The surge in multiple devices and content streaming in the home has seen an equally dramatic increase in the use of wireless technology as the primary means of connectivity. But the increased wireless-based traffic also brings about frustration and dissatisfaction by homeowners as they encounter dead zones, buffering, slower downloads, and the dreaded spinning wheel. MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) suspected, and was ultimately proven correct, that end users are quite willing to use a wire if it helps with networking reliability.
To further define and identify end users and their networking issues, MoCA contracted Parks Associates to conduct a survey of 1,000 homeowners around the country. The purpose of the primary research was to gain more insight and truly understand how relevant and salient end users wireless networking woes really are and what they’re willing to do about it.
As suspected, the problems have reached critical mass. Parks found that among the respondents, more than 50 percent who experience wireless network problems would be very comfortable using a wired solution to improve network performance. This is of particular interest, and a market opportunity, as there are 79 million with broadband access, of which 61 million, or 64 percent, have a wireless home network. 40 percent of those broadband households with a wireless router have also admitted to recent problems with their wireless network.
Commonly expressed issues were a slow connection or a dead zone by 87 percent of those reporting a problem. Of these, 63 percent continue to have problems despite efforts to resolve them. This represents 15 million households that suffer from dead zones or slow connections despite upgrades to Internet service or in-home equipment, such as the purchase of a new router.
The study also indicated a rising sophistication level regarding users’ home networks, as they recognize that distance from an access point can affect connectivity. More than a quarter of the respondents (27 percent) report that the problem might be also be due to too many devices concurrently fighting for bandwidth.
Respondents recognized that wireless technology is indispensable to their home network. They also indicated an interest in using a wire to improve their network’s wireless capability. For instance, more than half experiencing wireless network problems would be “very comfortable” using a wired solution to improve their network’s performance. Specifically, 58 percent of all network owners report being “comfortable” using the existing coaxial cable in their homes to improve their home network’s performance. A similar number report being comfortable using the existing electrical wiring in their homes (56 percent), and 52 percent report being comfortable using Ethernet/Cat-5 wiring.
Also insightful and supporting the primary finding of end users willingness to use a wire, 28 percent of respondents experiencing wireless network problems have considered using Ethernet/Cat-5 to improve network performance, while 27 percent have considered using the existing electrical wiring or coax. Owners of large homes are much more likely than those with smaller homes to consider using Ethernet, electrical wiring, or coax to improve their home network performance. A whopping 97% of respondents with a home larger than 3,000 ft.2 report considering at least one of these wired options, compared to 25 percent of owners of homes that are 2,000 ft.2 or smaller.
As end users become more sophisticated about technology, they also become more involved in their home networks’ reliability. Consumers recognize that wireless technology is critical but are comfortable with the integration of a wire to make their home network better.
The summary report of the research is available.
Rob Gelphman is the VP of Member Relations for MoCA, whose technology is used by telco, cable, and satellite operators worldwide as an in-home backbone supporting wireless connectivity. MoCA has more than 50 members and 190 certified products.