& cplSiteName &

MoCA Takes Spectrum Down a Notch

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
4/20/2010
50%
50%

The Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) has added midrange frequencies to its 1.1 specification, which is good news for DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) as the satellite giant gets ready to launch its whole-home DVR next month.

The newly added range covers frequencies from 500 to 1,500MHz. The original spectrum range for MoCA 1.1 was 850 to 1,500MHz.

Monk says there's not much difference between the chips supporting the different spectrum profiles; chips of both types are shipping.

The original range was a better fit for cable's available service spectrum, but it overlaps the L-band (950 to 2,150MHz), which is used by DirecTV and Dish, another MoCA member, to carry video signals from the dish to the satellite receiver. The original MoCA range didn't leave enough separation for proper filtering, says MoCA chief technology officer Anton Monk, who is also the VP of technology at MoCA chipmaker Entropic Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTR).

He says MoCA went with the mid-RF approach over lower frequencies because tests showed that the latter environment is noisy and much more difficult to harness. Spectrum below 20MHz, for example, gets interference from powerlines.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has been able to make Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) work in lower frequencies for the U-verse TV service, but Monk believes the performance tradeoffs and the work necessary to perform a similar feat with MoCA are too great.

The mid-range approach offers "a very clean band, so it's away from any interference and powerline ingress interference issues," he says. "DirecTV wanted the same performance that cable is getting… without going to low frequencies."

The target performance, in the case of MoCA 1.1, is about 175 Mbit/s of net throughput. (The yet-to-be-ratified MoCA 2.0 platform is shooting for a basic mode that can pump out 400 Mbit/s, and an 800-Mbit/s enhanced mode: See MoCA 2.0 'Enhanced' Mode Target: 800 Mbit/s.)

DirecTV is eager to use MoCA not just for multiroom DVRs, but also to help fulfill its vision for RVU Alliance technology.

In that scenario, DirecTV will be looking to use MoCA and RVU to support thin-client video devices attached to a central video gateway/server. With that in place, DirecTV intends to ship its user interface over the home network to a wide range of remote clients, including IPTV set-tops, TVs, and PCs that can speak the RVU language.

DirecTV is championing RVU, but Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), still the heaviest MoCA user, is also a member of the RVU Alliance and is believed to be pursuing similar plans.

DirecTV has previously said it intends to deploy its whole-home DVR by the first quarter of 2010, but its Website indicates that the product is still in beta testing. A DirecTV spokesman says the company expects to launch it sometime in May. (See DirecTV Picks Entropic and DirecTV Preps Multiroom DVR.)

Can cable play in the new band?
Although the mid-RF approach is targeted to satellite companies, cable could use it as well. The problem, though, is that cable already uses that band to deliver video services on the outside plant, so there are some major interference issues that would need solving.

Monk says he's "heard of some interesting architectures floating around," including a "split gateway," that could tap into the lower MoCA band.

But that would require some extra work by the cable operator. "You'd have to isolate the inside of the house from the outside of the house," Monk explains.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Nokia Bell Labs & Verizon Stretch Fixed 5G to the Home
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/13/2017
Eurobites: Telefónica Reckons Plastic Is Fantastic for FTTH
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 11/15/2017
Juniper's New Contrail VP Hails From Google
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 11/15/2017
Animals with Phones
Why Cats Don't Run Tech Support Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives