China Primed for Ethernet-Over-Coax Explosion
A small fraction of China's 200 million TV households get broadband services from cable operators today, but that's expected to change as the nation's multitude of cable operators consolidate and gear up to take on China's much more powerful telcos. Just 3.7 million homes in China currently get broadband services from cable operators via Ethernet-over-coax (EoC) technologies, but that will rise to almost 24 million by 2016, Infonetics Research Inc. predicts in a report issued this week that sizes up this emerging marketplace. The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), China's version of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has blessed three technical approaches for a next-generation broadband (NGB) project that aims to expand the technical options and help the nation's cable operators put up a better fight against the likes of China Telecom Corp. Ltd. and China Unicom Ltd. Here's a quick rundown of what SARFT has approved so far:
- C-Docsis: This platform enables any Docsis 2.0- or Docsis 3.0-certified cable modem to interoperate with a stripped down cable modem termination system (CMTS) that's called the Coax Media Converter (CMC). The CMC functions like a CMTS, but, to keep costs down and to fit into China's widespread fiber-to-the-building architectures, it doesn't support the core routing functions that are found in fully-fledged CMTSs.
- C-HomePlug: A modified version of HomePlug A/V that still uses the lower part of the spectrum range.
- HiNOC (High Performance Network Over Coax): Rather than occupying the lower bands used by C-HomePlug and the upstream path of C-Docsis, all HiNOC-based services will live in the high portions of the spectrum -- somewhere in the range of 750MHz to 1.6GHz.
Although HomePlug has dominated China's EoC market so far, C-Docsis and HiNOC will likely lead the way during the market's coming growth phase, Heynen says, noting HiNOC will likely need a global silicon provider to help legitimize the technology and sustain that part of the industry. "C-Docsis will certainly be a big player," he adds. But there are still some questions as to how fast, or even if, China's EoC market will develop. While it has the potential to become a huge market, the entire process is at the mercy of the Chinese government. It could all be stopped in its tracks, Heynen warns, if the NGB project becomes a casualty of any future government budget cuts. Still, opportunities could extend well beyond China. Other countries and regions that have significant MDU concentrations that could benefit from new EoC technologies include Latin America, Brazil, Russia and parts of Eastern Europe, Heynen says. — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable