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Coax? Half of Europe Drowning in Coax


Published: 30 September, 2011


Who said that Europe has no coax? Europe has tons of coax - but it's built into existing multi-dwelling units (MDUs) which house more than 50% of the EU population.

One of Entropic's European partners InCoax dropped us a brief story at IBC and has put out a release for the Broadband World Forum in Paris this week, which talks about using it to drive broadband to all the MDUs in Europe, using Ethernet over Coax (EoC) chip sets from Entropic, built around the MoCA standard.

The trick is to take existing cable TV cabling and run MoCA over it, in separate spectrum so that it doesn't interfere with the cable TV signal. Cable TV is anywhere from 5 MHz to 862 MHz and MoCA then has another 1 GHz which it can safely play with. InCoax says that it can offer 100 Mbps to each home today and could reach up to 1 Gbps in the future, presumably talking about it incorporating MoCA 2.0 at some point in 2012. As far as we understand it MoCA operates in 100 MHz bands, but can support multiple bands at once.

The cost of building something like this into MDUs comes at around €60 to €80 per home, depending on the guaranteed capacity required, InCoax says, and that includes the price of a modem.

This is a strategy that Marvell has also hinted at but using over coax for much the same result, once its chips get into volume and prices come down - so MoCA had better make hay in this market while it has it to itself.

In many MDUs the broadband burden is squarely on VDSL, because twisted pair has also been installed when the building was first put up, just like the coax. InCoax is saying that the price per home of bringing broadband in using MoCA is way below VDSL. Also using the MoCA technology InCoax says it can connect different nodes around the same home, so for instance connecting computers, games consoles, DVR's and other home appliances together and the company is selling this as distribution for fiber to the building.

InCoax offers a backbone fiber connection with Gigabit capacity, connected to a central Coax Link Controller (CLC) installed behind the last Cable-TV TV amplifier. The CLC communicates over the passive coaxial cable with a modem in each apartment. It can operate over any type of coaxial network since the CLC establishes an individual encrypted data stream with each modem. The system has less crosstalk interference, the company claims, than DSL. InCoax calls it Gigabit over Coax Access and says it is scalable and can support up to 124 clients for each CLC.

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