Wireless networks in their current form can’t support efforts by service providers trying to deliver video inside the home. That’s according to Joe Del Rio, a senior marketing manager at Broadcom with whom I chatted yesterday; he said service providers are still inclined to trust wired networking standards such as Home PNA or MoCA to deliver video and entertainment content around the home. Carriers are asking for between 30 Mbps and 36 Mbps, he said — enough to deliver three uncompressed HD video streams to televisions.
But so far wireless networks can’t deliver — at least not consistently throughout an entire house. Broadcom is conducting a trial to use Wi-Fi to send content around the home as part of AT&T’s U-verse product, but can’t disclose any results yet. Wireless would help carriers install home networks faster and would cut costs, but it’s still not something carriers trust to deliver quality video streams. If a customer is paying $100 a month for IPTV service on their 52-inch plasma TV, and the picture pixelates, or otherwise experiences problems, consumers aren’t going to be as accepting as when such things happen on their PCs. So far carriers are keeping to wires even if it makes installation of IPTV setups more of a pain.
Currently Broadcom is trying to build a Wi-Fi chip that would sit inside a residential gateway and deliver 20 Mbps streams inside a home, but that still wouldn’t be enough. In the meantime, there are other companies trying to offer alternate ways to boost wireless signals inside the home for a consistent network to deliver videos. Quantenna is using a series of repeaters to boost a home’s Wi-Fi signal throughout the home, while Amimon is trying to create a home wireless video network using the 5GHz spectrum and its own standard. And even if carriers don’t like wireless home networks, it may not be up to them if the PC wins out as the source of entertainment for consumers.