10 Reasons Coax, Not Wireless, Is Future of Video Distribution

Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) points to reliability, prevalent adoption and ease of installation as why coax will be the basis for whole-house video distribution for the foreseeable future.

MoCA believes the ubiquitous nature of coax inside 90 percent of U.S. homes makes it the basis for video distribution, not Ethernet cable or wireless.
Rob Gelphman · May 21, 2012

CE Pro surveyed integrators recently about the state of structured wiring. About half of the respondents (49%) say they are installing less coaxial cable today than they did five years ago. At the same time, 65% of CE pros say they are running more Cat 5/6/7 cable per household these days. The Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) responds that most existing households already have plenty of coax to work with, thanks to cable companies that generally install the stuff for free—or at least they used to. MoCA chairman Rob Gelphman explains why it makes sense to use the existing coax, rather than rely on wireless for video distribution.

At its core, a home video network is simply defined as multiple streams of standard and high-definition content distributed anywhere, anytime throughout the home. The network is used to share video content such as movies or photos to multiple rooms from sources such as a multiroom DVR, over the top (OTT) HD antenna, gaming console or IPTV.

While wireless networking has garnered the headlines and is prevalent if not prominent in people’s homes, it is still primarily a data-based experience. When everyone in the house is on the same wireless network, and/or there are multiple demands for Internet and HD programming content, bottlenecks can occur affecting performance and reliability. While slower access is tolerated for voice and data, customers want their IP video streaming experience to be fast, reliable, secure, and seamless.

It would be great for one standard to provide the ultimate one-size-fits-all solution for home networking, but video delivery, especially delivery of high-definition programming, is far more difficult and unreliable over any current wireless (or wired) technology.

The most obvious medium for delivery of video around the home is still the one that is well understood by service providers and consumers and is available in more than 90 percent of U.S. households - coax. Multimedia over Coax (MoCA) technology is the worldwide standard for delivering content over cable or satellite TV (aka coaxial) cables.

MoCA technology turns a building’s or home’s existing coaxial cable infrastructure into a dual-channel conduit delivering HD IP video content and high-capacity Ethernet connectivity to every coaxial connection in the house.

Related: Despite Wireless World, Integrators Installing More Cat Cable

Here are the top inherent benefits to using MoCA for video delivery:

High Performance: The current MoCA specification can support multiple streams of HD video, deliver up to 175 Mbps net throughputs and offer an unparalleled user experience via parameterized quality of service (PQoS).

Built for Video: It is targeted for high bandwidth, low latency applications such as HD video. Other technology standards are more than adequate for voice and data applications.

Compatibility: It works with any network access technology including fiber, coax (DOCSIS), copper/phoneline (DSL), wired or wireless. MoCA can be used as an in-home backbone extending the reach of Wi-Fi.

Ubiquitous: If you can get a TV signal, MoCA will work.

Acceptance/Penetration: MoCA is the only home entertainment networking standard in use by all three pay TV segments - cable, satellite and IPTV - and is resident in eight of the top 10 pay service providers in the U.S. MoCA technology is in full deployment through Verizon’s FiOS program, DirecTV and Cox Communications. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, BrightHouse Networks, Sunflower, Charter, RCN and many other pay TV operators.

Interoperability: MoCA technology is backwards compatible with all previous versions. This means that the equipment purchased a year ago or more is still useful as it will work next generation versions of the technology and product.

Reliability: Coaxial is an inherently shielded medium meaning it is immune to the interference issues that plague wireless and powerline. It is also a high bandwidth medium. Most consumers are aware that the coax in their home is a prime delivery vehicle for video.

Security: Certified products transmit signals over a shielded cable ensuring security and offer no interference with other technologies and networks, intrusion or unauthorized access.

Easy to Install: No new wires and no holes to punch into walls. Coax is available in more than 90 percent of all households in the U.S.

Availability: There are more than 100 certified products (media adapters and DVRs for instance) are available from companies such as Actiontec, D-Link, Netgear, TiVo, ChannelMaster and Wi3.

Home networks are and will continue to be a blend of wireless and wired implementations. Wireless and powerline connections provide benefits for connecting portable devices and for use in rooms where there are no coax outlets. But for HD video and programming reliability, MoCA is already available in the house.

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  About the Author

Rob Gelphman is the chair of the Marketing Work Group for the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA). Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Rob at

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  Article Topics

Audio/Video · Multiroom Video · News · DataComm · All Topics
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