MoCA: It's not just for home networking any more

As the dog days of summer roll in and a mocha frappuccino sounds like a far better idea than a hot beverage, it seems a good time to check in with the Multimedia over Cable ...

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As the dog days of summer roll in and a mocha frappuccino sounds like a far better idea than a hot beverage, it seems a good time to check in with the Multimedia over Cable Alliance (MoCA), doesn't it?

MoCA has been working to build its reputation as a complementary technology in the home networking arena, said Rob Gelphman, VP marketing and member relations, MoCA. "We are not a competitive threat. We work fine with everybody …. We don't supplant, we support."

In other words, a MoCA Home application, for example, has been to provide an in-home backbone for WiFi that utilizes existing coax cable to address dead zone or slow performance areas. MoC 2.0 offers actual throughputs (MAC rate) up to 1 Gbps, and MoCA 2.5 offers actual throughputs of up to 2.5 Gbps. There is a migration plan in place, with the next step 10G as part of the MoCA 3.0 standard.

Meanwhile, the organization has been working to extend the technology to other applications, namely access. MoCA Access is point-to-multipoint, serving up to 63 modems, and is designed to co-exist with services like video, DOCSIS, and cellular (4G/5G) technologies.

"This is a strategic shift. We are not abandoning our home networking, we are taking (our technology) into another application," Gelphman said, noting that Access uses the same silicon as Home, but with additional management features.

In other words, cable operators could come into an apartment and use MoCA to bring DOCSIS 3.1 to each unit. Or in another example, a hotel could use MoCA as the extension that brings WiFi to each hotel room.

"We are now a universal backbone or a universal extension," Gelphman said. "You are extending the speed, reliability, performance, security of DOCSIS, fiber or 5G. 

There have been a few announcements in 2019 related to MoCA worth revisiting:

  • Luster Teraband debuted a home networking adapter based on the MoCA Home 2.5 standard as part of its HomeTRAN product family. The HomeTRAN 2.5 adapter provides 2.5 Gbps actual data rates and is intended as a backbone for a MoCA plus WiFi network. It uses existing coax cable in the home to address dead zone or slow performance areas. It offers an average latency of 5 ms and a typical latency of 3 ms.
  • Extreme Broadband Engineering, a provider of MoCA amplifiers, splitters and filters, announced recently that it is offering training sessions to help understand how and where to implement MoCA in cable networks. Interested SCTE chapters can contact Extreme Broadband, but there also is an online video tutorial on MoCA available.
  • MoCA introduced a new security layer called MoCASec that is intended to provide point-to-point link privacy that specifically allows for integration of the MoCA technology into home networks supporting the Wi-Fi Alliance's EasyMesh standard. MoCASec is available via firmware upgrade to MoCA Home 2.0 and 2.5 devices and is part of the MoCA Home 3.0 standard.
  • ABI Research reported that it expects MoCA 2.5 or G.hn specification network node shipments to reach 8 million units in 2019. The research firm suggested that there is growing interest from service providers in both technologies to deploy as an efficient backbone for residential WiFi networks. While the MoCA home networking adoption has mainly been concentrated in North America, MoCA continues to eye growth in Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions particularly since the introduction of MoCA Access 2.5, which added broadband access specifications based on MoCA 2.5.
  • Iowa-based telecommunications provider Waverly Utilities has chosen Amino to supply MoCA-enabled IPTV devices and AminoOS software to improve efficiency and upgrade its pay TV video service. Waverly selected AminoOS-powered Kamai 650M set-top boxes with MoCA connectivity. The company said it needs MoCA in order to take advantage of the existing coax cable deployed in many homes to provide high bandwidth throughput.        
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