December 19, 2016

Error Performance of Fixed Access and Home Technologies: Comparison and PHY-TCP Alignment

  • Lefevre Y.
  • Maes J.

The error performance of fixed access and home (FAaH) technologies is an important physical layer (PHY) characteristic that has strong impact on the end-user's experience. However, different FAaH technologies employ different approaches to define their error performance, making it difficult to compare or align technologies. In this paper, we present a high-level comparison between the error performance of FAaH technologies. To enable such a comparison, we identify the need for a universal measure, for which we derive a novel parameter called the effective bit-error rate (BER). Using this measure, we show that there is a large variety in the error performance of FAaH technologies, as the effective BER varies over more than five orders of magnitude across the considered technologies. Finally, we propose an approach to align the error performance of PHY-layer technologies with what is required by the higher layers, i.e., by the transmission control protocol (TCP) layer. This analysis reveals that the error performance of some FAaH technologies is so weak that it imposes limits on the achievable data rate of TCP streams. Our results can be used to obtain design guidelines for a converged error performance that is unified across different FAaH technologies.

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