Will wired home networking standards ever converge? Although G.hn seems to be moving forward, the HomePlug and MoCA supporters are drawing closer to one another to aid in their mutual survival. After interviewing the key players on all sides we are impressed with how widely divergent their views of the same developments seem to be. The wildcard is the continuing purchase of the smaller players by larger ones with broader interests.
Audio Video Bridging -- The Missing Link In Home Networking (BBHR 9/10/2009)
Until now, there has been no standardized mechanism to keep high-speed media and data streams from interfering with each other. Today's home isolates the streams into separate islands of digital technology. Audio video bridging (AVB) will provide the missing link required to interconnect the islands -- just when new applications need it.
G.hn Skeptics: "Nobody Needs Another Incompatible Standard" (BBHR 5/17/2009)
Although G.hn enthusiasts believe it will become the dominant home networking standard over existing wiring, skeptics say G.hn is just another standard that's incompatible with all the others. The HomePlug folks told us they're trying to change G.hn before it's too late. The MoCA folks think it's irrelevant.
The rationale for G.hn is simple: it's not possible to grow a worldwide market with five mutually-incompatible "existing wiring" technologies that often interfere with each other. For over two years there has been a standards effort in the ITU to create a common standard for home networking over existing wiring. Big players like Intel and TI are enthusiastic about G.hn but saw a need to form a companion organization, HomeGrid Forum, to accelerate the standard and make an early start on interoperability testing and certification.
Internet Content on the TV: Let Us Count the Ways (BBHR 4/8/2008)
A friend who knows you work with the Internet and computers says: "I'd like to connect my PC to my TV. How should I do it?" This simple question leads to a bewildering number of choices. No wonder few people have done it yet.
Diagnosing Broadband Problems--How Do Consumers Cope? (BBHR 4/8/2008)
During the past three months, Dave has spent a lot of time coping with one broadband problem after another, including local networking and broadband access issues. Now that he has finally resolved most of them, we've been thinking about how consumers can possibly cope as they run into similar issues.
There is a delicate balance between continuous innovation and customer confusion. In home networking, we have been in a period of relative stability, at least with respect to Wi-Fi and powerline networking. We're now entering the next big dislocation as Wi-Fi wends its way painfully toward 802.11n. And in powerline, the pressure to support HD video networking has created two paths with some implications which may be unclear to consumers.
The Value Of Home Networking--Recovering From A Disk Crash (BBHR 6/19/2006)
It's easy to overlook the value a home network brings to simple tasks like moving large files between PCs. It takes a major system failure to remind us how important those basics can be.
We have been following DigitalDeck for more than two years, and are delighted to be testing their system in our house. In a first impression, we report on a product that lets you share and play video stored on DVDs, PVRs and PCs on any TV, anywhere in the house. We also report on the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, a tiny but high-quality Internet terminal.
Home networking is approaching a new milestone. Many emerging consumer applications require networking technologies capable of moving video around the home. Depending on whom you talk with, you'll hear very different views of the roles of wireless, powerline, coax and telephone wiring. We believe that just as the last generation sorted itself out, with Wi-Fi that generation's winner, one of these new technologies will grab a larger chunk of the market than the others -- and some may be relegated to a footnote in home networking history. We overview some scenarios and the technologies vying for the winner's circle.
Another Networking Project -- It's Easy If You Update Firmware (BBHR 3/25/2004)
Some people never learn. Dave volunteered to install another network - for our daughter this time. It went almost without a hitch - but reinforced why it's important to update firmware.
The long heralded marriage of the PC and the TV is on the horizon; products enabling a cozy relationship are here today. Digital Media Adapters (DMAs) and their relatives are now undergoing a wave of experimentation and innovation to find the features, functions and pricing for devices that bridge the PC and home entertainment. Standards are on the horizon. While confusing today, winners will emerge; this category has a bright future.
When we agreed to act as broadband architects for the Home by Design showhouse, our goal was to demonstrate the ideas we write about and get more hands-on experience in the realities of implementing broadband infrastructure, home networking and a wide variety of interesting and useful applications on a host of products that can be bought today. We packed lots of experience into a short time and share some of what we did and learned from it in this abbreviated version of "our broadband odyssey".
Your Voice -- Reader Stories on Home Networking Realities (BBHR 11/16/2003)
Last month's article on Dave's experience installing a simple network in his brother's house triggered a lot of email from our readers confirming that we aren't the only supposed experts who have run into trouble with home networking.
Digital Dreams Meet Reality -- Creating a Simple Home Network (BBHR 10/20/2003)
Setting up a simple home network should not take twenty hours! When Dave volunteered to install one in his brother's new home, he had no idea how many seemingly easy things could go wrong. After reflecting on the experience, he concluded that there are some things we as an industry can do to improve this, as well as things the end user might be cautioned about.
This Canadian start-up has announced a "video networking processor" chip designed to transmit digital video over home LANs. We think XCode is worth watching because it promises to enable true broadcast-quality video over the next generation of home networking.
End-User Perspectives on Home Networking IEEE Communications Magazine, April, 2002 (BBHC Presentations)
In an invited article, we "discuss the evolving situation in the home, user needs for networking, and the growing set of problems faced by users. The article describes major home networking approaches and raises some of the questions to be considered in designing home networks for the future."
A year ago, we did not think any of the emerging home networking technologies was ready for prime time. For new construction, we recommended wiring with Category 5 twisted pair and RG-6 coax; for existing homes, we advised waiting for technologies to mature.
The current generation of technologies has matured to the point that we can now recommend them if the primary application is data; they should also work satisfactorily for many voice and audio applications and promise some support for video. If whole-home video is an important requirement, we would recommend waiting for another turn of the technology crank - or wiring with Cat5e/RG-6.
Our talk provided an overview of home networking and home gateways. We used pictures of the wiring in our home to illustrate the complexities which need to be overcome by the industry to make the broadband home a reality for the mass market.