An interesting nuance in home networking behaviors came up in conversation today. For years, retailers have sold Motorola cable modems bundled with cable service. However, those modems have typically been shelved in a separate section from home networking gear. Now that there’s a viable DOCSIS 3.0 solution combining both technologies in one box, it’s going to take some retraining to get both retailers and consumers to think of cable modems as a function of home networking. Right now cable modems are considered part and parcel of cable service, but home networking is often categorized as something else entirely. Efforts to change that in the past have failed. However, it seems that several factors make success more likely now. For one, home networking is more mainstream. For another, consumers rely far more heavily on broadband today than at any other time, making the ease of combining modem and access point in one box a more compelling proposition. Third and finally, if behavioral change starts with early adopters, then the fact that new retail gateways include high-end specs like DOCSIS 3.0 and 802.11n makes them more attractive to the consumers most likely to buy them first.
Incidentally, I hear that Motorola’s new retail gateways are selling well, even after such a short time on the market. And while some people believe that cable operators would rather get the leasing revenue than have subscribers buy at retail, the truth is that operators are not displeased to see a lift in the retail modem/gateway channel. One less modem leased is one less piece of equipment they have to buy and manage.