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Consumer-Ready Home Networking Forecast

The need for high-speed multimedia networking links in the home is driving growth for both MoCA and HomePlug silicon, according to ABI Research. Increased demand for both no-new-wires media networking technologies across both service provider and consumer-installable home networks will result in the combined value of MoCA and HomePlug IC shipments reaching $100 million in 2006 and growing to $464 million by 2011.

"MoCA has seen some key design wins and rollouts in the IPTV space during 2006," observes Michael Wolf, principal analyst of digital home and multimedia for ABI Research. "Vendors such as Motorola, ActionTec, and 2Wire have all integrated MoCA silicon into selected set-top box and gateway products. HomePlug is gaining traction in the Asia IPTV space, and we are seeing a renewed interest in consumer-installable home networking gear at the retail level in North America."

While ABI Research expects Wi-Fi to continue as the dominant home networking physical layer technology, it is not currently generating much interest from service providers for in-home pay-TV distribution, particularly in North America. Vendors such as Ruckus Wireless have had some success in Europe, but overall, service providers are waiting for the completion of the 802.11n standard as well as more extensive field testing to prove whether the technology is "combat ready" for the high-reliability networks needed for video distribution.

"802.11n is still embroiled in the standards process, and typically service providers are the last to adopt new connectivity technologies given their long-standing reluctance to install any technology that does not provide five-nines reliability," said Wolf. "However, we are seeing some interest from service providers in integrating Wi-Fi for Internet long-tail content distribution, as well as growing interest from CE providers in Wi-Fi for integration into retail based CE gear, from portable cameras to TVs to gaming consoles."

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