Thursday, May 01, 2008

Waiting on Home Net 2010

Jockeying for position in the home network circa 2010 will be a major consumer sport with the HomeGrid Forum jumping into the fray. The players all will want to position themselves as the best solution for everyone from carriers to OEMs to consumers.

So far MoCA, HomePlug and HomePNA have been pretty quiet about their plans to leap toward the 400+ Mbits/s carriers are calling for in the next year or so. But everyone has heard that call including the HomeGrid folks who want to goose the G.hn effort to deliver that over coax as well as a reach goal of Gbit links when possible.

Writing an analysis of the latest news revealed a few interesting wrinkles. For example, the wired (MoCA, Powerline and HomePNA crew) represent just 19 percent of today's home nets which are dominated by WiFi and wired Ethernet. And most of HomePNA's installs are on coax, not phone lines.

To get one overarching standard will require a tussle between the big vendors who want a unified market and the small vendors with silicon skin in the game. Already Pulse~Link is suggesting G.hn should re-think its choice of OFDM (which it does not use), while HomePlug folk praise the group for the choice (because they made it, too).

Meanwhile the powerline folks at IEEE 1901 have yet to be able to muster support for a confirming vote on a HomePlug/Panasonic home net proposal. The vote was put off at meetings in October, December and March, but may come up in July. Not a good sign for consensus building in this community.

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