Nokia is helping cable cos deliver multi-gig to MDUs

Nokia has introduced a new solution that allows cable operators to deliver multi-gig service to multi-dwelling units (MDU) without having to install new fiber.

The Multimedia over Coax Alliance Access (MoCA Access) solution will be added to Nokia’s Gigabit Connect portfolio, which was launched in 2021 and targeted fiber providers. Nokia claims it’s the first vendor to offer “an integrated FTTH and MoCA Access solution.”

MoCA Access’ key feature is it lets operators deliver up to 2 Gbps symmetrical speeds over existing coaxial cable in MDUs as well as in commercial buildings like hotels and hospitals – buildings where fiber installation may not be feasible.

Stefaan Vanhastel, VP of Innovation for Fixed Networks at Nokia, explained many older buildings lack accessible conduits where it would be easy to add fiber.

“Installing fiber may first require permitting, which can take time,” he told Fierce Telecom. “Then, the physical installation in these buildings may involve cutting or drilling through various parts of the structure, including into individual residence units, and finding ways to snake the fiber through.”

To avoid that, an ISP would have to run the fiber through stairways and hallways, and even then, it risks receiving complaints from landlords and residents. Fiber is easier to install in newer buildings because it’s often built “as part of the base IT infrastructure,” Vanhastel said.

The benefit of MoCA Access is most older MDUs are already wired with coaxial cable throughout and into residential units, so all the infrastructure operators need “is already in place.”

“A cable operator only needs to bring a fiber drop from its fiber network/PON to the building itself and connect it to the Distribution Point Unit,” said Vanhastel.

A DPU is a type of access node or remote node that connects the operator’s PON fiber network to the building’s coax network.

“The DPU may be installed outdoors or indoors, adjacent to a point of access building’s coax. The building’s coax is attached to a port on the DPU from which services are delivered to a MoCA modem in each residence,” he explained.

Nokia’s Gigabit Connect portfolio leverages, a fiber extension technology that works over “point-to-point twisted-pair copper phone lines and coax.” Operators like AT&T and Frontier have deployed in recent years to smooth MDU upgrades.

Vanhastel added MoCA also has “flexible bands,” meaning operators can adjust the spectrum so it can coexist with legacy services like DOCSIS 3.1 or terrestrial and satellite TV.

Thus, a cable operator can offer multiple service types in the same building, i.e., some customers will have MoCA Access while others can still use DOCSIS.

The MoCA Access solution will be available worldwide.