Friday, October 12, 2007

Another surge on powerline

Just when I thought it was safe to go on to other topics (look for a Fibre Channel over Ethernet update Monday), there's more noise and data surging about powerline.

Chano Gomez, vice president for technology and strategic partnerships at DS2, blasted out an email today that didn't name names, but was clearly referring to the HomePlug/Panasonic proposal up for discussions at the IEEE 1901 Boston meeting Monday.

"It's the worst of all worlds - it's a Frankenstein standard," he wrote.

"Two or three separate PHY and MAC layers and two or three modems in a single chip…will certainly not supply interoperability. At best it will produce coexistence and is immensely short-term. It's a 'fudge' with all the cost implications that this entails," he added.

As I wrote here and at EE Times this week, the HomePlug/Panasonic proposal mandates a protocol that can detect either company's PHY and insure the nets do not interfere, but supporting both PHYs to share data is optional. DS2 and its supporters have also submitted a spec that aims primarily at co-existence. But now that a potential vote—that HomePlug could win—is approaching, the rival group seems to be singing a new tune, calling for one PHY that all sides agree to even if all have to rev their chips.

Oleg Logvinov of the HomePlug group suggests the DS2 proposal is in bad faith because the group declined to participate in the HomePlug AV standard. Of course, DS2 had a big market edge back then with customers shipping its 200 Mbit/s technology in April 2005, about two years ahead of HomePlug which had a coming out party for its 200 Mbit/s technology this week.

The proof is in the pudding, and that means all eyes will be watching for any flying Boston cream pies next week. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail.

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