Comms chips

Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA

An Israel-based startup called Celeno Communications is pursuing the in-home hi-def video distribution sector with a multimedia WiFi chipset that looks to complement, and eventually compete against, wired platforms such as Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) , HomePlug Powerline Alliance , and Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) .

Celeno has a cable-specific twist, thanks to a non-exclusive integration deal that matches up its CL1300 chip with Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN)'s Puma 5 family of Docsis 3.0 modem silicon. Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) also makes Docsis 3.0 chips, but its internal WiFi efforts make it an unlikely Celeno partner. (See Celeno, TI Team on Wireless HD, TI Flexes Docsis 3.0 Muscle , and Broadcom Breaks Docsis 3.0 Barrier .)

The aim is for Celeno and TI to combine their technologies inside a new breed of wideband-capable set-tops and advanced gateway devices that can convert legacy MPEG-2 streams to IP, and hand off that video traffic wirelessly at speeds in the range of 6 Mbit/s to 10 Mbit/s to IPTV set-tops and other IP-based video displays that are hanging off the home network.

Celeno's approach competes with MoCA, a technology that's already being adopted by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Cox Communications Inc. , and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), with many other U.S. service providers expected to fall in line soon. (See Cox, Entropic MoCA Deal Not Exclusive and The Cable Show '09: 5 Takeaways .)

Celeno's MIMO (multiple-input and multiple output) chip tries to get around potential interference issues caused by walls and other impediments by utilizing multiple antennas and triangulating and re-triangulating the signal almost persistently using a technique called "beamforming." It's also using WiFi in the unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum, which has about 10 times the channels available at 2.4 GHz, a move that should avoid saturated environments that can crop up when multiple wireless access points are present in a small area, according to Celeno VP of marketing Lior Weiss.

Weiss views Celeno as a short-term complement and a longer-term competitor to MoCA in the U.S. Nearer-term, he suggests that WiFi could be used to deliver video to the set-top in rooms that don't have coax connections, or to other IP-capable devices, such as gaming consoles, PCs, laptops, and "over-the-top" boxes like the Apple TV.

Although MoCA is likely to dominate the U.S. cable landscape for whole-home DVRs and other forms of video distribution, Weiss thinks Celeno's wireless approach could play a bigger role in Europe and other regions of the world where home-based coax outlets aren't nearly as prevalent. In those cases, Weiss thinks WiFi stands a chance at becoming the short-term, primary, in-home video networking technology. Celeno likewise won't be going after just the cable market. It also intends to pursue telcos and other IPTV service providers.

2009 "is primarily a field trial year" for Celeno's technology, with revenues expected to follow in 2010, Weiss says, noting that the chipmaker has trial activity underway with about four MSOs in Europe and is participating in lab tests and RFPs (requests for proposal) with two or three U.S. MSOs.

Celeno, which has raised more than $30 million and counts Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) as a strategic investor, isn't releasing specific chip unit pricing, but estimates that the cost to the MSO is less than $100 per "link," which includes the transmitter near the gateway and the receiver near the set-top box. Every additional STB that's added to the network would cost about $30, according to Weiss, who likewise forecasts that all of those costs should be chopped in half by sometime next year. If the WiFi technology is embedded in the box (rather than inside an external adapter), then the costs should drop to sub-$15 levels, he says.

Welcome to the club
Delivering video wirelessly around the home isn't exactly a new concept. Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG), for example, offers IPTV subs an option to send video wirelessly to secondary sets using tech from Ruckus Wireless Inc. . Last February, several North American cable engineers at a CableLabs conference gave high marks to a Ruckus 801.11n-based demo that was capable of handling three HD MPEG-2 video streams, with each running at 20 Mbit/s. Despite dubbing the Ruckus demo the "idea most likely to succeed," those kudos have yet to be translated into domestic MSO deployments. (See Ruckus Rules.)

Although shuttling HD video wirelessly around the home with good, guaranteed quality appears to be of interest to cable operators, Celeno is prudent to target multiple markets, says Jeff Heynen, directing analyst, broadband and video, at Infonetics Research Inc. .

"It's important for them to address both the telco video market and also the cable market," he says. "Without that, the [revenue] potential is probably not going to be there if they go after just one or the other."

Despite claims that video can be sent wirelessly in the home without interference, that potential issue can't be completely ruled out. "That's why operators have been gun-shy about wireless," Heynen says. "You always rely on a fixed connection over a wireless connection."

That said, he doesn't expect to see Celeno's technology playing a primary role, but instead as a component of a broader whole-home video distribution system.

So, will MoCA ever formally adopt a wireless extension? Not at this point. As an organization, MoCA believes that its technology and WiFi can certainly coexist, but it likewise has no plans today to officially incorporate wireless into the coax-based standard, a MoCA spokesman says.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 4:05:56 PM
re: Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA

HPNA rules - lol

ChanoGomez 12/5/2012 | 4:05:53 PM
re: Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA

Although the article mentions several options for wired home networking, it misses what is probably the most important standard developed for this space during the last months: the G.hn standard from ITU.

G.hn is a next-generation standard, capable of operating over any home wiring (power lines, phone lines and coaxial cable) and with the possibility of achieving line data rates as high as 1 Gbit/s.

G.hn is promoted by the HomeGrid Forum and is supported by a large number of silicon vendors, Telecom Service Providers and CE vendors.

ChanoGomez 12/5/2012 | 4:05:52 PM
re: Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA

Actually, HomeGrid forum recently published a white-paper (registration required) that explains how G.hn will coexist with existing "legacy" networking technologies to allow consumer and service providers to migrate easily to the new standard.

All the silicon vendors involved in all the legacy technologies you mentioned are actively involved in the development of G.hn, so what is more likely to happen is that silicon vendors that today are making single-wire networking chips will develop multi-wire G.hn chips with dual-mode capabilities that will work with their installed base. For a few years we'll see dual-mode G.hn/UPA chips, G.hn/HomePNA chips, etc and after a while most vendors will move to G.hn-only chips.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:05:52 PM
re: Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA

Thanks; duly noted. As that standard gets ramped up, I'll be curious to know what it means for the "legacy" platforms -- MoCA, HPNA, et al.  Will G.hn be made to integrate with those technologies, or will it have to be used strictly in parallel?  On the last Entropic earnings call, G.hn was brought up, but it sounded like they're much more focused on MoCA 2.0 at this point.


RobGelphman 12/5/2012 | 4:05:51 PM
re: Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA Is this the best you can do? Is the official response of the HPNA marketing department? Are you in the 6th grade?

The additional posts also make it obvious that HomeGrid has MoCA envy. Thanks for further establishing MoCA as the standard to beat.
bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 4:05:47 PM
re: Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA


Check on the world deployments of HPNA versus MOCA HPNA has been globally adopted and deployed will lags behind. This is due to its MOCAs very poor performance issues.



RobGelphman 12/5/2012 | 4:05:43 PM
re: Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA There are approximately 64 million cable households (according to NCTA) and approximately 27 million satellite households (when adding Dish and DirecTV subs) in the US. This represents more than 90 million pay TV households available to MoCA and not available to HPNA, as no cable MSO or satellite services company has endorsed HPNA. Add Verizon FiOS TV with 2.2 million subs, and MoCA has all three broadband segments available. A claim HPNA cannot make. So much for global adoptionGǪ
If one makes a claim but cannot demonstrate proof of that claim, than that is the same as having no claim at all. Scientific method requires proof and validation that a phenomenon or condition exists. Or it is just theory. HPNA claims performance numbers, but there is no proof. MoCA publishes its field tests on its web site.
MoCA has shipped 20 million nodes, and is effectively doubling every year.
Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks publicly endorsed MoCA at the recently concluded Cable Show.

MoCA has been adopted by DLNA for inclusion in their Interoperability Guidelines.

Need moreGǪ.
bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 4:05:41 PM
re: Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA


- All the other smaller iLECs are HPNA

- All the European PTT are HPNA

- All the Asian market is HPNA.

Verizon are a  bunch of morons  - no Moca vendor is making any money so uit might be approved but not profits so don't care.



opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 4:05:40 PM
re: Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA

I love the debate.

How do we hook up all these AV boxes? Over coax cable (MoCA), phone lines (HPNA), Wireless, over the power lines (HomePlug alliance or G.hn--which can do the others too), or over CAT5 cable and routers?

We know what the phone companies and cable companies are doing, but what are the home users doing on their own? Or are these companies even letting customers have access to the content through some kind of DLNA standard?

Because of my own experience in a very radio-noisy environment, I have doubts about watching videos broadcast over local wireless, or even over power lines.

ChanoGomez 12/5/2012 | 4:05:38 PM
re: Celeno: A Little Frosty on MoCA

@ tera:

Different markets (Europe vs Asia vs North America) have preferences for different media (coaxial, phone lines, power lines) depending on what you can typically find in consumer homes.

In Europe, there is little coaxial cable in consumers homes, and propagation of 802.11 signals through concrete/brick/metal walls is bad, so IPTV Service Providers use mainly powerline technology.

In North America, there is reasonably good availability of coaxial and phone line connections in most homes, so solutions based on these media work well.

That's one of the reasons why G.hn is targeting all three wires (coax, phone and power lines): this allows silicon vendors and equipment manufacturers to design a single "universal" product and deploy it in multiple markets. This reduces NRE and inventory problems, which eventually reduces costs to end customers.

I have developed these ideas in more detail in this blog post: "Why do we need a unified standard at all?"


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