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Networks?? brings rivals under one roof

Posted: 27 Feb 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:home network? powerline? coax telephone line?

Three competing networking standards advocates have formed liaisons with the Home Grid Forum. The move is another step toward industry support for the ITU effort to create a single wired standard for home networks over powerline, coax and telephone lines.

In late December, competing powerline groups broke a two-year deadlock by setting a tentative coexistence standard under the IEEE 1901 group. That standard relies in part on, promoted by the Home Grid Forum.

As part of the new collaboration two powerline groups and one based on home nets over phone and coax lines will establish liaisons with the Home Grid Forum. According to a press statement from the forum, the trio has agreed to "promote and ensure co-existence between products and those using other current generation powerline, phoneline, and coax networking technologies."

The statement does not address the extent to which competing powerline technologies will actually be compatible with products. Supporting coexistence only requires technologies do not interfere.

The three groups include the Consumer Electronics Powerline Communication Alliance (CEPCA), the HomePNA Alliance and the Universal Powerline Association (UPA).

CEPCA of Japan is based on powerline technology developed by Panasonic. UPA is based on competing powerline technology from DS2 of Spain that is widely used in Europe and HomePNA promotes a spec for home nets over phone and coax lines.

"By working together, we'll make the purchase and installation process much easier, enable new services to be delivered around the home, and fuel market growth," said Matthew Theall, president of the Home Grid Forum, speaking in a prepared statement.

The Home Grid Forum promotes the use of the standard and is developing compliance and interoperability test programs for it.

"Our members look forward to working with Home Grid to ensure the technology under development will co-exist with powerline technologies in the market and the forthcoming IEEE P1901 powerline standard that includes technology," said Akio Kurobe, president of CEPCA.

Many of the members of the powerline and phone line groups have also been active contributors to the effort. In early December, the group finished work on its PHY specification, opening the door for designers to start building ASICs. It is expected to complete work on its media access controller as early as September.

Besides home networking, powerline technologies are also geared for use by energy utilities for applications such as smart metering.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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