The first product in the world based on the MoCA Access standard is now available and will be live with at least two customers – one a cable operator and the other a fibre-based telco – by the end of the year. ‘In:xtnd’ from InCoax Networks enables 2.5Gbps broadband download speeds (and 2Gbps upload) across in-building coax networks and so solves a major headache for broadband providers serving multi-dwelling units (MDUs) – namely, how to get super-fast broadband from the access network termination point (housed in a basement or secure utilities room) to an apartment that could be four floors and 70 metres away.
Service providers can now harness wiring that already exists around the building, removing the need to install fibre. Telcos running fibre-to-the-building can effectively extend their fibre network into each apartment. Cable operators can treat MoCA Access as an extension of their DOCSIS network.
One of the key markets for this solution, according to Peter Carlsson, CEO at InCoax Networks, is cable operators who have DOCSIS 3.0-enabled access networks who want to deliver Gigabit speeds to the home without having to upgrade their entire network to DOCSIS 3.1 – which is expensive.
The cost savings are said to be massive when opting for In:xtnd. “Our initial research in Western Europe indicates that the combined equipment and installation cost of deploying In:xtnd in an apartment within an MDU amounts to around 20% of the cost of fibre and around 40% of the cost of DOCSIS 3.1,” the Sweden-based vendor reveals. Carlsson adds: “The big saving comes from avoiding the need to bring fibre out of the basement.”
The In:xtnd solution includes a broadband-over-coax access node capable of 2.5 Gbps per RF-port and a total 10 Gbps output, and a coax-to-Ethernet media converter with 2×1 Gbps outputs. Both these units are based on the MoCA Access 2.5 standard. There is also a frequency multiplexer/demultiplexer that combines TV frequencies and data in the same existing coaxial cabling.
‘In:xtnd Manage’ is the management software which, among other things, provides carrier-class service provisioning and network management (including control and supervision of the coax link conditions). Importantly, this integrates with the management and operating system that the service provider already uses. NETCONF and YANG provide the standardised messaging that helps to ensure unified network control so that the In:xtnd/MoCA Access 2.5 in-building network becomes an extension of the WAN.
In:xtnd Manage detects any issues on the in-building network (and in apartments) and highlights them to the operator. You can differentiate services to different apartments so that one customer can have higher speeds or another can guarantee QoE for Netflix, for example.
In May, InCoax announced its Letter of Intent with a Swiss cable operator, which included field trials this summer. “This cable operator represents a typical use case. They are using DOCSIS 3.0 to deliver cable TV to customer apartments and want to upgrade their broadband offering to customers, and they want to do this much more cost-effectively without upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1,” InCoax Networks revealed at the time. “This use case is common in both Switzerland and other countries.”
Carlsson claims a cable operator using DOCSIS 3.0 combined with In:xtnd can offer the same or better services, at a significantly lower cost, then if they upgraded to DOCSIS 3.1. “There is a big market among mid-sized and smaller cable operators who are not ready to commit to DOCSIS 3.1,” he adds.
“There is a lot of traction for this. We are in advanced discussions with various cable operators who recognise the benefits and are very impressed with what we can do, both in terms of the performance and cost, and the simplicity.”
Analysys Mason, the research and consulting firm, analysed the market potential for this kind of solution in Switzerland and found that out of 2.3 million apartments, 1.2 million have active subscriptions over coax. The estimated addressable market for MoCA based solutions like In:xtnd is one million apartments. Besides cable operators and telcos, the target market for InCoax Networks is fibre ISPs and fibre network builders, plus mobile operators (who can use it for backhaul) and hospitality systems integrators.
Telcos see great value in this technology, according to Carlsson. “Many of them do not see G.fast as an alternative [to the use of in-building coax] because it does not give them the Gigabit speeds,” he claims.
G.fast is for higher speed broadband over short-loop lengths of copper (traditional phone lines). BT, which claims it leads the world in terms of G.fast deployment, says this solution delivers 330 Mbps for its customer homes. Nokia, which provides G.fast technology, says this approach (using 106 MHz) can deliver nearly 1 Gbps speeds at around 50m loop lengths. You can see the Nokia figures here.