Wireline Home Network Update

A lengthy conversation with reliable sources for wireline home networking leads to these conclusions, most of which we have previously reported:

1. MoCA has become firmly entrenched in the cablecos, including Verizon and DirecTV, and outside the States like Liberty Global. It has very little presence at retail. Entropic and Broadcom make MoCA chips that are sold to the likes of Motorola, Cisco and Pace to incorporate in their STBs. MoCA seems certain to continue its dominance because of the size of the installed base and that there is a clear path to an upwardly compatible MoCA 2.0 that’s due out in 2012.

2. HomePlug, which uses the home’s electrical wires, has become the dominant wireline standard in retail stores for consumers who want a wireline network instead of Wi-Fi to connect smart TVs, smart TV adapters and Blu-ray players to the Net. It’s also popular at some telcos for their IPTV pay-TV service, particularly in Europe. However, TV distribution within the home is not as prevalent in Europe or Asia as it is in the US and Canada.

3. HomePNA, which uses either coax or telephone wiring, is the wireline choice for many telcos in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia including AT&T, Bell Canada, CenturyLink (which recently acquired Qwest), Singtel and Telus.

4. The upcoming G.hn, also called HomeGrid, is touted as a better network standard because it can be used over coax, telephone and electrical lines. STBs with G.hn are expected by early 2012, although certification tests and plug fests by different vendors have not begun. G.hn proponent Sigma Designs has promised its CG5110 G.hn chipsets could be used in STBs to support G.hn, HomePlug and HomePNA, which would make it easier and less expensive for telcos to migrate to G.hn. Until G.hn products have been certified, it’s difficult to predict its future success.

There is an even bigger opportunity for wireline network vendors beyond the one that exists today. It’s at the pay-TV companies. It is to embed the wireline home network chips into the smart TVs, Blu-ray players and smart TV adapters. Those are devices that first-world homes will soon have three or four of, maybe even more.

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