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MoCA 2.0 'Enhanced' Mode Target: 800 Mbit/s

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
11/12/2009
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- TelcoTV -- Nothing's set in stone yet, but the 2.0 version of Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) under development is targeting two "performance" modes, a basic mode that can pump out 400 Mbit/s, and an enhanced version that supports throughputs up to 800 Mbit/s.

Those are the usable throughput targets for the next-gen coax-based networking spec, which some telcos, cable MSOs, and even satellite TV providers will use to shuttle increasing amounts of digital content, including gobs of hi-def video, over home networks.

In terms of theoretical PHY rates, MoCA 2.0 is presently shooting for modes targeting 700 Mbit/s and 1.4 Gbit/s.

The 800-Mbit/s enhanced mode target is roughly double the usable throughputs MoCA organizers were discussing two years ago, when it made its first public pronouncement that a 2.0 spec was in the works. (See MoCA 2.0 and Verizon: MoCA Needs Some Speed.)

Those throughputs will also help MoCA make good on its promise to outdo G.hn, a budding home-networking standard underway that's looking to operate on coax, phone, and power lines. G.hn is billing itself as a 1-Gbit/s home networking technology, with expectations that actual throughputs over coax will reach the range of 600 Mbit/s to 700 Mbit/s. (See Chip Firms Prepare for Home Networking Faceoff .)

The current best version of MoCA, 1.1, supports theoretical PHY rates of 275 Mbit/s, with usable throughputs of up to 175 Mbit/s. That seems to be more than enough to handle today's home-networking and multi-room DVR demands, but MoCA and its backers are teeing up even bigger numbers for 2.0 in anticipation of applications that will require even more oomph.

MoCA shared those 2.0 performance targets this afternoon here at the show via a 15-minute pitch given to operators and vendors that were grazing the show floor.

But that's not all. MoCA 2.0 will also be greener thanks to the addition of two low power modes: sleep and standby. The organization officials also stressed that MoCA 2.0 equipment (set-tops, home-networking bridges, and adapters, etc.) will be backwards compatible with the earlier 1.0 and 1.1 versions. The idea there is to ensure that all those boxes can coexist on the same home network without suffering any performance penalties.

Rob Gelphman, chair of MoCA's marketing workgroup, said he expects MoCA 2.0 to be ratified by the first quarter of 2010, and warned that the performance numbers and other details revealed today are still subject to change. However, he said the organization felt things were close enough to provide some updated information at the request of operators, which have been asking for MoCA to give a sneak peek on some of the features that will grace the 2.0 version.

Although MoCA 2.0 could be ratified by the first quarter of next year, it's still hard to say how soon Entropic Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTR) and Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) and their box partners might come out with commercial products. Given recent history, it could take about a year after ratification before field-ready gear hits the market.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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