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Verizon debuts 100 Meg MoCA routers

Most new customers of Verizon’s FiOS service are being connected using a new home router that can support service at speed up to 100 Megabits per second.

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More importantly for Verizon, the new router -- built by Actiontec Electronics to Verizon’s specifications – uses the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) standard to deliver video and data over existing coaxial cable in the home. That transition will cut time and cost associated with FiOS installation, said Michael Bolduc, director of products and services for CPE and WiFi for Verizon’s Broadband Solutions group.

Previously, Verizon used D-Link routers for its FiOS connections, which were connected via Category 5 wiring typically used for Ethernet connections, and its technicians had to provide the in-home wiring as part of the FiOS set-up.

“The key distinction here is the inclusion of MoCA,” Bolduc said. “It is a traditional router with a four-port Ethernet switch that can be connected by Cat 5 or structured wiring. We know that in most of our customers homes in America, there is not likely to be Cat 5 cable, but there is likely to be coax. This will cut installation time significantly.”

The Actiontec router also supports 802.11g WiFi connections for laptops and other devices. The devices cost “less than twice” the cost of the current generation of routers, which are generally priced around $50 to $60 each, he said.

“There is a whole plethora of new gaming devices and handheld devices that are flooding onto the market,” Bolduc said. The new router’s support of diverse connections – coax, Ethernet and wireless – will enable these devices to easily be connected within the home.

Verizon has gone through a 16-to 17-month process in getting the new routers designed and built and Actiontec is the first of what will be two vendors. The second vendor, not yet publicly identified, isn’t expected to produce the new routers before the end of the year.

“We’d like to go through a full shakeout on these with Actiontec,” Bolduc said.

In some areas, customers will continue to get D-Link routers as that supply is depleted, he said, but no new D-Link routers will be ordered.

The new router also uses the DRL Forum’s TR-069 standard to enable remote management and troubleshooting.

Verizon won’t actively retrofit existing FiOS homes with the new routers, Bolduc said, but as those customers order new services, such as upgrading form FiOS data to add FiOS video, “that will be the perfect time to install this new router, because it handle video better than the D-Link model,” he said.

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