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Home Networking Heads To Electronic Entertainment Expo

Coaxsys, a start-up home networking company based here, plans to make its formal debut at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles (May 13-16) by demonstrating an easy to use and set up distribution system that is based on standard coaxial cable.

Although the target audience at launch will be online video gamers who need an inexpensive, easy-to-use and reliable high-speed connection for uninterrupted game playing, Coaxsys said it will look to quickly expand its target to include users who wish to distribute home theater and PC connections throughout a house.

The system affords sufficient bandwidth to carry multiple streams of compressed high-definition TV simultaneously.

A Coaxsys Pure Speed system, which will be available in June for a $350 suggested retail, includes two coaxial line adapters and a hub, which connects like a splitter to a standard installed coaxial cable line, such as those used for cable TV and satellite services. The adapters connect to the other end of the cable line in a room where a remote Ethernet device is located. Additional adapters will carry a $140 suggested retail.

Coaxsys Pure Power will carry the network signals on the same line with cable TV and cable modem signals, without interference with or from those services, the company said.

The adapters also connect to standard 10/100 Ethernet ports on PCs or video game consoles. They will even connect to a USB port — using an optional USB-to-Ethernet adapter — on a device like a TiVo Series 2 digital video recorder.

The system offers 100Mbps of bandwidth, enough for multiple streams of video — a single compressed HDTV video signal requires 19.2Mbps.

“We can support mulitple HD streams. Standard MPEG-2 quality video is 6 to 8 Mbps, so we can easily handle a whole bunch of those,” said Coaxsys CEO Michael D’Addio.

Signals will run much further than WiFi networks, D’Addio said. A Coaxsys signal will travel “300 feet for any single wire in the tree, so the maximum range from one device to another in a home is probably 600 feet,” D’Addio said.

The system is designed for plug-and-play simplicity with a more reliable connection than WiFi systems, and lacking any legacy issues, D’Addio said.

“What we deliver is speed, reliability, low latency and a fairly inexpensive solution for the online gamer,” D’Addio said.

In addition to video game retailers, Coaxsys will be targeting consumer electronics and computer retail channels, CEDIA channels and e-commerce retailers. In the longer term, the company will look to partner with cable multisystem operators.

Coaxsys said some 98 percent of U.S. households currently have some form of coaxial wiring. Meanwhile there were about 7.6 million broadband installations in homes at the end of 2002, according to Parks Research. About 59 percent of those were Ethernet with CAT 5 cabling, while wireless was 25 percent, but with the greatest growth rate.

“Our target customer is someone who needs high-speed networking, and/or wants to have a network that works across a broad, expansive home,” said D’Addio. “We can see reasonable penetration into the data side, but our thrust is toward multimedia and backbone networking for wireless. We think there is a very good market potential, but not the same potential that there is for wireless.”