codecs and set-top boxes for IPTV delivery is an example where
service providers may use proprietary standards.
Bundling of services may provide the consumer with a convenient solution for a
number of services. This may be timely and cost-effective; however, the bundled
offerings are seldom individualised and may not completely match the consumer’s
requirements or preferences.
IP-based services can offer added features due to the interactive nature of the
technology. IPTV services offer greater control over the time of viewing and type of
acma | 11
content than broadcast television. Similarly, VoIP telephony is able to integrate with
email and instant messaging applications, and use home IP-based infrastructure for
For consumers to successfully adopt and use next generation services such as IPTV
and VoIP over home networks, a certain level of awareness of the technical aspects is
needed to install and maintain home network services. Consequently, consumer
support is often a necessity; it is currently provided by online question-and-answer
documents, real-time online or telephone assistance and onsite technician solutions.
Accessing information and skills acquisition to deal with technical issues often comes
at a cost to the end-user, as well as to service providers offering this support. As home
networks play an increasing role in service delivery, the level of in-home support and
education is likely to be an area of increasing interest to improve user experience and
attitudes to using and maintaining their home networks.
According to CISCO (based on ABI research), homeowners are grappling with
networking basics. ABI research conducted an online survey on consumer attitudes to
and behaviours with home networking and found 30 per cent of respondents had
trouble in setting up their home network.
They also identified five key problem
areas—wireless network connection, printer sharing, troubleshooting, connecting new
devices and wireless network security. These are the kinds of issues that consumers
are faced with to maintain their networks.
While technology developments require consumer education on maintaining the home
network environment, technology has provided part of the solution in the form of
intelligent infrastructure. Intelligent gateways and devices are increasingly able to
automatically discover, configure and install into a variety of environments. Prior to
these developments providers were reluctant to be involved in the home’s internal
network, especially with consumer device issues. However, this attitude is changing
due to increasing competition in a market where consumers require multiple service
and device connections to the home network. According to an ABI research analyst,
‘Intelligent broadband gateways will gain popularity and account for more than 40 per
cent of home networking CPE shipments by 2012’.
Intelligent gateways can be
created as an all-in-one device—an integrated solution that provides multiple
connectivity interfaces and can simplify the management of complex services and
CISCO, Consumers Still Sweating Home Networking Basics – Even as Networked Entertainment Gathers
Steam, May 2009, viewed 15 December 2010, http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2009/ts_051209.html.
ABI Research, Intelligent Broadband Gateways to Account for More Than 40% Home Networking CPEs
Shipped by 2012, February 2009, viewed 15 December 2010, www.abiresearch.com/press/1367-
12 | acma
The developing home network environment can be further illustrated by looking at the
various components required for service delivery to the consumer. These are the
physical network components, terminal devices, and services that originate outside
the home network environment to provide content for end users. It is an area of
considerable innovation and effort by industry to promote interoperability across
networks and devices through standardisation activities.
Technology has evolved to allow home networks to exploit existing cabling to provide
IP-based networking. The HomePNA, an association of companies that develops
interoperability standards for the home network, and the HomeGrid Forum, a similar
industry body, have agreed to promote the new ITU-T G.hn standard for wired home
ITU-T G.hn specifies up to one gigabit per second data rates and
operation over infrastructure such as mains power wiring, telephone lines and coaxial
ITU-T G.hn is becoming widely accepted as it allows for the provision of
home networks where new cabling may be difficult to install.
The ITU-T G.hn working group has released specifications for smart grid products,
which ‘will allow multiple manufacturers to develop products that deliver the low power
consumption, low cost, performance, reliability, and security that is required for Smart
Grid and other lower bit rate applications.’13
Smart grid products include smart meters’
in-home displays and smart thermostats; plug-in electrical vehicles and electrical
vehicle charging equipment; and smart appliances such as washing machines, dryers,
dishwashers, heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems. Smart grid technology
provides a flow of information that enables the control and monitoring of smart
appliances. It is intended to allow end-users to better manage their energy
consumption, and utility providers to better manage their energy resources.
Wireless technologies offer a final conduit for multimedia devices within the home,
with WiFi increasingly used by devices in home networks. According to In-Stat, WiFi-
enabled entertainment device shipments will increase from 108.8 million in 2009 to
177.3 million in 2013.
Traditionally, WiFi in-home networks have supported data and
limited capacity for the sharing and streaming of video and voice. Recent WiFi
standard revisions now allow for higher data rates. This is achieved using cognitive
methods that optimise and coordinate capacity through steerable radio signals, and by
increasing the available radio spectrum bands and bandwidth in tandem with
multiple-in multiple-out (MIMO) antennas.15
IPTV and VoIP services, which are
particularly sensitive to latency and jitter, can operate concurrently. WiFi installations
are proving useful in older homes where cabling might be expensive or difficult.
HomePNA, The Goal of HomePNA, viewed 15 October 2010, www.homepna.org/about.
HomeGrid FORUM, General Overview, viewed 15 October 2010,
Christensen, E., , Top 10 things you need to known about the G.hn standard, DS2 Blog, 12 May 2009,
viewed 5 September 2009, http://blog.ds2.es/ds2blog/2009/05/top-ten-things-about-ghn-standard.html.
ITU-T, Home Networking Standard given Smart Grid specs, Newslog, 20 January 2010, viewed
3 February 2010, www.itu.int/ITU-T/newslog/Home+Networking+Standard+Given+Smart+Grid+Specs.aspx.
Potter, E., WiFi becomes the Multimedia Interface of Choice for Consumer Entertainment Devices, Press
Release, In-Stat, 15 December 2009, viewed 7 January 2010,
Ruckus, Ultra-fast and Reliable Smart WiFi Access Points with Dynamic Beamforming, viewed
15 October 2010, www.ruckuswireless.com/products/zoneflex-indoor.
acma | 13
The WiGig™ Alliance is an association of manufacturers of semiconductors,
consumer electronics, personal computers and handheld entertainment devices.16
Alliance aims to unify the next generation of wireless products by encouraging the
global adoption and use of 60 GHz wireless technology and claims ‘data transfer rates
of 7 Gbps, more than 10 times faster than the highest IEEE 802.11n while maintaining
compatibility with existing WiFi devices’.17
WiGig is intended to support bandwidth-
intensive and latency-sensitive applications such as streaming high-definition video to
interconnected consumer devices in the home at speeds up to 7 Gbps, as well as
maintaining compatibility with existing WiFi devices operating at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.18
WiGig technology is designed to address the specific requirements of various
platforms, using the 60 GHz radiofrequency spectrum authorised by the
Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence.19
The WirelessHD consortium is another industry-led effort by electronics and
communications equipment manufacturers that is aiming to define a worldwide
standard for the next generation wireless digital network interface for consumer
electronics and personal computing products.20
For consumers, eliminating cables for
audio and video dramatically simplifies home theatre establishment and eliminates the
need to locate source devices near the display. The WirelessHD specification 1.0 is
optimised for wireless display connectivity, achieving high-speed data rates of up to
4 Gbits/s at 10 metres, where its core technology is designed to operate in the 60 GHz
Not all services delivered over the home network will require high speed and capacity.
Smart energy, home automation and some health care monitoring services require
only narrowband transmissions to transfer small amounts of control and measurement
data. Low-power wireless home-networking technologies are the focus of
standardisation efforts by the ZigBee Alliance, which ‘is an association of companies
working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked,
monitoring and control products based on an open global standard’—IEEE 802.15.4
physical radio standard.22, 23
In May 2009, the Smart Energy public application profile was endorsed by the
European Smart Metering Industry Group (ESMIG).24,25
Smart Energy enables
wireless communication between utility companies and common household devices
also known as smart appliances, to deliver efficiencies such as lower costs and
environmental benefits. For example, by managing the operation of devices, such as
air conditioners, washing machines and dishwashers, power companies can more
actively manage demand and the purchase of additional energy from other suppliers
The Wireless Gigabit Alliance, What is the Wireless Gigabit Alliance, viewed 21 December 2009,
Wireless Gigabit Alliance, WiGig Alliance Publishes Multi-Gigabit Wireless Specification and Launches
Adopter Program, May 2010, viewed 4 October 2010, http://wirelessgigabitalliance.org/news/wigig-alliance-
Wireless Gigabit Alliance, WiGig Alliance Publishes Multi-Gigabit Wireless Specification and Launches
Adopter Program, May 2010, viewed 4 October 2010, http://wirelessgigabitalliance.org/news/wigig-alliance-
ACMA, Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices ) Class Licence, viewed 21 October
WirelessHD™, About WirelessHD, viewed 4 October 2010, www.wirelesshd.org/about.
ACMA, Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices ) Class Licence, viewed 21 October
Zigbee Alliance, Our Mission, viewed 22 October 2010, www.zigbee.org/About/OurMission.aspx.
IEEE, IEEE 802.15 Working Group for WPAN, viewed 18 October 2010, www.ieee802.org/15.
Zigbee Alliance, Zigbee Smart Energy, 2010, viewed 07 January 2010,
14 | acma
during peak times. Generally, ZigBee is applicable to devices such as light switches,
thermostats, electricity meters, remote controls and sensor devices used in healthcare
or for commercial building and industrial automation.26
ZigBee RF specification
RF4CE, released in July 2009, promotes interoperability of consumer electronics,
home energy management and efficiency, and resilience to interference from other
devices using 2.4 GHz spectrum.27
By addressing these issues, the RF4CE is likely to
see the presence of ZigBee in homes increase.
Until recently, devices in the home have been analog, with each dedicated to the
reception of television, radio or basic telecommunications services. Digital devices are
now replacing analog and offering additional features. In turn, a new generation of IP-
based digital devices are emerging to offer enhanced communications and content
access, and provide for the integration of multiple devices in a multiservice
IP-based video devices are capable of receiving digital and analog broadcast
television as well as receiving IPTV, internet TV and accessing VoD services from an
increased number of local and global sources. Similarly, highly integrated audio
receivers are capable of providing a range of audio services such as digital audio
broadcasting (DAB+) radio, analog FM and streamed internet radio.
and smartphone devices can establish service connections via home WiFi networks
providing users with portable access and expanded service features.
‘Dumb’ devices are now also increasingly being replaced with smart devices, where
new features or some of the features previously provided via the network are now
embedded in the device itself. Software used to provide these functions from the
device can also be upgraded as required without consumer interaction. While this
remote interaction can improve the end-to-end service management, it also raises
interest in the privacy and security impacts.
Bundling services enables providers to reduce costs and extend more service
offerings over unified infrastructure. The term ‘triple play’ describes the bundling of
voice, video and data communications services over a single broadband connection.
iiNet, Internode, Optus, Telstra and TPG offer forms of triple play.30
TPG is continuing
its free trial IPTV service, which started in mid 2007, offering programs of English and
non-English content to its ADSL2+ customers.31,32
In addition, ‘quadruple play’ is being established in some overseas markets.33
Quadruple play introduces a femtocell, which integrates a carrier’s cellular network
into the home network, providing an extended delivery of services and features offered
Zigbee Alliance, Zigbee Home Automation, 2010, viewed 5 October 2010,
ZigBee Alliance, Understanding ZigBee RF4CE, White Paper, July 2009, viewed 4 October 2010,
Kogan, WiFi DAB+ Digital Internet Radio, online store, viewed 5 October 2010,
ITU, Multiple-Play, background information for the forum at ITU Telecom World 2006, 2006, viewed 4
October 2010, www.itu.int/WORLD2006/forum/multiple_play.html.
iiNet, Fetchtv Offer, web page, viewed 15 September 2010, www.iinet.net.au/fetchtv.
TPG, TPG IPTV channels, web page, viewed 14 September 2010, www.tpg.com.au/iptv.
TPG, ADSL2+ PLANS, web page, viewed 14 September 2010,
Hartley, S., Femtocell market update, slow but steady progress, Report, OVUM Reference OVUM052152,
29 March 2010.
acma | 15
by cellular network operators via the home access gateway.34
Femtocells are small
home-located base stations that dedicate their capacity to the home while providing
improved network coverage, access and speed.
Femtocells can also be offered separately. VHA is expected to begin femtocell trials in
Australia and anticipate commercial availability for homes and offices in 2011.35
Femtocells enable mobile operators to provide more services in the home market at
lower cost as the consumer provides the base station location, power and data
Service providers are adding other innovations to the mix such as managed hardware
as part of the service, unmetered free content and access that permits users to be
Home networks are also being integrated with cloud-based hosted
services, allowing email, software, storage and telephony to be accessed from the IP
For example, an enterprise can provide hosted services such as telephone,
email, virtualised computing hardware, operating systems and application software for
Emerging technology issues
The home network environment is following an evolutionary path as network
technologies and services migrate to a NGN model. The online IP-based environment
in the home has already influenced the way people are interacting and adopting new
services. It is facilitating the delivery of services based on autonomous M2M
interactions without direct human involvement. Environment and security management
systems for the home can employ M2M automation to remotely control home climate
and security aspects. These autonomous machines and sensors are multiplying and
consequently so are the network communications requirements both in and out of the
home. The ACMA is monitoring the developments in M2M technologies and their
impact on current addressing schemes, remotely managed service issues and privacy.
More devices in the home are using IP technology, which drives the capability for
automated service functionality. The home network is now an environment where
home automation and service integration in areas such as smart metering, eHealth
monitoring, automation of home HVAC and the trend to virtual services that are
remotely hosted—such as communication and entertainment services—is flourishing.
Bio-sensors can be used for transparent point-of-care monitoring for a broad range of
patient conditions. Smartgrid devices and meters will help energy utilities manage
base-load power consumption requirements and also provide consumers with better
usage data. Energy consumption can be managed at the end device in the home
through grid control of individual appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers
and HVAC systems. Control of the timing of consumption can be passed to energy
grid providers to manage and distribute load.
Campbell, M., France Telecom Starts Quadruple-Play Offer After Approval From Regulator, Bloomberg,
London, 11 August 2010, viewed 4 October 2010, www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-11/france-telecom-
Sexton, L., Network Announcements, Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited, 21 October
2010, viewed 22 October 2010,
Ustream, Ustream Corporate Fact Sheet, viewed 5 October 2010,
Otey, M., The Rise of Cloud Computing, WindowsITPro, 26 April 2010, viewed 15 October 2010,
Software & Information Industry Association, 2001, Software as a Service Strategic Backgrounder, viewed
15 October 2010, www.siia.net/estore/pubs/SSB-01.pdf.
16 | acma
This transition from traditional to NGN technology in home networks raises new issues
for users in managing the reliability and security of communications. The network
boundary will typically place the responsibility of home network infrastructure and
reliability with the consumer. NGN home network configuration and capabilities will
vary considerably due to variations in building construction, ownership, age of
premises and stages of legacy infrastructure integration. The resistibility to electrical
disturbances and, consequently, reliability of a broad cross-section of installations will
Routers, set-top units, ONTs, DSL modems and WLLs are all examples of equipment
that may be vulnerable in terms of resistibility. Home network devices electrically
share underlying infrastructure that may be susceptible to lightning strikes, power
surges and voltage spikes. These electrical disturbances can detrimentally affect
devices, connectivity infrastructure and powered network boundary interfaces, as well
as posing risk of injury to persons using equipment in certain circumstances.
Another reliability issue relates to power continuity. NGN home networks are not
powered from the access network but locally from the consumer’s premises. In the
event of power loss at the premises, all services, including emergency 000 services
would not be accessible from the home network. A backup battery becomes important
in the event of power failures.
The use of shared communications platforms between multiple services and users in
the home network means the user will need to manage more information on the home
network. Home network security is increasingly a concern and the responsibility of the
end-user. Unsecured networks can allow unintended access to a range of computers,
internet services and other devices in the home network and to the personal
information stored on those devices. Without adequate safeguards, shared IP
networks may expose users to a range of risks including identity theft, access to
personal data, viruses, denial of service attaches and unauthorised third-party access
to services and devices. There is also a cost to industry in dealing with these issues.
Technical standards are an important factor in the coordination and delivery of
end-to-end services in the home network environment. For devices in the home to
provide the interface for users and services, they need to conform to sets of rules for
reliable and predictable operation, and to ensure interoperability of those devices and
services. Both local and international standards developments are part of the
ecosystem that supports services in IP-based home networks. Technical standards
provide for an enhanced user experience by facilitating plug and play connectivity and
reduced complexity of home network equipment, and permitting customer choice, of
both devices and standardised services from different retail service providers. Figure 6
shows the bridging role of standards or of specifications developed by industry
consortia in the home environment.
ITU, ITU-T Resistibility of communications equipment, viewed 5 October 2010,
acma | 17
Figure 6 Service and standards environment
In Australia, industry representatives develop local technical standards through
industry bodies such as Communications Alliance or Standards Australia.40, 41
the ACMA also has the power to make technical standards, it gives effect to industry
standards by mandating in part, or completely, elements of industry-developed and
agreed technical standards.42
In September 2009, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) ratified
the IEEE802.11n WiFi standard. The 802.11n standard provides for up to 160 Mbps
data rates over short distances as well as improved QoS. This QoS tagging of packets
enables priority data to be delivered continuously, providing more reliable transmission
supporting HD video over WiFi, something not possible before. The 802.11n wireless
Ethernet standard is considered in certain circumstances as a replacement for wired
Ethernet, because of its ease of deployment and ability to handle video applications.43
Planned advances in the methods outlined in 802.11n provide support for spatial data
streams and meshing nodes via the 802.11s standard, enabling higher speed and
more reliable transmissions via multiple wireless paths, within the WiFi network.44
Communications Alliance, overview, web page, viewed 5 October 2010,
Standards Australia, Developing Standards, web page, viewed 5 October 2010,
Telecommunications Act 1997, ACMA’s power to make technical standards, SEC 376
Telecommunications Act 1997, Act No.47 of 1997 as amended,13 August 2010, viewed 5 October 2010;
and Radiocommunications Act 1992, ACMA’s power to make technical standards SEC 162, Act No.174 of
1992, 16 August 2010, viewed 5 October 2010. http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/C2004A05145
Rash, W., 802.11n: The WiFi revolution nobody noticed, eWeek.com, 19 November 2009, viewed
21 December 2009, www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/80211n-The-WiFi-Revolution-Nobody-
Cox, J., What’s next for WiFi?, Networkworld, 12 November 2009, viewed 21 December 2009,
18 | acma
BPL technology allows existing home mains power wiring to be used as a data
network. The IEEE P1901 standardisation effort should help see BPL technology
receive wider acceptance and use in the home network segment of smart grids.45
In June 2010, the ITU ratified the G.hn standard, the next generation home network
standard set by the Homegrid Forum. ITU-G.hn provides for theoretical gigabit per
second access speeds over legacy infrastructure and is beneficial for provisioning
NGN systems using cables in existing homes where new wiring is difficult to install.46
Some of the stated aims of ITU-G.hn are that:
> it is faster than any existing home-wired technology
> it is designed to work over most types of existing home wiring
> enabling electronics is supported by multiple silicon vendors
> it is supported by multiple industry groups
> most G.hn-based products will have compatibility options with existing home
> it provides security using AES-128 encryption
> it supports longer range deployments compared to existing home-networking
> it helps reduce energy consumption
> it enables reliable communications over existing noisy home wiring
> it provides predictable service to QoS-sensitive applications such as IPTV.
Standardisation work is underway in the International Telecommunications Union—
Telecommunications standardisation sector (ITU-T), which involves the interfaces
between service and network layers to support the delivery of IPTV over
heterogeneous networks. A focus group to coordinate and promote the development
of global IPTV standards has produced a comprehensive proceedings document
based on existing output of ITU study groups, other standards development
organisations and industry fora and consortia.
The ITU-T has ratified a number of standards containing high-level architectures and
framework specifications that will allow manufacturers to start implementing the
specifications in their products. Recommendation ITU-T Y.1901, ‘Requirements for the
support of IPTV services’, addresses IPTV service requirements, network aspects,
QoS and QoE, content protection, end system, middleware and content.
ITU-T H.770 enables users to locate and subscribe to content from different service
It provides a degree of interoperability as consumers may use an IPTV
set-top box to subscribe to a range of services from independent service providers by
using the IPTV service discovery standard.50
IEEE, Advancement of P1901 Draft Standard for Broadband Over Power Line Networks, 7 January 2010,
viewed 21 September 2010, http://smartgrid.ieee.org/ieee-smartgrid-news/56-advancement-of-p1901-draft-
ITU, ‘ITU approves G.hn for home networking’, Computer World, 15 June 2010, viewed 21 September
DS2, Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the New G.hn Standard, Blog, 12 May 2009, viewed 21
September 2010, http://blog.ds2.es/ds2blog/2009/05/top-ten-things-about-ghn-standard.html.
ITU, Recommendation Y.1901: Requirements for the support of IPTV services, viewed 15 November
ITU, H.770 Mechanisms for service discovery and selection for IPTV services, viewed 15 November
Swedlow, T., ITU Approves New IPTV Standard: ITU-T H.770, InteractiveTV Today, 1 July 2009, viewed
5 October 2010, www.itvt.com/story/5093/itu-approves-new-iptv-standard-itu-t-h770.
acma | 19
Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) is a European initiative aimed at creating
one standard for broadcast and broadband delivery of content through connected
televisions and set-top boxes.51
The intention of HbbTV is to provide terrestrial
televisions sets with a converged capability for IPTV and web developments. It is
based on using existing standards and web technologies, and covers the Open IPTV
forum, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Digital Video Broadcasting project
(DVB). HbbTV specification, version 1.1.1, was approved by ETSI on 1 July 2010.
Standardisation in VoIP is well established and based on the Session Initiation
Protocol (SIP) and many other companion standards, which aim to replicate legacy
telephony functions using IP-based networks and promote the interoperability of
telephony between legacy and IP-based networks.52
One IETF standard attempts to
itemise all RFC standards related to SIP and is titled A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the
Session Initiation Protocol.53
Non-proprietary voice digitisation is generally governed
by the ITU-T G729 or G711 standards.54
Device standards development is increasingly important to ensure the range of
services and features can expand beyond the triple play offerings. The Digital Living
Network Alliance (DLNA) is a global group whose goal is to achieve product
compatibility and interoperability by using open standards and widely available
industry specifications. The DLNA ‘connected home’ environment will use home
network infrastructure and devices that are able communicate seamlessly and
HbbTV, Introduction, webpage, viewed 5 October 2010,
Rosenberg, J., Schulzrinne, H., Camarillo, G., Johnston, A., Peterson, J., Sparks, R., Handley, M. and
Schooler, E., SIP: Session Initiation Protocol, Requests for Comments: 3261, Network Working Group, June
2002, viewed 5 October 2010, www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3261.txt.
Rosenberg, J., A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Session Initiation Protocol, Network Working Group, February
2009, viewed 5 October 2010, http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5411.
ITU-T, ITU-T G Series: Transmission systems and media, digital systems and networks, web page,
viewed 5 October 2010, www.itu.int/net/itu-t/sigdb/speaudio/Gseries.htm.
DLNA, About DLNA, web page, viewed 5 October 2010, www.dlna.org/about_us/about.
20 | acma
Regulation applicable to the home network can be complex, as this environment can
vary widely depending on the type of infrastructure and services. The boundary
between the access network and the home network has been viewed as a key
regulatory demarcation point that determines the customer responsibility for
infrastructure required to carry services within the home. However, in today’s layered
service-oriented environment, the regulatory regime in Australia touches many points
across the home network. These can be categorised according to infrastructure, type
of connectivity, devices and services.
The network boundary
The network boundary represents a definable point where a carrier or carriage service
provider’s responsibility for ensuring efficient delivery of a service extends. Section 22
of the Telecommunications Act defines the boundary of a telecommunications network
for customer cabling (section 20) and customer equipment (section 21). It determines
a boundary of engagement where entities assume regulatory responsibility for the
provision and maintenance of services and infrastructure. Modern services are now:
> less integrated and dependent on the underlying carriage infrastructure
> delivered by multiple network technologies
> interfaced to a variety of devices
> potentially nomadic.
The transition to an NGN delivery model involves a broader range of wireless and
wired network boundaries in the home, but more importantly, presents a complex
multiple-service environment where there are also service-specific boundaries and
A physical network boundary is largely determined by the service delivery model and
the technologies of the access networks. In the case of the PSTN telephony service to
a residence, the network boundary is often considered the first telephone socket but
could be some other point at the home, depending on the establishment infrastructure.
For example, the network boundary for a multi-dwelling complex can reside in a
communal communications facility. The proposed NGN will introduce a common
access network using three technologies—fibre, fixed-wireless and satellite. Each will
require a powered network termination unit (NTU). The network boundaries will likely
be similar for these three NGN-based access networks. The majority of premises will
be connected to the FTTP network, which will terminate at a specific NTU known as
an optical network termination (ONT) that is located in or within close proximity to the
building. Figure 4 depicts the network boundary for an NTU that is proposed for an
NGN access network.
In contrast, the HFC network boundary is deemed to be at the first
telecommunications outlet (whether it is for a subscription television or telephony
service). The demarcation point for wireless access networks (such as 3G or WiMAX
networks) that extend into the home is at the surface of the antenna of the receiving
device in the home.
Connectivity infrastructure refers to passive infrastructure such as cabling and the
active components such as network boundary interfaces, routers, wireless and BPL
devices that facilitate the home network infrastructure. Radio spectrum can also be
considered to be in this broad category.
acma | 21
Some connectivity infrastructure devices are required to meet Australian compliance
labelling requirements, namely that suppliers demonstrate compliance by labelling
equipment and maintaining a record in a compliance folder.56
Cabling and associated
network device infrastructure is regulated by telecommunications regulatory
Some of the relevant standards are AS/ACIF S008:2006 and
AS/ACIF S009:2006, which apply to the installation and maintenance of fixed or
concealed cabling, and equipment that connects to network boundary interfaces. It
should be noted, however, that some home network infrastructure such as Ethernet
switches do not need to comply with the standards above, but they would need to
comply with electromagnetic compatibility requirements.58
The cabling provider rules apply to the installation of cabling in home networks.59
These rules are intended to reduce the risk of danger to people and maintain network
integrity from disruptive elements such as electromagnetic interference, mains power
and lightning. This is particularly important as the home network shares the same
environment with other utility infrastructure such as gas, water and mains power
The compliance labelling requirements also apply to electrical or electronic devices
that connect to the home network. These may include computers, mobile phones,
printers, IP telephones and analog telephone adapters (ATA). The labelling
requirements are based on features and functions offered by the device. For example,
an ATA should comply with both the EMC and telecommunications labelling
requirements, whereas a television with a WiFi or Ethernet connection should meet
the requirements of both the radiocommunications and EMC labelling regulations. The
use of devices employing wireless technologies is also governed by the licensing
regime that requires the user to operate the device in accordance with the conditions
of the applicable authorising licence. The user may be unaware of the licensing
regime, although the compliance labelling requirements address the specific
requirements of various platforms for home-networking wireless technologies to meet
technical operating conditions of the authorising class licence, apparatus licence or
Compliance with the labelling requirements allows users to
operate devices subject to the applicable class license, or enables providers to
organise third-party authorisation subject to the applicable apparatus or spectrum
licence as part of the subscription process.
Existing regulation of services is based largely on the traditional delivery of vertically
integrated services over dedicated networks. The emergence of IP-based networks
has allowed services to be delivered with features not determined by the underlying
physical network. It is becoming increasingly difficult to base regulation of services on
the technology employed or by using other narrow definitions. Services delivered into
the home are now defined less by regulation and more by providers, consumers and
content. This has resulted in new and converged services with varying degrees of
offerings and expectations that may not sit comfortably within past frameworks. To
continue to deal with specific content issues, customer expectations and operator
ACMA, Equipment compliance & labelling (A-Tick/C-Tick), viewed 27 September 2010,
ACMA, Telecommunications Cabling Provider Rules 2000, 15 December 2005, viewed 27 September
ACMA, Radiocommunications Licensing, viewed 28 September 2010,
22 | acma
requirements, a shift in regulation may be necessary to achieve a workable balance
for the delivery of services.
The federal government has announced that it will conduct a convergence review ‘in
response to ongoing trends in technology that are reshaping the media landscape
from how it looked in the 1990s, which is when Australia’s current media and
communications regulatory frameworks were established’.61
This recognises the
rapidly converging communications environment, and its potential impact on current
and future policy setting and regulatory arrangements.
acma | 23
The extension of NGN technologies into the home to carry end-to-end services is a
natural evolutionary path. While a key concept and objective of this process is
simplicity and seamless interoperability between services and devices in the home,
industry experts consider achieving connectivity will present challenges for service
providers and consumers.62
A complex and diverse home network environment is expected to consist of a mix of
internal user services managed by the customer and those bundled by a provider to
manage end-to-end services and devices. The onus of providing and managing the
underlying home network infrastructure largely on the consumer. This contrasts with
traditional services such as circuit-switched telephony, where service, infrastructure,
reliability and security were solely the responsibility of the service provider.
Existing home telecommunications, mains power and coax cabling are likely to be
used in conjunction with new technologies to provide high-speed backbones in the
home. This will be complemented by existing and emerging wireless technologies
used to deliver services to portable devices. New homes will have more streamlined
and integrated solutions that are installed at construction. Home networks and the
integrated devices that facilitate connectivity are likely to be the next competitive
frontier for services. Standardisation of technologies will play a significant role in
shaping home networks, devices and the services delivered.
The increased diversity in home network infrastructure and service provider
requirements also means that consumers will need to be more aware of technical
aspects. Both industry and consumers will have a role in meeting this awareness
through education to improve technical expertise and awareness of technology
The home network environment has emerged as an important place where service
providers and consumers interact.
Kofman, D. et al., A View on Future Communications, Information Society Technologies, pp. 5–6, May
2006, viewed 5 October 2010,
24 | acma
Access network That part of a network that a service providers uses to
connect directly to the customer.
ATA analog telephone adapter
Interface for legacy PSTN equipment to VoIP.
BPL broadband over power line
BPL technology can be used to establish or extend
home networks across mains power infrastructure.
Carrier The holder of a telecommunications carrier license in
force under the Telecommunications Act 1997.
Content provider content provider [ITU-T Y.1910]
The entity that owns or is licensed to sell content or
DAB+ Digital Audio Broadcasting Plus
DAB+ is the upgraded version of the DAB standard
that has been adopted in Australia. It uses an
enhanced audio codec High Efficiency Advanced
Audio Coding version 2 (HE-AAC v2), also known as
AAC+. DAB+ receivers are backwards compatible with
the DAB standard.
DSL digital subscriber line
Transmission technique that dramatically increases the
digital capacity of telephone lines into the home or
DSLAM DSL access multiplexer
The DSLAM connects multiple customer inputs and
multiplexes them to one output stream for the service
DVB Digital Video Broadcasting Project
eHealth Health care practices supported by electronic and
communication processes to monitor, collect and
analyse health data, in order to improve doctor-to-
patient services. eHealth may include electronic health
records and telemedicine.
EMC electromagnetic compatibility
Ethernet Refers to the IEEE 802.3 standard used in computer
networking technologies for local area networks.
ETSI European Telecommunications Standardisation
Produces globally applicable standards for Information
and Communications Technologies (ICT), including
fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and internet
technologies. Officially recognised by the European
Commission as a European Standards Organisation.
Femtocell Small cellular base station extending services and
coverage of a mobile network into the home or office,
using a customer’s broadband connection.
FTTH fibre to the home
Fibre network connections running from the central
office to a residence or very small multi-unit dwelling.
acma | 25
FTTP fibre to the premises
Optical fibre connections directly run to the customer’s
premises. The premises can be business, commercial,
institutional and other applications where fibre network
connections are distributed to a campus, set of
structures or high-density building with a centrally
located network operations centre.
A billion bytes.
One billion Hertz, where one Hertz is the measurement
of frequency equal to one cycle per second.
GPS global positioning system
A US space-based radio-navigation system that
provides reliable positioning, navigation and timing
services to civilian users on a continuous worldwide
basis at no cost to users.
HbbTV Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV
A pan-European initiative aimed at creating a standard
for broadcast and broadband content delivery to TVs
and set-top boxes.
HD high definition
A digital video system with higher resolution than
standard definition (SD)
HDMI high definition multimedia interface
To digitally convey audio and video data among
consumer electronics such as TVs, DVD players and
HFC cable hybrid fibre coaxial cable
Transmission links consisting of optical fibre on main
routes, supplemented with coaxial cable closer to the
Home network Local residential network used for the connection of a
wide variety of digital consumer devices and
infrastructure to an access network
HVAC heating, ventilating and air-conditioning
Technology for climate control systems
IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
A non-profit organisation and a leading professional
association for the advancement of technology.
IETF Internet Engineering Task Force
IPTV Internet protocol television
Multimedia services such as television, video and
graphics delivered over IP-based networks and
managed to support the required level of QoS/QoE,
security, interactivity and reliability.
IP internet protocol
The key member of the suite of internet protocols at
the network layer, specifying packet addressing and
routing data through the internet.
ISP internet service provider
Carriage service provider offering internet access to
the public or another service provider.
ITU International Telecommunication Union
The leading United Nations agency for information and
26 | acma
communications technologies, including
radiocommunications, standardisation and
Mbps megabits per second
Data transfer rate of one million bits per second.
Network boundary A physical demarcation point between carrier-owned
and customer-owned cabling. See
Telecommunications Act 1997 s. 22 for a complete
NGN next generation network
NTU Network termination unit
An active device that terminates the signal from the
access network and then provides one or more service
delivery points as physical interfaces and sub-
interfaces on the NTU. It also provides a physical
demarcation point between carrier-owned and
customer owned cabling equipment.
ONT Optical Network Termination
Can be part of an NTU.
QoS quality of service
The management of network transmission parameters
such as packet loss, latency and jitter to maintain a set
performance benchmark. A function used for managing
Smartphone Provide more advanced computing functionality than
do feature phones or PDAs. Smartphones have more
powerful processors, larger displays and complete
operating system software providing a standardised
interface and platform for application developers.
Unified IP network Services, applications, devices and infrastructure
share common IP transport mechanism.
VoIP voice over internet protocol
A voice telephony service involving the encoding of
voice communications into IP packets for transmission
over IP networks.
Services tied to the network access infrastructure and
delivered as a bundled package to the end-user.
W3C World Wide Web Consortium
WiFi Wireless Fidelity Alliance
Used generally to refer to wireless local area network
(IEEE 802.11) technology providing short-range, high-
data rate connections between mobile data devices
and access points connected to a wired network.
WiGig A multi-gigabit speed wireless communications
technology operating over the readily available 60 GHz
spectrum to enable communications among devices.
WiMAX Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access
Industry group organised to advance the IEEE 802.16
standards for broadband wireless access networks for
multimedia applications with a wireless connection.
WirelessHD Wireless digital network interface standard, eliminating
interface cables among audio and video devices in
consumer electronics and personal computing
acma | 27
WLL wireless local loop
A fixed wireless communications link that provides the
last and first mile connection for a telephone and/or
ZigBee Wireless digital technology network standard based on
IEEE 802.15.4 designed for low duty cycle
transmissions for the purpose of conveying control and
28 | acma