WiFi faces competition for home triple-play delivery

WiFi is facing a tough competition on the home front. Triple-play service providers today have the luxury of many choices when it comes to distributing content around the customer's premises. A new research brief from ABI Research concluded that WiFi will play a large role in domestic triple-play distribution scenarios, but that Multimedia over Coax (MoCA), Home Phone Networking Alliance (HPNA 3.0) and HomePlug will together see 45 million total connections on STB and residential gateways shipped in 2011. "Most large video service providers are evaluating one of these no-new-wires technologies to enable video distribution around the home," says research director Michael Wolf. "The slow road towards finalization of 802.11n and the lack of comfort among many video service providers about wireless have opened the doors for these alternatives. Verizon's choice of MoCA and AT&T's adoption of HPNA 3.0 show a market today split between various technologies."

There are advantages and disadvantages to using one of the three technologies: MoCA has the highest actual throughput for home networking, but today the technology can operate only over coax. HPNA 3.0 can run over either coax or copper phone wiring, but HPNA's frequency overlap with VDSL as a concern. HomePlug AV uses the dwelling's existing powerline wiring to distribute high speed data, but the technology has yet to see a major rollout by a large video service provider for video services.

Wolf said that his research into this topic suggests that among the three technologies (MoCA, HPNA 3.0 and HomePlug AV), MoCA will lead in overall connections owing to strong uptake in North America among IPTV and cable providers. "HPNA 3.0 will see some adoption among IPTV providers and possibly cable providers, as some take advantage of the dual-medium capability (coax and phone line) of HPNA. HomePlug will see more limited deployment, but will have greater traction overall in Europe."

For more on the competitors of WiFi in the home:
- see ABI Research report