Evandro Bender, Manager, Technology & Network Architecture, Oi, Brazil
One of the world’s largest economies, Brazil is finally pulling out of a recession that has beset the country since 2014. The recovery is being felt in the telecommunications sector, driving competition and expanding broadband coverage. That’s good news for an increasingly demanding and tech-savvy population that is increasingly demanding faster and higher quality network services.
To that end, Oi – the largest telecommunications company in Brazil – is extending its partnership with Technicolor to explore how fiber networking and new Wi-Fi management services can meet surging consumer demands.
Oi, which means “hi” in Portuguese, offers telecommunications services throughout the country. The company was founded during the privatization of Brazilian telecommunications companies in 1990s. In 2009, Brasil Telecom and Oi Telemar merged to form Oi, which offers fixed line and mobile services.
The core of Oi’s national network backbone is optical technology. However, despite the high-capacity fiber network, challenges arise in delivering broadband data speeds to subscribers because most of the “final connections” to homes are not optimized to support the consumer demands for speeds of 25 Mbps and beyond.
Oi is using today Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON), Very High Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL2) and G.Fast, technologies to boost performance for subscribers over the last few meters that connect subscribers to the backbone infrastructure.
GPON is a short-haul network technology of fiber-optical cable that’s used for internet access, voice over IP (VoIP), digital TV and other services. It uses optical wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) so that a single fiber can be used for both downstream and upstream data to deliver 2.488 Gigabits per second (Gbps) downstream and 1.244 Gbps upstream. Oi will also explore the role of 10 Gigabit PON (10G-PON) offerings for new residential communities.
Oi’s GPON rollout requires wise investment and smart construction. Construction of fiber networks is very cost-intensive, so we are carefully planning how to prioritize rollouts. Oi is currently in the midst of a phased implementation that starts with urban areas in the state capitols and in bigger cities with more than 200,000 citizens. That means that in smaller cities and neighborhoods, we will need to continue using copper because it’s not profitable to construct fiber at this moment.
In highly developed urban environments where a significant amount of existing copper infrastructure is in place, Oi is looking at the role VDSL2 and G.Fast technology can play in providing subscribers with high-capacity connections to homes.
We are also exploring how mobile LTE networks throughout Brazil can be harnessed to deliver broadband services to the home.
Technicolor currently offers GPON-enabled gateways that take advantage of the latest developments in Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) technology. Because Technicolor is a company that has a lot of knowledge and expertise in this area, our goal now is to expand the relationship with Technicolor as quickly as possible to support use of GPON and technologies like G.Fast.
As we look for ways to improve the amount of bandwidth we can bring to Brazilian subscribers, Oi is also exploring ways to enhance the performance of the Wi-Fi networks inside their homes.
In recent years, we have seen growing demand for Wi-Fi networks in the home. Two years ago, there might have been only two or three networks in a multi-dwelling unit. Today there are easily 10 or more networks in apartment buildings and residential complexes. We are in the eye of the storm, and this coming year, we are focused on ensuring that the Wi-Fi experience is a good one for subscribers.
This is not an easy task because the increase in Wi-Fi networks is creating new challenges for both customers and providers like Oi. The presence of multiple networks in a dense residential community creates a lot of interference, which affects performance – and the experience -- that customers obtain in their homes.
Another problem: In Brazil, buildings are often made of concrete and brick. This can affect the ability to effectively distribute the Wi-Fi signal throughout subscribers’ homes. Oi is evaluating solutions that help us better understand what is happening in the home so that we can manage the relationships between Wi-Fi networks, the ancillary access points and the growing number of devices in Brazilian homes that need to connect to the internet through the Wi-Fi router.
To this end, Oi is evaluating different solutions to better manage home network. Technicolor’s Wireless Doctor is one of these options -- a service that may be able to give Oi the detailed insights into the performance of our customers’ Wi-Fi networks. We are looking at how Wireless Doctor can improve customers’ experience of their broadband service and reduce the volume of calls to customer service that result from poor performance of in-home Wi-Fi.