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Moving from Two Boxes to One

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.

3 Responses

  1. Just wondering how the cable ops support folks feel about non-operator equipment. Will they be as bad as DSL providers, who stop the support call when they hear you have a third-party router mixed in?

    Techy folks have some advantage in that they can usually talk past the phone reps to assure them the third-party router isn’t the problem. But what happens when there is no device that the cable ops know and trust in the loop? Just wondering.

  2. Paul- Fair point. Though at this point I believe all modems/gateways have to be certified on MSO networks before they can go to retail. Still, your comment is particularly relevant in light of the future wave of IP devices that may be hooked on to cable service. How will cable support manage them all?

  3. [...] cable provider channels and began selling in Best Buy. However, I noted this past summer that retail placement brought about an interesting shift. For years cable modems were promoted in stores through cable service bundles, while home [...]

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