MoCA Access, which will be confirmed as a standard within the next few weeks, will enable broadband or video service providers to guarantee bandwidth between the fibre termination point in the basement of a shared building and each apartment, with the ability to provision each apartment individually. In a typical European multi-dwelling unit there would be over 400Mbps of guaranteed bandwidth capacity per apartment ‘booked’ for exclusive use with a range of services.
The guaranteed bandwidth services could be a dedicated ‘channel’ for gaming, with 100Mbps capacity, for example. It could be 50Mbps guaranteed for Netflix. It could mean bandwidth is guaranteed for home security services. This is a particularly attractive feature if you are selling broadband into commercial premises, where individual companies want to know bandwidth is dedicated to them. The bandwidth could also be shared, and of course you can have a mixture of dedicated and shared bandwidth within a building.
Helge Tiainen, Chair of the MoCA Access working group (and an executive at InCoax, which provides solutions for high-speed broadband over in-building coax), believes the new standard will open the way to new revenue opportunities, with service providers able to charge discrete fees for bandwidth guarantees that are tied to services. And this can be viewed as part of a wider trend to deliver better broadband experiences. Many broadband providers are determined to improve Wi-Fi within individual homes and ensure that when it comes to speeds, what you pay for (as an access network speed) is what you get (on your end devices).
MoCA Access is network agnostic and there is already interest from cable operators and telcos. Tiainen reports that there will be trials later this year with both categories of broadband provider. The first commercial deployment of MoCA Access will be in Q4 or in early 2018.
MoCA Access is viewed as a fibre extension technology that will accelerate the roll-out of high-speed broadband services. It harnesses coax wiring that is already in buildings and will work with old coax, so there is no need to install Ethernet between the basement and different apartments. New wiring requires the permission of the MDU owner or multiple owner-tenants and achieving this can be tortuous.
With the forthcoming standard, bandwidth provisioning can support multiple broadband service providers within the same building, all using a common fibre termination point. Subject to commercial pressures or even regulatory requirements, we could see different parts of the total bandwidth capacity assigned to different providers and then split amongst apartments, with those allocations guaranteed where appropriate.
According to Tiainen, small and medium cable operators are interested in MoCA Access because it is a cost-effective alternative to deploying DOCSIS 3.1, and larger cable operators are interested in a fibre extension on business premises. The ability to manage the QoS across a building is viewed as a key benefit. The standard supports traffic shaping and QoS for up to eight traffic classes.
Rob Gelphman, VP Marketing and Member Relations at MoCA, believes that when it comes to distributing broadband services, operators want high levels of performance and reliability and they want to make use of existing wires where they can. “We have set the benchmark for that,” he says. “That is what we do [at MoCA, which already caters for distribution around individual homes]. We can go into apartments but there is also lots of interest from hotels and resorts. We see this as a great [market] opportunity.”
MoCA Access is based on the MoCA 2.5 standards and can support 2.5Gbps downstream and 2Gbps upstream. Latency is less than 5 milliseconds. You can run this on existing basement technology with current field-proven silicon using a software upgrade – there is no need for new hardware.
The 400Mbps per-apartment guaranteed figure is calculated as: total 10Gbps fibre capacity into a building; typical European MDU has around 24 apartments; the 10Gbps capacity is split between four MoCA Access channels, each one with 2.5Gbps capacity; each channel feeds approximately six apartments.
Because of the frequencies used – 400MHz to 1675MHz – the solution can co-exist with DOCSIS. Gelphman believes MoCA Access will be used for 5G backhaul, a valuable application that will make use of its upstream capacity. The solution can be used with various coax architectures, notably star cascade (with several RF bands), tab cascade (with a single RF band) and star network architectures (with one RF band per outlet).
Read our original report (from last July) about MoCA Access here.