MoCA is making headway in its drive to use ‘old fashioned’ coaxial cable to deliver home networking, writes Julian Clover.
Multiscreen is one of the industry topics of the moment. As operators start to introduce the ability to view content around and, rights permitting, outside of the home the next question is the best means of delivery. This might mean wireless, but could equally mean wired, such as through the co-axial cable already present in the home.
The UPC Horizon box, due later this year, is one that already has MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) technology on its list of specifications.
Rob Gelphman chair of the marketing work group for MoCA says the concern surrounding its deployment has shifted from the number of outlets to the architectural topology around the house. Gelphman says the issue needs to be demystified because as it is largely irrelevant.
2011, says Gelphman, will be MoCA’s year with trials up and coming ahead of the UPC deployments in the Netherlands and Switzerland. Other companies, as yet unannounced, are also running trials.
“This pervasive device connectivity is universal. Of course you’re going to use wireless for everything portable. You’re not going to put an F-connector on a tablet, and you may even get in a couple of HD streams, but there is a need to use MoCA for the backbone of the network.” Gelphman says that while operators have been waiting for the consumer, it is really the consumer that needs to be driven, not for him the “consumers have been asking for this” argument.
In many ways MoCA has a back to the future argument, using existing coaxial cable within the home that may already be in place to deliver TV to the back bedroom, in order to deliver the new services reliably.
The MoCA 2.0 standard was ratified around a year ago, though it is the earlier 1.1 version that will be deployed by UPC. Gelphman anticipates that it will be the operators who decide when it is brought into their devices. “You’ll have to have the box that has the 2.0 chip in it and when these are readily available people will adopt 2.0. We figure that anyone who is doing 1.1 will ultimately do 2.”
Gelphman himself has plans for a new 26 inch screen for the kids’ room in his new house. The evangelist will no doubt be checking to make sure the property is wired for MoCA. My own house has got coaxial running under those floorboards that could be shifted, but there is the nagging fear that not everyone will get connected, particularly given some figures for hooking up TVs.
But if you follow the trends in cable operators it is no longer cool to say you will be posting the customer their new box. High end customers that will be the first to get MoCA enabled devices will see a specialist installer who will make sure they are connected.