By Richard Nesin, president, HomePNA
Last week I wrote a couple of blogs about DOCSIS technology and the traction HomePNA member CopperGate is getting promoting alternative HomePNA-based access technology to cablecos in China for IPTV delivery and Internet access in MDUs.
In the ten years since DOCSIS was invented there have been many technology advances. Fiber, for example, has gone from a core network transport technology to one that is becoming widely deployed worldwide to provide access to the premises and home. So … there you are in a huge consumer market served by a lot of mostly smaller cablecos that provide basic, often analog, cable service to their customers. These cablecos want to provide new triple-play services to their customers. Often there is no existing DOCSIS infrastructure -- in effect, it’s a green-field (an industry term for new construction) opportunity -- and the cablecos are free to select the optimum solution. But they don’t want to pay a lot for it. Hello HomePNA.
What makes HomePNA technology attractive for this market? First, HomePNA can share the coax cable with the cablecos’ TV channels allowing them to reuse the existing wires in the MDU. Second, it is low cost. Where DOCSIS requires a DOCSIS modem in each apartment, HomePNA-based implementations only need a low-cost Ethernet bridge in each apartment. Where DOCSIS requires a port on an expensive CMTS for each apartment, the HomePNA-based approach uses a low cost HomePNA master – essentially a HomePNA Ethernet bridge with different software – to provide connectivity to up to 32 or more apartments in the MDU. Where DOCSIS may require the cableco’s network cabling and equipment to be upgraded to support high speed bi-directional digital communication, the HomePNA approach uses a standard fiber connection instead.
The key to HomePNA technology’s appeal is its synchronous MAC architecture, discussed back in a June blog, which enables HomePNA’s best-in –class QoS (sorry MOCA PQoS) and master-client architecture.
In a home network every device cocommunicates with every other connected device. Not so in an MDU. In an MDU, communication is only between the service provider and each individual apartment -- every apartment communicates with the HomePNA master and the HomePNA master communicates to the service provider over the FTTP connection. To provide privacy, apartment to apartment communication is prevented by the HomePNA master even though all of the apartments are connected to the same coax cable.
When a service provider provides triple play VoIP voice, IPTV, and Internet access services over a home network, guaranteed QoS enables interference-free voice and video in the presence of heavy Internet access action (I imagine that kids are downloading videos and songs at all hours of the day all over the world - legally of course). Guaranteed QoS serves the same purpose in an MDU however it has another important function. HomePNA's guaranteed QoS mechanism also controls how much of the HomePNA capacity is allocated to each apartment -- guaranteeing the amount of bandwidth supplied to each apartment similar to the way a cableco might advertise a given megabits per second Internet access over DOCSIS.
These features and others make the combination of FTTP and HomePNA-based technologies a compelling solution for MDU apartment access.