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.
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.
Home networking is moving quickly into the consumer electronics space. At CES we saw lots of CE devices incorporating some form of networking: MoCA, G.hn, HomePNA, UPA, HomePlug, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth were all well represented. Broadcom showed new chips with integrated MoCA, G.hn continues to gain traction, and Wi-Fi keeps expanding.
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.
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.
HomePNA 3.0 advocates believe that this technology has some strong selling points, including speed, QoS and the ability to run on coax as well as phone lines. We had a brief update from one company making chips for it; they said products will be ready in 1H04.
SercoNet, a startup company with a novel approach to home networking, has launched its NetHome system providing standard Ethernet and Wi-Fi networking over existing home telephone wiring, while simultaneously carrying two analog phone lines. We talked with SercoNet's CEO about its strategy and direction.
Many cable operators are planning to enter the home networking business, so it was no surprise that home networking was "hot" at this year's show. We talked with vendors of chips, software and products for networking and gateways, with many integrated products shown or promised.
Broadcom showed us their progress with HomePNA running over coaxial cable in the home. While HomePNA was designed for phone lines, Broadcom says it works very well over coax, and Broadcom is providing this technology for a trial with Comcast and Ucentric systems.
Using HomePNA for video networking - A Visit with Broadcom (BBHR 9/6/2001)