Live streaming, Over the Top (OTT), Cloud Gaming – these are just a few IP-based video services significantly shaping some of the 140M households here in the US ( and most likely where you reside. Watching or playing great content and games, all in Ultra High Definition (UHD), has never been easier.

Even telecommuting, the practice of working from home, making use of email, collaboration tools, phone, and high-definition video conferencing, are contributing to this high-bandwidth need for residential customers. Video content and streaming giants have pushed the cloud much closer to the customer edge!
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Residential dynamics, driving up bandwidth demand

Bandwith speed and price chart icons Upgrading to a faster residential plan or faster speed has never been easier or more cost effective. Rates and speeds, depending on where you live, can be competitive. All plans depend on a fiber optic cable for aggregation or connection.

Multiple+High+Bandwidth+Streaming+Icons It’s never been easier to play great games or watch content on devices you already own. Most residences own high-definition gaming consoles, and multiple smart devices –– you can watch on anything you want, on any platform, at any time.

Small+Office+Home+Office+Icon As more and more people Work From Home (WFH), lines have blurred between WFH and a SOHO. One thing is clear, bandwidth demand, and even as things go back to the new norm, a significant amount will continue working in their residence/office.

Network+Latency+Icon No one wants to go back to the dreaded ‘buffering…’ text or hour-glass images. High-speed links allow you to transfer much more data, with less congestion, to the video content and streaming giants who have moved closer to you.

Higher residential bandwidth services

Residential service is based on a last-mile shared capacity. So, when connecting dozens of smart devices, multiple streams of IPTV, working and schooling from home, and playing the latest 4K game – high-speed access is a must and uploads as fast as downloads a preference.

In 2017, I wrote on “Next-Gen OTT Video-Services’ Massive Impact on Networks” and the rise of Internet base streaming or Over-The-Top (OTT) types. Let’s look at how an average OTT movie, approximately 5Gb for High Definition 1080p, impacts last-mile capacity. To understand, a bit (no pun intended) of math is required, as movie content is measured in bytes, while transport in bits.

The term ‘byte’ was created in 1956 by Werner Buchholz to avoid confusion with the term “bit”. Each Gigabyte (Gb) has 1,000,000,000 bytes or 8,000,000,000 bits and a Megabyte (Mb) has 8,000,000 bits (8 bits = 1byte). Not factoring in anything but simple math, you can see below, downloading a 5Gb OTT movie is much quicker (6 seconds) for a 10Gb/s (remember that bit thing) versus only having a 50Mb/s (13 minutes and 40 seconds) connection.

Download times for a 5Gb Movie

For most, a 10Gb/s connection to the home is out of the possibility, but 1Gb/s and higher Mb/s connects are the new norm.

A little more than five years ago, everyone was asking if 4K games could usher in UHD 4K displays; well now that that’s been answered resoundingly yes (lets also not forget 4K movies too), let’s look at how 4K gaming consoles and cloud gaming impact connection speeds and capacity.

For those wishing to understand video formats (SD, HD, QHD, UHD, UHD 4K, UHD 8K, etc.) for linear and non-linear (IPTV) check out my 2018 article on “How will Cable MSO Networks keep up with massive change”.

Gaming content is provided by direct purchase (i.e., disk or download) or hosted in the cloud. Next generation or the latest gaming consoles can support 4K (or 8K HDR) and greater than 10 Teraflops (Teraflop runs one trillion or 1012 floating-point operations per second). Gaming always requires updates, even the first day of purchase, which are typically larger than the original disk provided.  One of the top gaming titles, Call of Duty (CoD) Modern Warfare, weighs in at 175Gb(byte) for gaming console and 200Gb(byte) for Personal Computer (PC). Downloading or updating these files requires massive last-mile capacity. Even hosting the game in the cloud, still requiring client and part of the game to be downloaded are heavy lifts and connection speed - 4K cloud streaming, depending on title, can be 35-50+Mb/s.

Again, not factoring in anything but simple math, you can see below, downloading a 50Gb game (1/3rd top titles like CoD) is much quicker (5 minutes) for a 10Gb/s (remember that bit thing) versus only having a 50Mb/s (1 day 4 hours, 11minutes and 20 seconds) connection.


High bandwidth services functionally require at least two things:

  1. High-speed connection capable of capacity
  2. Low latency

Most residential services have/are pushing the minimum to 100Mb(byte) and the possibility of 1Gb(byte) is coming, enabling high-bandwidth services.

Ciena announces 3801 for residential and business class services

Ciena+3801+Optical+Network+Unit To help operators address their residential and business needs on premise, Ciena presents the ITU-T G.9807.1 XGS-PON compliant Optical Network Unit (ONU) – the 3801. The rate configurable 3801 XGS-PON desktop enables low-cost Small to Medium Enterprise and Business (SME/SMB), Small Office Home Office (SOHO) and residential broadband services.

Ciena universal aggregation

Universal aggregation (UA) is a converged networking approach that enables the aggregation of traffic from TDM, IP, and Ethernet services using dedicated and shared fiber on the same, cost-effective routing and switching platform.


UA provides increased choice and control of tangible business value assets like pluggable coherent optics, dedicated and shared fiber, and Ciena’s automated, open, and lean Adaptive IPTM. By supporting all services, including TDM, Ethernet, and IP, UA creates a smarter, more agile network – and a more innovation-ready infrastructure that responds to demand when needed. Ciena offers the best-in-class routing and switching platforms, enabling choice and control for all services, including residential. A smaller footprint, increased capacity, and larger interconnect scale in platforms that automate and simplify deployments and facilitates increased choice to operators.

Universal Aggregation is where the market is headed, to find out how to remove the constraints and bring more value to your network edge today, ask us how Ciena helps Evolutionize Your Routing and Switching.

What’s in your residential network?

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