Will wired home networking standards ever converge? Although G.hn seems to be moving forward, the HomePlug and MoCA supporters are drawing closer to one another to aid in their mutual survival. After interviewing the key players on all sides we are impressed with how widely divergent their views of the same developments seem to be. The wildcard is the continuing purchase of the smaller players by larger ones with broader interests.
G.hn Skeptics: "Nobody Needs Another Incompatible Standard" (BBHR 5/17/2009)
Although G.hn enthusiasts believe it will become the dominant home networking standard over existing wiring, skeptics say G.hn is just another standard that's incompatible with all the others. The HomePlug folks told us they're trying to change G.hn before it's too late. The MoCA folks think it's irrelevant.
Home networking is moving quickly into the consumer electronics space. At CES we saw lots of CE devices incorporating some form of networking: MoCA, G.hn, HomePNA, UPA, HomePlug, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth were all well represented. Broadcom showed new chips with integrated MoCA, G.hn continues to gain traction, and Wi-Fi keeps expanding.
The rationale for G.hn is simple: it's not possible to grow a worldwide market with five mutually-incompatible "existing wiring" technologies that often interfere with each other. For over two years there has been a standards effort in the ITU to create a common standard for home networking over existing wiring. Big players like Intel and TI are enthusiastic about G.hn but saw a need to form a companion organization, HomeGrid Forum, to accelerate the standard and make an early start on interoperability testing and certification.
Just when we thought we couldn't bear to participate in one more conference, we yielded to the lure of MoCA. The conference provided a deep dive into the technology of the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA), and a close look at Verizon's application of it. Broadcom and Conexant have committed resources to support it. With the technology now firmly in place for service providers, is a retail move waiting in the wings?
A mass consumer market for media networking is dependent on new high-speed networking technologies that don't require new wiring. Many of these technologies are now reaching the market and fighting for market share.
Home networking is approaching a new milestone. Many emerging consumer applications require networking technologies capable of moving video around the home. Depending on whom you talk with, you'll hear very different views of the roles of wireless, powerline, coax and telephone wiring. We believe that just as the last generation sorted itself out, with Wi-Fi that generation's winner, one of these new technologies will grab a larger chunk of the market than the others -- and some may be relegated to a footnote in home networking history. We overview some scenarios and the technologies vying for the winner's circle.
We interviewed Coaxsys to learn about their approach to home networking over existing coaxial cable. Many telcos think this is a good approach to connect the home gateway to IPTV set-top boxes on each TV.
CES 2005--Tomorrow's Cool Toys Need Today's Cool Chips (BBHR 1/25/2005)
Most people visit CES to look at the cool new toys. We spent much of our time talking with more than a dozen semiconductor companies--looking at chips for powerline networking, ultra wideband (UWB), the next generation of Wi-Fi based on MIMO, coax networking and a "one-button" approach to wireless network security. The chips may not make you deliriously happy, but the products they power have the potential to excite consumers.
HomePNA 3.0 advocates believe that this technology has some strong selling points, including speed, QoS and the ability to run on coax as well as phone lines. We had a brief update from one company making chips for it; they said products will be ready in 1H04.
The new Multimedia Over Coax Alliance (MoCA) is comprised of service providers, tech firms and retailers that have joined forces to tap the unused bandwidth of in-home coax... (see Industry Alliances and Forums)
"Whole Home" Networking over Coax -- An Interview with Entropic (BBHR 11/16/2003)
As another facet of the "whole home networking" story, we interviewed two officers of Entropic Communications, a start-up developing a home-networking system operating over existing coaxial cable. It will complement wireless networking to form a complete solution.
Many cable operators are planning to enter the home networking business, so it was no surprise that home networking was "hot" at this year's show. We talked with vendors of chips, software and products for networking and gateways, with many integrated products shown or promised.
Broadcom showed us their progress with HomePNA running over coaxial cable in the home. While HomePNA was designed for phone lines, Broadcom says it works very well over coax, and Broadcom is providing this technology for a trial with Comcast and Ucentric systems.