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Monday, 14 June 2010 09:51

Battles loom over home wired network standards


The G.hn standard for wired home networks has been approved by the Telecommunication Union's Telecommunications sector (ITU-T), and is being touted as "the one global standard" but it faces competition from others.

The standard is being promoted by the HomeGrid Forum, which claims: "Through this one global standard, consumers will be able to connect and share content of all types over any wire in their homes: coaxial cable, power lines, and phone lines'¦Service providers will be able to deploy new offerings more cost effectively, including IPTV."

Matt Theall, president of HomeGrid Forum and technology strategist at Intel, said: "G.hn is the only technology platform that supports every wire in the home. We believe that consumer electronics manufacturers, PC companies, and service providers and every group that works within these markets will benefit from the commercial availability of this technology as it rolls out later this year."

According to the HomeGrid Forum, with G.hn, "Consumer electronics manufacturers will be able to provide powerful devices for connecting all types of entertainment, home automation, and security products throughout the house.

"Smart Grid devices such as electricity meters, heating and air conditioning systems, electrical appliances, electrical vehicles, and lighting systems will also benefit from the reliability, security, and low-power consumption provided by the G.hn Recommendation."


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Malcolm Johnson, director of ITU-T said: "ITU-T has approved this standard in record time and it has been endorsed by all 191 countries that are members of ITU. It is therefore a truly global standard produced quickly to meet a rapidly growing market need."

All three components of the new standard - the Data Link Layer (G.9961), Physical Layer (G.9960) and coexistence protocol (G.9972) - are now complete and numerous manufacturers are expected to bring semiconductors for multimedia home networking to market later this year. It promises to delivery bandwidths close to 1Gbps.

The HomeGrid Forum said that eight chipmakers had commited to developing G.hn chips. They are new Forum members Kawasaki Microelectronics America and TangoTec and existing members DS2, Ikanos, Intel, Lantiq, Sigma Designs, and Texas Instruments.

Meanwhile there is MoCA a standard from the Multimedia over Coax Alliance, billed as "the universal standard for home entertainment networking" and "the only home entertainment networking standard with appeal to all three pay TV segments - cable, satellite and IPTV."

Following G.hn's standardisation by the ITU, US telecoms news site, Light Reading claimed to have been told by an industry source that the MoCA 2.0 ratification was complete and that MoCA was planning to make an announcement within a week and would promise throughput at up to 800Mbps.

The current MoCA specification can support multiple streams of HD video, deliver up to 175Mbps. MoCA claims more than 50 members worldwide "representing the home entertainment network value chain including service providers, OEMs, consumer electronics companies and chip vendor," and says there are some 50 products on the market.


Then there is the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. It announced in April that the IEEE P1901 standard for powerline networking, based on its HomePlug AV standard, had passed a ballot and final ratification was expected in the third quarter of 2010.

"Products compliant to 1901 will be interoperable with millions of HomePlug AV products in the market today," the Alliance said. The HomePlug Powerline Alliance will serve as the certification body for IEEE 1901 devices in a similar way as the Wi-Fi Alliance certifies IEEE 802.11 wireless networking devices.

MoCA and HomePlug last month announced a relationship saying they had "entered into a formal liaison agreement to facilitate communications and information sharing between both organisations." They planned to co-ordinate efforts in educational and informational programmes and activities that promote new multimedia applications and the benefits of home networking.

"By establishing a formal relationship, HomePlug and MoCA will be able to work more closely together to create the best possible user experience for consumers and operators," said Rob Ranck, president of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance.

"Our two alliances are the only organisations in the wired home networking industry whose next-generation specifications will be backward compatible and interoperable with MoCA 1.0/1.1 and HomePlug AV. For home networking to become truly pervasive, multiple coexisting wired and wireless technologies are essential, and this agreement moves the industry a step closer to that goal."


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