Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Starting on an upbeat note

By 2012, more than 71 million homes worldwide will be outfitted with home networks thanks to a residential gateway box from a major carrier. That’s the prediction from a new study called “Networks in the Home” released by Parks Associates this morning.

Interestingly it looks like most of those boxes will be in Europe, according to Parks. Hmmmm, maybe Europe's carriers will pull a GSM when it comes to home nets and drive standards toward their favorite powerline technology.

Carriers are most interested in providing features such as multi-room digital video recording, streaming media and home monitoring, the report adds. A secondary goal is getting remote management technology into the home so they can more easily fix problems and up-sell services, according to the report.

That all rings true but, as usual for the market research world, probably a little optimistic on the 70 million figure. Anyway, after a decade of talk about home networking, it does look like it is sloooowly beginning to happen with carriers such as Verizon delivering more than one million gateways equipped with Multimedia over Coax and AT&T installing a fair amount of HPNA as well.

One of the next knee-jerk questions is when will they start cranking up the volume on bandwidth. A Verizon spokesman at a November event told me they are planning to move to multi-Gbit optical links soon so they are requesting MoCA quickly shift to 400 Mbits/second. A handful of chip makers are optimistically hoping this shift to Gigabit PON networks and unified boxes that marry the optical link to the home net kicks in big time in 2008.

Separately, over in the data center, Emulex is validating the N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) industry standard as the basis for virtualization in its products. At a Cisco event, Emulex is showing the technology across a range of high end data-center networking boards including a 10Gbit/s board for Fibre Channel over Ethernet. Unless I missed something, this FCoE board is still a prototype product. But it’s a good indication of progress on the technology if such products are now broadly getting demonstrated at industry events.

Everywhere I turn this morning there’s just a little bit of hope about new technologies for the new year. While stock markets dive into fears of recession, this is good news.

1 comment:

Kurt Scherf said...

Thanks for the comments on the recent study release. We actually do think that Europe will be the deciding market for the powerline battle currently underway, so seeing Europe's carriers pull a GSM - as you put it - would not surprise us.

And, forecasts are always educated guesses, so we could be a bit optimistic. It's interesting, however, to hear feedback coming from the European folks, who indicate that we might wind up being low there. Also, KT in Korea has started aggressively ramping a VoIP business, and as a result, will move aggressively to deploy RGs to all of its new broadband subscribers by year-end. That's likely to trigger the competitors to do likewise.