IPTV, DVRs will spur growth of 'no-new-wires'-based home networks

WiFi may dominate the home networking airwaves, but IMS Research's new report, Home Networks and Residential Gateways, illustrates that telcos and cable operators alike just as keen on leveraging a home's existing wiring (coax, phone lines or power lines) infrastructure to distribute video and data services.

IMS Research's report revealed that as of the end of 2009 over 70 percent of home networks were wireless and 69 percent of residential gateways sold by major manufacturers had 802.11 capabilities, a figure that will grow by more than 95 percent in 2014. The growth of WiFi in the home isn't that surprising given the ongoing adoption of WiFi-capable devices such as netbook computers, smart phones and portable media players.

Despite the flexibility of WiFi, the 'no-new-wire' approaches are becoming increasingly attractive to service providers because they offer guaranteed service quality for not only standard IPTV, but especially for premium services such as multi-room HDTV. This is important especially to telcos who are trying to compete with cable operators and satellite providers that are rolling out multi-room HD DVR solutions with Multimedia over Coax (MoCA) built into the set-top box. In a typical TV deployment, the 'no-new-wires' technology provides the link between the broadband gateway and the user's set-top box.

While IMS Research argues that the three dominant 'no-new-wire' approaches (HomePlug, HomePNA and MoCA) have remained niche, what's driving increased deployments of these technologies are the TV service drives by both AT&T's (NYSE: T) U-verse and Verizon (FiOS TV).

IMS Research no new wiresVerizon (NYSE: VZ), for example, has chosen to leverage a home's existing coax cabling. In a typical rollout, Verizon will deploy a MoCA IC at the optical network terminal (ONT), one in the residential gateway and then one in each set-top box. And with Verizon FiOS subscribers having an estimated three STBs, each home would use on average 5-6 MoCA ICs.

The ongoing deployment of multiple MoCA ICs is creating a sizeable market for 'no-new-wires' technology. By 2015, IMS Research forecasts that 200 million 'no-new-wire' ICs will be shipped and at the end of 2014 there "will be an installed base of over 110 million 'no-new-wire' homes.

Still, the 'no-new-wire' market is not without its obstacles. Even though the bevy of available standards creates choice for service providers, it also causes confusion. The ITU's G.hn and the IEEE's P1901 have emerged as possible means to unify the 'no-new-wires' technologies. Although these initiatives could cut down the standards choice from five to three with HomePlug and HD-PLC coming under P1901 and UPA and HomePNA coming under G.hn, IMS Research believes that confusion will persist because UPA, HomePNA, HomePlug and HD-PLC will "still be marketed as distinct technologies under the umbrella of these two new standards."

For more:
- see the release here
- RapidTVNews has this story

Related articles:
Untangling the home network wiring debate
G.hn standard gets ITU-T's blessing
CES 2010: IEEE releases powerline communications draft standard
MoCA certifies 2.0 home networking specification
HomePlug Alliance jacks up powerline home networking
MoCA, HomePlug Alliance to compare notes

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