Trendnet Joins HomePNA

Trendnet Joins HomePNA
– Does that Mean the Market for HPNA Is Growing?
Companies only pay to join industry alliances like HomePNA
because they a) have a large customer that wants to buy
products with that technology or b) believe they can sell lots
of those products at retail.

There does not appear to be a large retail market for HomePNA
network gear so we think equipment maker Trendnet is joining
the HomePNA Alliance because it has one or more large telcos
that want to buy HomePNA gear.

Trendnet has become the HomePNA Alliance’s 46th member, which
includes chipmakers, equipment manufacturers and telcos. It is
known for supplying networking gear to consumers plus small
and mid-sized business. HomePNA president and Sigma Designs
employee Eran Gureshnik said Trendnet’s joining “demonstrates
the value of the HomePNA Alliance to both equipment suppliers
and service providers.” Sigma Designs is the sole maker of
HomePNA chips.

Trendnet technology director Sonny Su said its customers “are
demanding a cost effective solution for distributing
entertainment and triple play data over existing coax cables
and therefore are specifying HomePNA certified products.”

MoCA is the only other coax-based home networking that’s
currently available. AT&T is thought to be the biggest
purchaser of HomePNA gear but a lot of sales work has been
done recently on telcos outside the States, especially in
South America. Sigma Designs and Marvell have been developing
a home network technology called G.hn (HomeGrid) that works
over coax plus copper telephone wires and powerlines. Sigma
Designs has said on multiple occasions that it will produce a
chipset that supports both HomePNA and G.hn.

The HomePNA Alliance said over 30 million HomePNA-certified
products have been shipped to telco, satellite and cable TV
service providers worldwide.

We have some unanswered questions about Trendnet’s new
membership in the HomePNA Alliance such as:
– Where is the market for HPNA devices? Retail or wholesale to
service providers? In the US or outside the US? Latin America
or Asia?
– We keep hearing that several Latin American telcos have or
are about to order HomePNA gear. Is the Trendnet HomePNA gear
intended for them?
– Trendnet’s Su said HPNA chips could be used to make “cost
effective” gear for networking over coax cables. Does that
mean that using MoCA chips is less cost effective?
– Will Trendnet also make HPNA gear that also supports Wi-Fi?
That way, HPNA could be the home’s backbone and make excellent
Wi-Fi reception possible in every room.

In any event, Trendnet’s joining HomePNA also dampens any talk
that HomePNA is a fading standard.

Does HomePNA Interfere with TV Signals Being Sent over Coax?
We had always been told that HomePNA networking interfered
with the TV signals that cable TV companies send over coax.
Consequently cable TV companies did not use HomePNA gear. We
noticed however that the statement the HomePNA Alliance made
about Trendnet becoming a member said that some cable TV
companies were using it so we asked Rich Nesin, the former
president and current consultant to the Alliance, about it.

He said, “It is not the TV signals that can be interfered
with. It depends. In the US some of those frequencies are used
for the set-top box return signal. In other parts of the world
it’s not an issue. Actually HomePNA does not coexist on the
same coax as DOCSIS. In countries that don’t use DOCSIS [the
broadband technology that the cablecos use], such as large
parts of Asia. HomePNA is being trialed or deployed by cable
TV providers for access.”

In any event, HomePNA’s target market in the Americas and
Europe has been the telcos, none of whom use the cablecos’
DOCSIS broadband or QAM TV technology. It’s an entirely
different story in Asia, especially China where, as a result
of government prodding and funding, cablecos are spending
billions to upgrade their networks to fiber broadband to MDUs
and coax within MDUs to connect to individual residences,
which is being called broadband extenders. As best as we can
tell, Chinese cablecos have selected IPTV technology to carry
their TV signals, which does not conflict with HomePNA. China
is or is about to be the world’s largest market for home
networking and broadband so every company that makes chips or
gear for those wants a slice.

About the Author

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