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MoCA Is Go for 2.0

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

The Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) has, as expected, announced the ratification of MoCA 2.0, a version of the speedy home-networking platform that promises a 400-Mbit/s Basic mode and an 800-Mbit/s Enhanced mode.

The organization revealed those speeds and its theoretical PHY rates (700 Mbit/s and 1.4 Gbit/s for the basic and enhanced modes, respectively) at last November's TelcoTV show in Orlando, Fla. The 1.1 version of MoCA can handle net throughputs of 175 Mbit/s, and a PHY rate of 270 Mbit/s. (See MoCA 2.0 'Enhanced' Mode Target: 800 Mbit/s.)

MoCA is juicing up speeds by employing higher levels of modulation and expanding operating channel bandwidth to 100MHz from the current 50MHz. The Enhanced mode is achieved by bonding together two 100MHz channels. (See MoCA Ratifies 2.0 Specs .)

One previously undisclosed wrinkle is a Turbo mode for point-to-point connections between two MoCA 2.0 devices on the home network. When Turbo kicks in, the Basic MoCA 2.0 mode can do 500 Mbit/s of net throughput, while Enhanced mode pushes the needle to 1 Gbit/s, according to the Association.

MoCA isn't saying much about which applications will require such speeds, but Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), still the biggest user of the technology, suggested almost three years ago that the telco would need MoCA to support about 400 Mbit/s to suit its future needs. MoCA president (and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) exec) Charlie Cerino insists the throughputs supported by the 1.1 version can handle the multimedia home networking requirements of today, while MoCA 2.0 offers vendors a platform for future products that will likely require heavier bandwidth loads. (See Verizon: MoCA Needs Some Speed.)

"We're positioning 2.0 as a roadmap [technology]," Cerino says.

MoCA 2.0, as also revealed last November, will take on a greener posture by sporting two low-power modes -- sleep and standby -- and is designed to be compatible with gear based on MoCA 1.0 and 1.1 specs. The 2.0 version will also support midrange frequencies from the start. MoCA recently added that capability to its 1.1 spec to accommodate DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) as the satellite-TV giant prepared to get its multiroom DVR off the ground. (See MoCA Takes Spectrum Down a Notch.)

About 35 million MoCA chips/nodes have been shipped. DirecTV, Cox Communications Inc. , Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and of course Verizon are major service providers that have also adopted MoCA. Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), a company that operates cable systems in Europe and other areas outside the US, intends to use MoCA in a new line of advanced set-top gateways. (See Cox Guides Tru2way Forward, Liberty Global Reveals IP Gateway Partners, and MoCA Eyes Europe.)

Ratification of MoCA 2.0 comes hard on the heels of the same for G.hn, an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard that's expected to hit net throughputs in the neighborhood of 700 Mbit/s and work on home-side coax, phone lines, and power lines. (See G.hn Gets Approved.)

Vendors chip away
But chips based on G.hn and MoCA 2.0 chips won't start showing up until months after these recent standard ratifications.

Entropic Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTR), which has shipped more than 30 million MoCA 1.0/1.1 chips, confirmed that it expects to have MoCA 2.0 units in production by the second half of 2011, with 2012 viewed as the devices' first volume year.

Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) recently introduced its MoCA 1.1 chipset, giving Entropic a not-so-trivial competitor. Broadcom, however, has not revealed when it might introduce any chips for MoCA 2.0. (See Broadcom Stirs Up Trouble for Entropic .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Pete Baldwin
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:32:17 PM
re: MoCA Is Go for 2.0

Neither this story nor mine mentioned the HomePlug crew, which would like you to know that the IEEE P1901 spec is making "significant progress." 

(Press release from yesterday)

Which makes it fair game to ask: Does HomePlug have any chance against G.hm or MoCA? I'd like to hear opinions in either direction.

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:32:16 PM
re: MoCA Is Go for 2.0

I'd be interested to see what other folks have to say about this, but I think HomePlug will be best off aligning itself further with MoCA beyond the "formal liaison agreement" the MoCA and HomePlug organizations announced in January.

At the time, they noted that their next-gen specs would be backward compatible and interoperable with MoCA 1.0/1.1 and HomePlug AV.  I think we'll see those two folks get even closer together to create a unified front against the threat posed by  G.hn. JB

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