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Topic # 129174 5-Sep-2013 20:42 3 people support this post Send private message

Folks, just received this:

TELECOM PREMIUM CONSUMER GATEWAY PROJECT
4 September 2013

Over the past eight weeks, Telecom approached Manufacturers with an premium consumer gateway RFI (request for information) and a number of discussion topics. Five Manufacturers have formally responded. Some have chosen not to participate.   Another two have expressed interest but cannot provide details until the end of September.

The following information summarises the requirements, discussions, feedback and timings, and lastly asks questions of the forum.



    1. RFI Summary
Key RFI elements were:



    • Telecom desires a high performance, feature rich consumer gateway;
    • The gateway will be offered to two distinct customer groups:

        • Consumers who are non-technical and desire ease of use;
        • Consumers who are technically proficient and desire the ability to customise.
        • The gateway must meet a minimum hardware and software feature set;
        • The gateway must support a specific range of firmware capabilities;
        • The gateway must have certain aesthetic criteria for marketing purposes;
    • Standard commercial framework including affordability.
    1. Gateway Requirements
Based on forum feedback and Telecom requirements, the table below summarises the minimum gateway specifications. Note – this is a simplified version, without most Telecom specific requirements. Manufacturers were encouraged to respond with their views and opinions based on our discussion points.




FEATURE


REQUIREMENT


Customisable Chassis / ID


 Required with Telecom branding (co-branding possible)


Flash Memory


128MB (Dual bank preferred)


On-board Memory


128MB minimum; 256MB preferred


Processor


Dual Core

Please advise optimisations implemented for WAN/LAN/WLAN traffic management and load performance


ADSL1/2/2+ Support


    1. G.992.3 Annex A G.992.3 Annex L (M2) G.992.1 G.DMT ANSI T1.413 iss 2

VDSL2 Support


Must Support Band plans 997 & 998


Dedicated Ethernet WAN Port Gigabit Fibre Input


1 x Gigabit port No GPON termination required


Dedicated Ethernet LAN Ports


4 x Gigabit ports minimum; 8 x Gigabit ports preferred


Power over Ethernet Support


Ethernet ports capable of powering of external devices such as web cameras etc.

   
   
   

External Wireless Antenna Connector


Please state which connector type is used. Example: Female RP-TNC, Female RP-SMA etc


WiFi On/Off Switch


Physical, required


WPS Button


Physical push button mode active only.

All other modes must be disabled or work on incremental time out for successive failed attempts.


eSata Port


Minimum of 1


USB 2.0 Ports


Minimum of 2


USB 3.0 Ports


Minimum of 1; 2 Preferred


USB Support for 3G Mobile Broadband dongles


Ability to integrate selected Telecom 3G USB dongles plus manual user additions


USB Support for 4G/LTE Mobile Broadband dongles


Ability to integrate selected Telecom LTE USB dongles plus manual user additions


USB Support for large file formats (on top of FAT16 + FAT32) for external USB HDD


FAT16, FAT32, NTFS support mandatory exFAT, HPS Plus, ext2, ext3, ext4 support desirable.


USB Support for Printer


Ability to create networkable printer via gateway USB.


DLNA


Compatible minimum; Certified preferred


ATA Ports


1 minimum; 2 preferred


DECT Module


 Preferred


Mounting bracket or mounting holes in the gateway allowing it to be wall mounted.


 Required


Firmware Key Features


Open Source Firmware Option


(See Appendix)


Telecom customised Manufacturer firmware

(must have LAN side CLI access enabled and supply full CLI documentation)


Set Up Wizard to configure device with ease


 


Gateway based role based access control


 


Autosensing – gateway must support switching between ADSL/VDSL/fibre connectivity without requiring factory reset or user initiated configuration change.


 


Dual IPv4/IPv6 Stack Support


 


Bridge Mode via UI


 


DNS management options


 


Gateway based multiple SSID support


 


Simple Guest WiFi Management


 


Data Allocation and Access Controls by Group


 


Extensive Security features


 


Extensive Parental Control features


 


Permanent 3G Connection Option


 


Support for multiple simultaneous VPN sessions - pass through & client based


 


Customisable VPN Support (at minimum) • IPSec based • L2TP based • PPTP based • SSTP based • OpenVPN based


 


Extensive ALG options and customisation


 


Voice / SIP Support


 


HD Voice Support


 


RFC4638 Compliant


 


Integrated line test / diagnostic tools (ADSL)


 
    1. Hardware Options Not Progressed With
These hardware requirements could not be delivered economically or practically, without significant cost, compliance or time delays, including being first to market with new technology.



  1. eSATA – few current mainboards integrate eSATA; Possible to add but at considerable cost and delays; Possible on some mainstream boards in 2015, but USB3.0 is likely to be preferred.
  2. USB3.0 – few current mainboards integrates USB3.0; Possible to add but at considerable cost and delay Very likely to be standard on mainboards from Manufacturers in H2 2014.
  3. Integrated battery; Added considerable cost, weight and increased compliance costs excessively; A good UPS was more cost efficient, reliable and practical.
  4. External Wireless Antenna Connectors; Manufacturers that responded did not support this in their current designs; Possible to add but the cost was disproportionate.
  5. External WiFi module; Not supported by Manufacturers, mostly due to regulatory compliance costs; 802.11ac offers superior range, and low-cost WiFi repeaters available.
  6. 8 x Gigabit LAN ports Available in enterprise rack mount hardware but lost many consumer features; Manufacturers struggled with the aesthetics requirements with enterprise hardware.
  7. Power over Ethernet As above, widely available on enterprise product, not on consumer.

Note - it is entirely possible that some of these requirements can be met by H2 2014 when new mainboards are released. Should there be a successor project, these developments and new community requirements will be factored in.



    1. Other Discussions - Hardware & Firmware
Additional development questions were put to Manufacturers and their answers reviewed. This is a summary of the key points and the outcomes based on information and pricing.



    • Firmware that supports both everyday and technically proficient users.

        • Conclusion: two pronged approach

            • For everyday users:

                • Firmware based on the Manufacturers build, customised to our requirements, fully supported by the Manufacturer and Telecom;
                • All gateways would ship with this firmware installed by default.

            • For technically proficient users:

                • An unlocked or open source variant, probably OpenWRT as it was universally recommended;
                • Firmware would be customised by the Manufacturer to the hardware installed;
                • However, there would be minimal support from the Manufacturer (excluding firmware/security updates);
                • Likely approach is to establish community based support (required more development);
                • This firmware would be available from the Telecom website and user installable.
                • Development of SmartPhone (Android and iPhone) App based gateway control

            • Eliminates need for in-gateway LCD;
            • Most common controls can be run from a SmartPhone or tablet;
            • Manufacturers have experience developing such software;
            • Conclusion: will progress with Android (then iPhone) app; Ability to control common functionality (WiFi controls, push button WPS, Guest WiFi access, remote access, parental controls, real time gateway speeds, current data usage, group data controls, telephone controls etc);

                • Need to confirm App support with OpenWRT but suspect it is OK.
                • Broad and customisable ALG support

            • Conclusion: will be done, although in Telecom version full flexibility may not be possible as it is Manufacturer firmware build dependent.
            • Global DNS and separate DNS per IP reserved in the DHCP
            • Doable and understand reasons for wanting, however, Telecom has to be wary of overtly supporting.
            • Conclusion: unlikely in Telecom firmware, will be left to open source group to develop.
            • Data Allocation by Group - setting shared data use (sharing data cap among flatmates or in a work environment over set or rolling time period), allow each data group to connect multiple MAC addresses, WAN/LAN traffic limits, live tracking of data usage by group (via UI and Smartphone App), ensuring soft resets do not reset data allowance etc.
            • Conclusion: can be done – working on storing data in non-volatile memory options
            • Feasibility of using Android as gateway O/S
            • None of the Manufacturers have Android as an O/S on their gateway roadmap; significant dependency appears to be ARM chipset; those that have experimented found significant interop issues with DSL networks.
            • Conclusion: technology not evolved enough, will not be done.
            • Easy Guest WiFi access – simple method to add guest devices, set WAN/LAN access parameters, set connection time lengths, set data or traffic limits, parental controls etc.
            • Conclusion: will be done –there are multiple methods of implementation available, most likely controlled by SmartPhone app with automated email to Guest for access.
            • Smart use of LED lighting and/or LCD screens in chassis
            • Conclusion: possible, but LCD’s add a lot of cost for little gain (that can be done by an App more practically); LED’s can be used for aesthetics and made semi-smart based on environmental factors; inclusion dependent on final chassis style and costs.
Note – these are the non-negotiable elements that Telecom requires from any gateway:



    • Telecom branding on chassis, UI and gift box;
    • Telecom conducts an Independent, third-party security review to assure a level of firmware performance;
    • Gateway must pass Telecom in-house testing regime;
    • Gateway must go through the Telepermit process and obtain PTC prior to launch.
 
    1. Next Steps and Proposed Timeline

Proposed timeline as of today:



    • Late September - last manufacturers’ information supplied
    • Early October - short list Manufacturers, notifications sent; firmware specifications supplied;
    • November - land shortlist samples (some Manufacturers are waiting on suitable 11ac boards);
    • Late November – send out samples to agreed group of trialists;
    • November - work on design and aesthetics for chassis/ID customisation options;
    • Nov/Dec/Jan – conduct interop and IP functional testing;
    • Late January – compile and review test results and user feedback;
    • February - select final candidate;
    • Feb/Mar/Apr - complete development sequence - gift box, documentation, support, logistics etc;
    • March– order stock;
    • Q2.2014 – product launch
This timeline remains fluid.   Most vendors have 12 to 16 week manufacturing lead times due to 802.11ac main board supply constraints. Launch date for some vendors is dependent on main board availability. Depending on what we discover during testing, and the time line to implement Telecom specific firmware requirements (example: TR069, TR143, TR181 modules) and perform necessary QA testing.



    1. Questions for Forum Participants:
    1. What are their opinions on the gateway feature set?
    2. What are they most disappointed about and to what degree?
    3. What is still missing?
    4. If they were to purchase this gateway from a retailer, how much would they be prepared to pay? NZ dollars and GST inclusive

 

 

 




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  Reply # 890677 5-Sep-2013 23:26 3 people support this post Send private message

1) What are their opinions on the gateway feature set?
Excellent and realistic overall. Some per feature feedback:

Included Features

Specs:
Nice and high end requested. Good to see.

WAN Options:
Auto sensing between ADSL, VDSL, UFB and permanent/failover 3G/4G is great to see.

Dual firmware:
Good approach to tackle this power user option.

Smartphone App:
This would prove to be a valuable and innovative feature.

Data Allocation and Metering:
Excellent. Good to hear this is going forward and being catered for.

Maybe Features
LCD:
As mentioned, this is expensive and not useful given mobile apps being far more functional. I vote against including it in favour of reducing cost and including other features instead.

Dropped Features
eSATA:
Wise decision. Very few people will use ESATA, and it would be very pricy to implement, more so than USB3

Integrated Battery:
Again, wise decision. Too much added expense to put quality lithium in it, and it introduces safety/compliance costs as well as maintenance in the future for failing batteries. A UPS would be needed to power a fibre ONT anyway, so it makes this not such a useful feature for UFB users.

Wireless Antennas:
While desirable, this is understandable. Given that it is has Dual Band with wireless AC, many basic dual band routers have 4 antennas, and premium AC ones tend to have 6, three for 2.4, and three for 5ghz. This makes eternal antennas not so feasible.

External Wifi Module:
If i recall this was wifi on a separate base unit to be used as a secondary AP? Would be nice, but should be an accessory stand alone access point rather than an included "module".

8x Gigabit ports:
These are nice for your average geek, but the reality is that the mass market uses wireless for everything these days, or if they are using cabled connections, it doesnt tend to be more than four computers. If it is, they probably have their own switching hardware for this purpose. 

Enterprise Rack Mount:
Very few customers would use this i believe, so no problem dropping it. Plus its generally incompatible with the consumer design.

PoE:
Realistic also. Very small amount of users will use this, and those that need it probably have PoE injectors or a PoE enterprise switch. The only exception here was if the "wireless module" was a PoE accessory for ease of positioning. Android:
Good, I don't want my router getting out of date and having a bunch of unnecessary features.

What are they most disappointed about and to what degree?

Advanced DNS controls:
Disappointing but expected due to the nature of such a feature
Lack of USB3:
Slightly disappointing, but expected due to the resources currently available. What could make up for this would be a high USB2 throughput - most home routers have poor performance, down around the 10MB/s mark. If this can be pushed up around the 30MB/s mark this would be great. The majority of routers seem to only put through about 10MB/s which is very poor. 30MB/s = 240Mbps which is higher than the real world throughput on Wireless N, and acceptable performance with Wireless AC.

What is still missing?

Nothing that I can see. This seems to be a fully functional home gateway with some extras, but nothing unnecessary. All it needs now is to be of high quality, easy to use and reliable. If its full featured and easy to use, it will fit in very nicely with telecoms recent promotion "tech in a sec".

If they were to purchase this gateway from a retailer, how much would they be prepared to pay? NZ dollars and GST inclusive
$100-150 subsidized on contract. $200-300 one off.
Obviously everyone wants it as cheap as possible, but being realistic it could be up to $300.

Other Comments
I'm looking forward to seeing how the development of this device goes. Theres some smart and level headed people working on this project and im sure it's going to turn out great.




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  Reply # 890680 5-Sep-2013 23:38 Send private message

I am meeting with the project manager while in Auckland next week for TechEd. Keep the feedback coming folks!

I hope to have some more updates by then.




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  Reply # 890682 5-Sep-2013 23:55 Send private message

Were wall mount options considered?

(I'm unlikely to buy this gateway, so weight my opinions accordingly. I was unlikely to for cost reasons anyway, but given that timetable I'm just not willing to wait that long to switch to VDSL, and I see little point in getting something substandard now and then waiting.)

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  Reply # 890843 6-Sep-2013 12:11 Send private message

I think ExDee has summed most things up very well. Personally have no idea on what the pricing should look like but again I would think he's probably got that relatively accurate as well. In that regards if this was a Telecom use only modem (if that's even possible) then they'd be able to bear the brunt of some of the cost regardless but of course I don't expect it to be free either.

I do agree however on his points regarding the USB support as USB 3 has been around for a couple of years now (if not a little longer) it's really surprising to me that so few manufacturers are supporting this fully now. However if this is not to be included due to cost then I'd agre once again with Exdee that a decent throughput for the USB2 ports is a must as we all know that time is money (for some users that will be a literal thing) and although this is not a true statement for most most people still don't like sitting around waiting forever for USB items to simply work as functioned in a timely manner.

Overall again it's sounding like a very solid thing and it's great getting these updates. I really look forward to seeing these eventuate and by the time they actually do I will be certainly in a position to look at a upgrade especially with Wireless AC being included as like I said time is money and when it comes to streaming content I'd like to think that wireless AC will help to eliminate a lot of waiting for things to buffer and the increased range will help the whole house be covered.

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  Reply # 890887 6-Sep-2013 13:17 One person supports this post Send private message

It's all sounding more and more real :)

Technically I can't add to the discussion.

Practically what ExDee said makes sense (that which I understood ;) )

Cost-wise: if it could be nearer to $200 than $300 there will be a far greater uptake, warranting the effort put in.

The non-technical users won't see any point in paying much more than $170, so it will need to look really WizzBang to grab them, or be so obviously easy-to-use and meet their needs that it sells itself.

Having attempted to help a close relly several times with modem/router issues I realise that virtually everyone in the tech field OVERESTIMATES the non-technical users ability.

This is VERY significant. They don't want Technology, they want Stuff That Works! :)

The more technical users (I see myself in this group) want something where setting data allowances etc is straighforward, not requiring black magic rituals that you top level guys use... otherwise the investment is useless.

Go for it!




Muddling along, being the most technical in the house, one of the oldest, and female .... hmmmmm gotta be some stereotypes busted in there somewhere.

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  Reply # 890891 6-Sep-2013 13:31 One person supports this post Send private message

It's great that they are planning a basic and expert mode to setting this up.  I consider myself to be a technical user, however not in this field.  I got a cast-off DIR-655 from work and I set it up really quickly and had my network up and running and secure within the hour.  Then I looked at all the other features it offered shrugged my shoulders and closed the browser!  I just lost interest at that point.

These "features" need to be closely tied with what benefits they will deliver to the user - I'm sure I can make the Wi-Fi router even more efficient, secure and useful but unless I know the benefit I can't be bothered.  This will affect the price point - what do I get for spending $x over $y and how easy will it be for me to realise those benefits.  I'm sure Telecom will do a great sales pitch - I'd probably go up to around $200 for what I see so far.

So for me, I sit in middle ground; technically proficient but want it on a plate :)  I suspect there is another group sharing this middle ground; the not technically proficient but know there is more to be had and want it.

Good to see some positive movement on this.




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  Reply # 890950 6-Sep-2013 14:48 Send private message

What are their opinions on the gateway feature set?
All features on this gateway align with all the other high end residential gateways. The management via an app will be very nice and makes this gateway stand out a bit. I am not surprised that PoE and 8 GigE ports isn't included and at the end of the day the true 'power' user will will have extra hardware to do this already.

What are they most disappointed about and to what degree?
The fact there is only going to be USB2.0 ports with what, I can only assume, will be a very stunted DLNA/media server is disappointing. This could have been a gateway that had some really good NAS features but that clearly isn't going to be much for the power user. They will keep using a high grade NAS.

What is still missing?
As above...

If they were to purchase this gateway from a retailer, how much would they be prepared to pay?
I liken this to having the same feature set as a Fritzbox so anywhere between $350-$450 would be more than reasonable.

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  Reply # 890964 6-Sep-2013 14:55 Send private message

VLANs are missing. AFAIK this feature is needed for some UFB/VDSL setups anyway?

And something i just thought of: Did we get anywhere on the "home cloud" feature suggestions from way back? While im against the silly mandatory cloud settings that some of thew newer routers have (eg dlink), but what is nice is having remote access to files. Telecom's firmware could support a feature where a user gets an easy remote login, instead of having to deal with dyndns domains and setting up the servers themselves, similar to what fritzbox does with myfritz. You could have yourname.tcloud.co.nz or something. Of course cloud is simply a buzzword but its something that people can relate to, but if you say dyndns, web interfaces, FTP servers etc this means nothing to consumers.

What's going to be needed for this to succeed is some real easy to use but desirable features for your average consumer.
Speed only sells so much, especially as people can't relate to just a bunch of numbers, and most peoples speed bottleneck is their actual WAN connection rather than the modem.
If you market this as a central hub for your home, where you can plug in a hard drive and stream content to your TV and other smart devices, as well as remotely access content in a 'home cloud storage' like manner, this may be the sort of thing consumers might want. With telecom's ultra broadband having higher upload speed, this is actually quite feasible.
Other marketing points this will be able to be sold on that i see are:
-Increased wireless range
-Ease of use
-Mobile App
Features that home gateways have these days that people simply don't know exist because its hidden away in that white box on their desk. Expose them through an easy interface in a mobile app and they become a lot more useful. The example of guest wifi being controllable through this is a good example, most gateways do Multi SSID, but this means nothing to your average user.
-Metering per user
This especially on a mobile app will be extremely useful to parents wanting to see which kids eating all the data, or flatmates who are splitting a bill might do it based on whos using what.

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  Reply # 890989 6-Sep-2013 16:09 Send private message

What are their opinions on the gateway feature set?
It isn't specified, but presumably since Fibre support is listed, that VLAN tagging on the WAN interface is also? How about VLANs on the LAN interfaces?

What are they most disappointed about and to what degree?
Lack of USB3.0. Especially the latter. Asus have USB3.0 ports in some of their recently-released consumer grade routers (like the RT-AC56U for ~US$160), so clearly the technology is available and is not at a phenomenal cost.
Limit of 4 LAN ports - if 8 is not practical (why not?), has at least a small increase to 5 or 6 been considered?
Lack of external antenna connectors - Why not? Again, several of the existing, brand-name consumer grade devices support this (Asus, Draytek for example).


What is still missing?
See above.

If they were to purchase this gateway from a retailer, how much would they be prepared to pay? NZ dollars and GST inclusive
No more than $400, preferably closer to $300. Existing consumer-grade routers provide most of the features included for around the $300 - $330 mark, and I don't think the extra features could justify a significantly higher cost for me.




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  Reply # 890997 6-Sep-2013 16:23 Send private message

Inphinity:What are they most disappointed about and to what degree?
Lack of USB3.0. Especially the latter. Asus have USB3.0 ports in some of their recently-released consumer grade routers (like the RT-AC56U for ~US$160), so clearly the technology is available and is not at a phenomenal cost.


Good point! I hadn't realised this. It looks like the Broadcom BCM4708A0 has USB3 support and there are a LOT of devices which have it:
http://wikidevi.com/wiki/List_of_802.11ac_Hardware  ctrl + f USB 3.0
A list of devices using this chipset here

While most of these are routers, not modems, it seems theres at least some options available for it in DSL hardware, eg DSL-2890AL supports USB3, whether its got a separete chip or built into the SoC, its definitely doable.

I suggest going back to the vendors as its the main point people appear to be having an issue with

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  Reply # 890998 6-Sep-2013 16:23 Send private message

Lack of external antenna connectors - Why not? Again, several of the existing, brand-name consumer grade devices support this (Asus, Draytek for example).


As has been mentioned, higher throughput wireless standards use MIMO so if they were to have external antenna there would have to be a multitude of them and then one guy will only install a high gain antenna on a single one of them and actually make the wireless worse and blame the gateway where it is actually the stupid user.

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  Reply # 891013 6-Sep-2013 16:51 Send private message

chevrolux:
Lack of external antenna connectors - Why not? Again, several of the existing, brand-name consumer grade devices support this (Asus, Draytek for example).


As has been mentioned, higher throughput wireless standards use MIMO so if they were to have external antenna there would have to be a multitude of them and then one guy will only install a high gain antenna on a single one of them and actually make the wireless worse and blame the gateway where it is actually the stupid user.

The Asus RT-AC66U is a 1300Mbps wireless AC device with three external antennas. The question is though, do they need to be a certain type of antenna to properly support 5ghz/2.4ghz with MIMO? And does it have any internal antennas? They look removable

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  Reply # 891099 6-Sep-2013 20:43 Send private message

The way I see it is that joe bloggs isnt going to bother even try to optimize wireless performance. Whereas the power user will be getting a second AP. Wacking on a high gain antenna is never a very good way to try boosting performance.
Even in my little 160m^2 house I have 2 Unifi's to keep signal levels nice and strong.

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  Reply # 891108 6-Sep-2013 21:17 Send private message

Generally if there are only 2/3 external antennas on a dual band, there will be chip antennas onboard for the 5GHz stuff, and the externals will only be 2.4




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  Reply # 891189 7-Sep-2013 07:36 Send private message

I think that there's a pretty good example of a reason asto what is the likelihood of this option being omitted as they are wanting to provide something that is suitable for both levels of user. They simply have most likely decided that there's no real reason for external antennas if they're already building a solid performer so no need to add the extra expense.

Have to remember that for the lower end users you know the ones who just want to plug it in like their last modem & have it work out of the box (basically) they're simply not going to be interested in paying for bells and whistles they're not going to use or know how to use. This is already looking likely to fall inside the $200 to $400 price range so unless this is being fully subsidised on a contract term a lot of Telecoms customers are likely not going to pay more for it.

This makes build cost a very relevant thing & although it's fantastic that we've been given such a awesome opportunity to help shape a new modem/router we also have to keep the fact that they actually want & need to be making a profit from it and that's got to be at both manufacturer & supplier (Telecom) level.

With such a large customer base they're going to need to get the balance right between both user sets & price point.

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