Australian homes set for IT network revolution: ACMA

Report suggests challenges ahead for consumers/service providers

Australian home owners are increasingly becoming IT managers as household networks become ever more complex, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

In an new ACMA-penned report, Developments in Home Networks the regulator said technology and product developments over the past year were creating both opportunities and challenges for consumers, industry and regulators.

“Home networks are evolving from simple dedicated services delivered by a single provider to a more complex shared network that can be integrated and customised to deliver a range of services from multiple providers,” ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman, said in a statement.

Chapman also said that emerging IP-based services, such as health monitoring, security, home automation, entertainment and social networking accessible via home networks, would reshape the home users' experience.

“For example, a home network could be configured to have all devices store digital media content to a centralised server that could be conveniently accessed by any device within the home, or remotely via the Internet,” he said.

According to Chapman, customers were increasingly responsible for the home network infrastructure while the service provider has to cater for the end-to-end service requirements such as home network equipment.

“This is an area where information and skills may be needed to allow consumers to achieve a reliable and secure home networking experience,” he said.

According to the report, the global migration to next generation networks were transforming the capabilities of traditional IT 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,” read the documents.

According to ACMA, 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. Wi-Fi continues to grow in use and capability to meet both network and application challenges,” state the documents.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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