White Paper: A Flexible Access Model for Fiber and Wi-Fi

Our mini white paper presents a modularized solution architecture for delivering high quality services to homes and businesses.

Introduction: How Norwegian customers relate to fiber and Wi-Fi

Generally speaking, Norwegian customers are not very happy with their broadband providers. One source that shows this is the EPSI survey, which looks into how Norwegians view different industries.

The 2016 survey still showed that fiber broadband customers are happier and more loyal than other broadband customers.

Overall, EPSI saw that:

  • Only 1 out of 5 consumers would recommend their broadband provider.
  • Customers subscribed to streaming services are less happy.
  • As many as 25% of customers are of the opinion that they are not getting the speed they are paying for.

This discontent is particularly tied to the wireless user experience, and this quote in particular from the EPSI report is interesting:

The quality of a home’s wireless network undoubtedly is a big part of the overall experience, and this survey shows that customers are experiencing the quality of their wireless network as inferior to the same time the year before.

There is little reason to believe that the quality of the wireless network the customer already has is actually deteriorating, but every reason to assume that expectations increase as new, demanding services and wireless gadgets appear on the market.

For business customers, EPSI sees that satisfaction is consistently higher, both with the broadband service and the service level, and that it is also the highest for fiber customers.

We see that Norwegian customers like their fiber, but that private customers experience Wi-Fi as problematic, and that this affects their view of the broadband service as a whole.

In the following, we present a flexible, modulated solution architecture that gives customers the best of both worlds, and that can deliver high quality services to both homes and businesses.

Solution architecture: An example for home and business

Concept drawing access model with Zyxel IES4204

The graphic shows the Zyxels mini-MSAN IES4204, which utilizes 2 x 10G uplink as a backhaul to a metro network or similar. These uplinks can either be bundled into a 20G uplink or provide 10G for redundancy in a ring structure.

Home networks

For access termination in private residences we have Zyxel VMG8924 and CTS FRG-3105, both of which support TR-069 and can be provisioned, monitored and configured by EyeSaaS Pearl, or the ISP’s own ACS.

To provide Wi-Fi to private homes, we recommend the AirTies home pack for all access technologies. AirTies Smart Wi-Fi mesh networks can be provisioned, configured, and monitored using EyeSaaS Pearl.

As is evident from the figure, Zyxel IES4204 also offers VDSL2 links up to 100/50 Mbps and supports vectoring. Vectoring (ITU-T vs. 993.5) reduces the effect of x-talk, so that all VDSL2 lines get approximately the same speed as if they had been alone at the central. To terminate the VDSL2 lines, we use Zyxel VMG8924 B30A.


Furthermore, there is a 10G access link down to the business building that is terminated in a FOS-5126 switch from CTS. 1 Gbps links depart from Zyxel’s line card GLC1440X-55 to customers and are terminated by:

  • A switch for businesses, here Zyxel GS2210-8.
  • The CTS FRG-3105 fiber gateway for private homes.

These are best suited to businesses and/or basement distribution, and scenarios where remote access with CLI and SNMP is sufficient for monitoring.

All products in the proposed solution are non-blocking and handle wirespeed.

Advantages of a Modularized Access Model

Different technologies have different lifespans and life cycles and evolve at different paces. A modularized access model means, among other things, that:

  • A gateway may live longer when it does not contain technology with a shorter lifespan, such as Wi-Fi and other wireless standards.
  • Wi-Fi may be delivered as a separate service and upgraded based on customer needs, where we see expectations and needs increase year over year.
  • Separate services for Internet of Things are made possible. This is an immature market in rapid development, and support for protocols such as Z-Wave, ZigBee, and Bluetooth should be separate from the main gateway.

Combined with standards-based management of all devices, this prevents lock-in and allows for automation.

Products included in the solution

Zyxel IES4204M

IES4204M is Zyxel’s latest MSAN. It is robust and cost-effective and can offer both passive and active fiber connections as well as VDSL2/ADSL2 +.

IES4204M has all the flexibility that Zyxel is known for, and different services can be productized and delivered in several different ways.

Line cards support:

  • 40×1 Gbps fiber (with C-SFP) / 20×1 Gbps (regular SFP)
  • 48-Ports VDSL2 with vectoring and ADSL2+ fallback
  • 16 GPON SFP slots that support B+ and C+ class SFPs

The management card MSC1240QA has all of 240 Gbps non-blocking switch fabric and comes with 4x10G (SFP+) slots that also can be used for 1 Gbps SFPs. You can run one or two line cards and one or two management cards simultaneously for fail-over.

The Zyxel IES4204M can thus offer up to 80 1 Gbps fiber lines (each line card has a 40G backplane). With all of 240 Gbps non-blocking switch fabric, there is still capacity to switch the four 10G uplink ports and therefore have no overbooking. The 10G ports can also be used as access links.

IES4204M supports both AC and DC power, and all parts (fan, power, card) are hot swappable.

Zyxel GS2210-8

For fiber termination for businesses, we recommend a switch of this type.

Zyxel GS2210-8 has:

  • 8 x 10/100/1000 Base-T ports
  • 2 x GbE dual-personality ports
  • 20 Gbit non-blocking switching capacity
  • Traffic Management and QoS
  • IPv6 support
  • 802.1Q / 802.1p support

The switch can be rack mounted.

Zyxel VMG8924-B30A

Gateway for for end users and businesses that do not want to set up a dedicated router. Zyxel VMG8924-B30A has:

  • 1 x 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet WAN port
  • 1 x VDSL2 WAN Port, with ADSL/ADSL2/ADSL2 + fallback
  • 4 x 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet LAN ports
  • 2 x FXS ports (for telephony)
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 3×3 802.11 ac/n, 2×2 802.11 n/b/g Wi-Fi
  • TR-069
  • Supported by EyeSaaS Pearl

This is our most popular gateway, used by ISPs across the country.

CTS FRG-3105

CTS fiber gateway FRG-3105 has both

  • 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet WAN Port
  • Dual-rate SFP cage that supports both 100 Mbps and 1000 Mbps, if you want to terminate the fiber directly in the gateway.
  • 4 x 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN ports

Fiber trays for hiding cables on installation are available. The device supports 802.1q / 802.1p and is tested against various IPTV solutions. The FRG-3105 can also be set in bridge mode, and can thus be used by businesses if one wants to terminate the fiber and offer L2 (or L3), as well as be able to monitor and provision the device.

The FRG-3105 has no support for Wi-Fi and is thus the perfect match with the AirTies home pack to provide full wireless coverage to fiber customers.

The FRG-3105 also supports TR-069 and can be provisioned, monitored and configured by EyeSaaS Pearl. It is also able to download configuration updates via TFTP.

CTS FOS-5126

For a 10G line for businesses / buildings we recommend FOS-5126 from CTS.

This includes:

  • 10G uplink
  • 20 x 100/1000Mbps SFP ports
  • 4 x combo uplink ports
  • Support for IGMP snooping
  • Q-In-Q VLAN tag
  • IEEE 802.3ad Link Aggregation
  • SFF-8472 Diagnostic Monitor Interface

AirTies Home Pack

An AirTies home pack provides the customer with a ready-to-go load balanced mesh network with three access points. The AirTies devices do not have router functionality, and at least one access point must have a wired connection to the internet through a gateway, router, or modem.

The AirTies network has client steering and band steering, which ensure that all devices connect to the access point that provides the best performance, preventing one device with poor connectivity from pulling the rest of the network down.

Three devices are sufficient for full coverage in the vast majority of homes. In homes where the size, layout, or building materials are particularly demanding, additional devices may be needed.

See also our case study on AirTies Wi-Fi.

EyeSaaS Pearl

On the EyeSaaS platform we offer the service Eyesaas Pearl for management of access points and CPEs.

This service lets you provision devices with configuration and firmware through the EyeSaaS Control Center, and grants live interaction and insight into each mesh network and access point through EyeSaaS Customer Center.


Norwegian broadband customers like their fiber, but are often unhappy with the user experience. Wi-Fi is a frequent object of complaint.

A modularized solution as proposed here allows the internet service provider to separate the access technology from technologies with a shorter lifespan — such as wireless access points and IoT, which is coming at us full speed ahead.

A flexible product such as Zyxel’s MSAN is a good starting point for such an architecture, where both businesses and homes can get their needs met.


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