Faster Networks Unlock Revenue in the Home

Carl Weinschenk
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The frenetic evolution of the past decade or so – the speeding up of networks, the transformation of wired and wireless consumer technology from an after-thought to cutting edge – has significant impact on a number of fronts. One of the subtle ramifications is that these trends make the home a much more attractive target for cable operators, wireless providers and phone companies. In short, there is more money than ever in the home, and more efficient ways for carriers and the ecosystem to try to pry it loose.

At Light Reading, Alan Breznick – in a post sponsored by Huawei – suggested that what he labels the “GigaHome” may not be too far off. He writes that six powerful companies, including Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, are at some point in the introduction of power wireless routers. The vendor and chipmaker ecosystem, of course, is following suit. The third player, the standards setting community, is also involved:

There's a lot of activity on the tech standards front as well. For instance, the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) is now winding up field trials showing that its current MoCA 2.0 spec can support net throughput of more than 400 Mbit/s in 90% of cabled homes. Plus, MoCA engineers are reportedly working on new standards that could enable in-home net throughput as high as 2.5 Gbit/s.

One of the groups trying to own the home network is the Multimedia Over Coax Alliance (MoCA). Multichannel News’ Jeff Baumgartner reports that the group appears to be developing a version of its protocol that reaches 2.5 Gigabits per second (Gbps). The announcement is expected midyear. A still faster spec, MoCA 3.0, is on the roadmap.

The story goes into detail about the putative specs. MoCA 2.5 is a big deal that would “blow the current version, MoCA 2.0, out of the water.” MoCA 2.5 “plugfests” – conferences in which the ability of equipment to work in home networks and interoperate is tested  – are expected within 18 months. MoCA 3.0 could be three to five years in the future.

The speeding up of home networking likely will go hand in hand with the development of 5G. Though LTE is the state of the art today, momentum toward the far faster wireless networking protocol is growing.

The Dallas News details AT&T’s plans; it has named Ericsson AB and Intel to help develop 5G technology. Austin is expected to be the site of field trials by the end of the year. While 5G is still in its early days, announcements during the past few months suggest that the carriers and their ecosystems clearly want to beat the 2020 time frame that developers have set.

Wired and wireless carriers, vendors and the rest of the ecosystem get it: Speed is king. Just as clearly, a wealth of revenue – both from entertainment and services such as home monitoring and remote health – is available in the home. As those services grow, home networking speeds must grow with them. Apparently, they are.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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