Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Two nods for MoCA

I talked to two senior technology executives with set-top box companies yesterday at iTV Con. Both gave a nod to the rising fortunes of Multimedia over Coax in home networking. But both also made it clear this remains a pretty wide open field.

Cable TV companies in North America are expressing support for MoCA, said Ken Morse, vice president of client architecture for Cisco's Scientific Atlanta (SA) group. However, some still want a vanilla Ethernet jack into which they can plug any networking dongle they want. And SA is also delivering set tops to AT&T using the competing approach of the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance.

Outside the US the situation is much more fragmented. Many consumers pay a fraction of what US users spend on TV, leaving carriers little budget for niceties like home networking.

As for wireless, some are exploring ultrawideband because its high bandwidth may overcome the inherent fragility of wireless, but carriers are not asking for set tops with 802.11n, Morse said. Paul Fellows, CTO with Amino Technologies, an up and coming set-top maker in England basically agreed with Morse except on the Wi-Fi point. He is integrating 802.11 with technology from startup Ruckus to bolster range and reliability.

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