The push to deliver IPTV services is causing a seismic shift in the home networking market, as telcos gear up to invest heavily in technologies that will distribute IPTV and other multimedia services.
According to a report from Heavy Reading, the market research division of Light Reading, the emergence of IPTV is "reinvigorating" the home networking sector, which now includes such leading technology suppliers as Alcatel, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Motorola and Siemens.
The next 12 months will be critical for multimedia 'whole-home' networking vendors which are becoming increasingly interested in residential customer premises equipment with IPTV as a driving force.
Industry action in 2005 presaged the future role of the home as the battleground for IPTV. Cisco's acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta and Alcatel's significant investment in 2Wire, both in the past six months, foreshadow what's to come, according to Heavy Reading.
"While early home networking initiatives were driven by end users, the whole-home networking model envisioned by most service providers puts control of home network resources firmly in the hands of the network operators," said Rick Thompson, senior analyst at Heavy Reading and author of the report.
"This dramatic shift in perception will have huge and permanent ramifications for the entire home networking supply chain."
The study found that reducing service providers' operational expenses is a major driver for next-gen multimedia whole-home networking technology.
'No new wires' is the mantra as service providers attempt to increase the number of IPTV service installations per day by decreasing the time per installation.
Heavy Reading expects network operators to deploy a range of home networking technologies. However, it noted there are many variables that will dictate the technology of choice for multimedia whole-home networking systems.
These include factors such as existing wiring, building materials, construction details, range and throughput requirements, and sources of signal interference.
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