Optical/IP Networks

Dish puts some weight behind G.hn

Following years of support for the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA), Dish Network is now spreading resources and attention to the HomeGrid Forum (HGF), an alliance that promotes the global adoption of a competing connectivity platform/standard called G.hn.

Dish is the HomeGrid Forum's newest board member and the first member from the satellite sector, the organization said. The move marks a change of allegiance of sorts, as Dish is a former, long-time member and contributor to MoCA, and relies on MoCA technology to underpin whole-home DVR services for its range of satellite TV set-tops and receivers.

In addition to supporting in-home coax lines, G.hn is designed to work with other types of home networks, including those based on powerlines, twisted pair and plastic optical fiber. Both MoCA, with MoCA Access, and G.hn, with GiGAWire, have also been adapted to support broadband access networks.

Complement to MoCA

Dish's plans for G.hn aren't crystal clear yet. But the company, which is now in the mobile game via the Boost acquisition and its plans to build out a nationwide 5G network, said it views G.hn as a complement to MoCA and other networking technologies.

"We always want to keep up with the latest technologies and trends, and G.hn is an interesting technology set. We want to stay abreast with its development and understand its full capabilities," Dish said in a statement to Light Reading. "It is complementary with MoCA and other networking technologies. We have a strong implementation utilizing MoCA today and plan to continue using it. The multiple mediums supported by G.hn, including powerline, twisted pair and coax, provide more tools for solving potential networking challenges."

Jeff Heynen, VP of broadband access and home networking at Dell'Oro Group, said G.hn's ability to work on multiple types of physical network layers should give Dish some added flexibility and make it easier for the company to deliver pay-TV services in the home over a wider range of technologies.

The HomeGrid Forum noted that Dish will help play a role in the evolution and future direction of G.hn.

Dish is joining the board as the HomeGrid Forum kicks off work to have G.hn support "satellite operators interested in the 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) coexistence with Satellite TV on existing coax wiring delivering multi-Gigabit speeds," Livia Rosu, HomeGrid Forum's president, said in a statement. "To enact true change, we require leading operators and manufacturers to actively contribute to shaping the evolution of G.hn, whether that be for satellite or fiber extension deployments."

Dish joins a group of other big names on HGF's membership list, including AT&T, China Telecom, China Unicom, Liberty Global, Verizon and Telux. MaxLinear is a key supplier of silicon for both MoCA and G.hn.

Although Dish left the MoCA organization as a member in recent years and is now more directly connected to the HomeGrid Forum, the company will continue to rely on MoCA technology.

MoCA technology standards continue to be used by satellite service providers, Dr. Jim Crammond, MoCA's president, pointed out in a statement to Light Reading.

"MoCA is actively developing new specifications based on input from such providers, enabling them to optimize the benefits of existing coax cabling within the home," he added.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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