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5 Best Practices for MoCA Installation and Maintenance

Once upon a time, in-home networks were viewed as the customer’s responsibility. Today, as competition intensifies, service providers are increasingly seeing the financial benefits of taking ownership of the customer’s entire service experience. According to Infonetics, home networking device revenue will increase to $17.0B by 2019 up from $14.8B in 2015. The huge potential for enhanced video services revenue has service providers scrambling for technology and operational advantages. This leads us to the important question: which in-home networking technology will best support the requirements for advanced services?

Bar chart showing home networking device revenue

MoCA device revenue has grown by more than 14% from 2013-15 and is projected to hit $5.3B by 2019 (source: Infonetics). This growth in MoCA STB revenue has been driven by service providers rolling out DVR sharing and other multi-media services. While, MoCA technology adoption is expected to continue to grow, leading service providers are indicating that Wi-Fi technology will move beyond data services and become a key element of video service delivery. However, Wi-Fi technology suffers from well-known performance and reliability issues due to interference, coverage and congestion.

As a result, the MoCA Alliance has begun to promote MoCA as both a standalone technology and as a backbone to extend and support Wi-Fi. This makes MoCA attractive in two ways:

  1. Standalone MoCA deployments provide a relatively low-cost method of getting DVR and other multimedia sharing video services to multiple TVs using existing coax cabling.
  2. Hybrid MoCA/Wi-Fi deployments provide a high-performance, high-reliability MoCA backbone that enables high-quality video over Wi-Fi service to targeted areas, overcoming coverage, interference and congestions issues associated with Wi-Fi.

MoCA provides an industry and consumer accepted platform for home networking with sufficient bandwidth and QoS support to guarantee a high customer QoE. The future evolution of home networking is subject to change as new and existing technologies continue to evolve; however, with dozens of certified products and an installed base of millions of nodes, it is clear MoCA is going to be a key part of the home network for years.

However, MoCA will only benefit service providers if the costs associated with installing and maintaining the MoCA network can be controlled. Based on our experience working with leading service providers that have deployed MoCA technology, we have identified the following challenges and best practice methodologies for empowering front-line technicians to quickly identify and correct problems.

MoCA Challenges

  1. Identifying the problem source – Even if a specific problem is identified, such as excessive attenuation or a coaxial cable fault, sectionalizing the home network to isolate the source can be problematic. Although 90% of problems are due to bad cabling or connectors/splitters, any number of other components could be the cause including amplifiers, band pass filters, un-terminated cables, or interference which affects the MoCA network.
  2. CPE statistics limitations – A multi-room DVR, cable/satellite set top box or other MoCA capable device may provide limited statistics such as MoCA PHY rates. These statistics will not direct the technician to problematic coaxial segments that may be causing reduced MoCA PHY rates.
  3. Swapping Components – Due to limited visibility into root causes for customer-reported issues, many technicians resort to swapping out equipment based on a best guess of the cause. Studies have shown that over 85 percent of these returned STBs are found to be in perfect working order.

MoCA Best Practices

  1. Pre-qualify MoCA Readiness – Pre-qualify the MoCA readiness of the home network infrastructure.
  2. Determine if service delivery to the home is okay – Once onsite, make sure the core/access network is delivering services to the home with no issues as a first step.
  3. Verify MoCA Readiness – Verify if the network is MoCA-ready by double checking the MoCA bandwidth, speed and node stats.
  4. Segment issues – Perform MoCA tests on each segment of the network and each node until an issue is found (at router, at each STB location, before/after each splitter/cable run).
  5. Verify On-Demand Video – If MoCA verification tests pass in all segmentation scenarios and issues are still occurring, then verify the on-demand video services by performing a VMOS test.

Providers who can quickly adapt their tools and services for the rapidly changing home network will have the advantage in quality, credibility, customer satisfaction, operational efficiencies and, ultimately, revenue.

To learn more about MoCA technology and in-home network tests, please read our white paper on MoCA Best Practices.

 
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