Thursday, March 08, 2007

MoCA Home Networking (FiOS TV) and more ...

FiOS TV from Verizon uses a new Home Networking technology based on MoCA, a Standard defined by a consortium of companies. The founding company of this consortium, and MoCA Pioneer, is Entropic Communication which sports the venerable Andrew Viterbi as one of the Board Members.

This Technology Converts regular Ethernet traffic to a Signal that is able to traverse the COAXial wiring infrastructure already existent in most of the homes without affecting the Cable, Satellite or FiOS TV signal.

Multiple Nodes/Devices can be hooked to the same COAXIAL infrastructure and communicate in a mesh like topology on the shared medium.

In order to be able to make multiple devices communicate over the same medium and maintain Quaity of Service by avoiding packet collisions, one of the nodes elects himself as arbiter of the network and tells everybody when they can transmit and when they can not transmit.

In order to increase the available throughput of the network, each node can talk with each other directly avoiding wasting bandwidth by going back and forth to/from a centralized access point.

A 50 MHz portion of the spectrum in the 950MHz (MoCA WAN) 1150MHz (MoCA LAN) vicinity is reserved for communication among the different MoCA nodes. The 50 MHz channel is divided in 256 sub-channels. Each sub-channel communicates using the best modulation possible starting from BPSK up to 256-QAM.

Every node will negotiate the best modulation profile that can be achieved while maintaining a low Packet error rate for each of the nodes, the result is a logical mesh network between each node with different bit-rates for each unidirectional path.

In order to effectively Multi-cast or BroadCast packets destined to more than one node, the lowest common denominator profile is used so that all the nodes can receive the communication correctly.

Up to 8 networks (50 MHz each) can co-exist on the same wiring infrastructure without interference.

The result is a reliable backbone for Home Networking which at current state of the art can support a total troughput of around 150 Mbps.

Verizon uses regular Cable TV channels to broadcast TV to all users of FiOS TV which are hooked to a Fiber Network. The architecture for sending broadcast TV works similarly to current HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coax) Cable networks but the fiber reaches the home of the end user and the signal is converted back to coax directly in the home.

So, why Verizon uses MoCA technology?

While Broadcast Television does not require to be transported over ethernet, Video on Demand requires both:

  • The ability for a user to request for a particular program.

  • The ability for Verizon to send a program to a specific User.

So, for VoD Verizon uses this backbone Home Networking technology to carry the traffic associated with the VoD request and the VoD stream itself.

What are the important advantages of this technology?

  • Coaxial Cables are already installed in the Home

  • Coaxial Cables are already used to carry the TV signal to the TV sets and STBs.

Verizon originally had planned to use MoCA technology for the delivery of LAN traffic to all the Set Top Boxes in the house, but now two MoCA networks can be established in a FiOS installation in order to minimize installation costs by reusing existing wiring as much as possible. The result is that a MoCA domain is established between the Router and the different Set Top Boxes (MoCA LAN) and another domain (MoCA WAN) is established between the router and the ONT (Which is the box that converts the optical signal coming in the home from the fiber to regular Ethernet signal).

Below is a picture of a Typical Early installation of Verizon FiOS TV: (The MoCA technology is integrated in all Set Top Boxes and in the NIM100 a stand alone device which converts Ethernet to Moca)

Below is a picture of a Typical current installation of Verizon FiOS TV: (The MoCA technology is integrated in all Set Top Boxes and in the ONT, while 2 MoCA channels are embedded in the Brodband router. NIM100 devices are being discontinued as routers from the early deployments get upgraded to the new Actiontec BHR with integrated MoCA and are becoming available from Liquidators on Ebay.

Below is a picture of how one of these NIM100 devices coud be used in the current Verizon FiOS installations.


Tiziana Caggioni said...

bello il blog!
molto interessante!
prendero' un po' di spunti.
Ormai la telematica e' il mio pane .
Bravo continua cosi'

Anonymous said...

I have the new setup and I use two NIM 100 to get wired internet (wireless is not able to handle video traffic)(I have Draft-N router and Draft-N on both the PCs) to two rooms.

The first NIM-100 was installed few months ago and second few days ago. The PC connected to the second NIM 100 is sometimes not able to get a DHCP address, and intermittently loses internet. The 100Mbps link is always up and so is the cable light.

Is it a valid configuration having two NIM100, I am thinking of switching to powerline ethernet due to these issues.

My email: A M I L A B H -@-

Anonymous said...

I got good news and bad news. The NIM was never really made for PC to coax network functionality. The signal drops since only one NIM can be on the wire at one time this rate is slower then the CDMA that ethernet provides. so what you end up with is getting disconnected and then the DHCP server will not issue you another address because it already shows you in its tables, and the DHCP Server timeout has not been acheived so you are disconnected until the time out happens.

Francesco Caggioni said...

You can connect at least up to 8 MoCA nodes to a MoCA network even with the first release of NIM100s.

NIM100 does work with PCs and it will even work with a ethernet switch connected to it and multiple PCs connected to it.

I do not agree with the comment from the last poster.

He probably is a MoCA basher.

I personally do not like the way the DHCP server works on the Actiontec router, and the actiontec router might very well be the source of your problems.

Verizon uses the MoCA network to talk to many set top boxes.

The rate on MoCA is around 125Mbps Half Duplex after all the MAC inefficiency.

While the rate is only 125Mbps Half duplex, this is good anough for a lot of applications including multiple PCs streaming videos.

If you have problem with your configuration, feel free to write me.

Russell said...

Yes, I agree Francesco.

The NIM100 does work with PCs and will work with an ethernet switch connected to it as well as multiple PCs all connected.

Great info here.

PhilippZ said...

Works great! Got it from my Fios Cable Guy today for free and hooked it up to a coax cable coming from the Actiontec router. Then I connected my laptop to the Ethernet out on the NIM. After a few minutes of hunting for IP addresses, the laptop got an IP of and I'm now surfing online. No special configuration necessary. Great device to have ethernet wherever you have coax!

Eug said...

If you have a NIM100 network, can your neighbour access your network, if he has a NIM100 as well?


hannahshaven said...

I'm not really a techie guy...whateever technology Verizon is using, it's GREAT...i don't really care what is long as they deliver what has been promised

say no to moca said...

"What are the important advantages of [MoCA] technology when the home is neither coax nor ethernet?"


Cat5e from ONT to house, to rooms, and only bridge lan eth to lan coax for stb.