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1394-over-coax gives backbone to home nets

Posted: 11 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:home network backbone? UWB-based 1394-over-coax? MoCA?

Rarely a week passes without news of some potential solution to the formidable task of streaming HD-quality video around a home. Pulse?Link, for several tears, has touted its flavor of UWB technology as suitable for home video networks using power lines, phone wiring, or coax cabling as the data highway. About two years ago the 1394TA (1394 Trade Association) and Pulse?Link began to work togetherdemonstrating video over coax at a number of events. Now the 1394TA has formalized the technology in a standard called 1394 Over Coax.

The new 1394 standard supports 800Mbit/s data rates over existing coax in homesmatching he top speed of shipping 1394 technology. The data rate greatly surpasses the rates offered by competing wireless LAN technologies today. It's also significantly faster than what Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) offers in its coax-base scheme today, although MoCA has been shipping for some time.

The 1394 over Coax technology will likely serve as a backbone connecting clusters or islands of 1394 devices with the islands using traditional 1394 cables and connectors. Indeed the 1394TA has a whitepaper describing precisely such a scenario.

Pulse?Link's CWave (Continuous Wave) UWB technology underlies the new standard. The Pulse?Link flavor of UWB is not to be confused with the UWB technology employed in lower-speed Wireless USB and similar implementations. Pulse?Link designed CWave to work over wiring or air channels from the start and has developed several generations of CWave chips capable of speeds that support video streaming.

Both the CWave technology and the 1394 protocol layers have inherent support for video streaming including guaranteed QoS. Moreover the 1394 protocols don't incur the overhead found in networks such as Ethernet and a high percentage of the maximum bandwidth is generally available for data. A coax backbone should be able to carry more than enough compressed HD streams to satisfy most consumers. Moreover the content owners have already endorsed the content-protection in place for 1394 links called Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP).

Most all HD-capable digital STBs already include 1394 ports and will be able to leverage the coax backbone via devices akin to a network hub or switch that sever each island. At least one major cable companyCablevisionhas already endorsed the technology. The new coax standard will also provide the key enabler needed by the High-definition Audio-video Network Alliance (HANA) to deliver on its vision of the connected digital home.

- Maury Wright
Digital Home DesignLine





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