HomeRF goes big on cordless phones
The HomeRF Working Group today announced a revised messaging standard, reflecting a "new emphasis on voice".
The shift reflected in the upcoming HomeRF 2.1 specification, directs attention to cordless phones, a market which is 10 times bigger than WLAN, according to the working group. This emphasis is a differentiator from wireless data networks designed for enterprise offices, the HomeRF group says.
HomeRF 2.1 is not an either/or but is designed to complement other wireless standards, including 802.11.
And just because, HomeRF is concentrating on voice, this doesn't mean it can't do the application, entertainment, data apps convergence thing too, the working group says
For high-bandwidth entertainment apps, HomeRF is preaching 5 GHz, and it endorses 802.11a as the standard for this. The group will write application briefs, explaining how to bridge between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz technologies, and how to handle QoS (Quality of Service) issues. The briefs are equally applicable to HiperLAN-2, 802.11h, and proprietary 802.11a extensions, the group says.
But if 802.11a is the wireless standard for high-bandwidth apps, why not go the whole hog and use it for all data apps? Cost, range, reliability and power consumption are the reasons why not.
Also HomeRF's incorporation of DECT technology for cordless phones is cheap and reliable. HomeRF 2.1 will increase the number of active handsets with same or better voice quality - v2.0 supports up to eight phone lines, eight registered handsets and four active handsets. 2.1 will also increase the 30m range through the use of wireless repeaters and it supports voice roaming. The use of frequency hopping will ensure effective security and interference immunity, the working group says. Adaptive frequency hopping on
the 2.4 GHz ISM band is currently illegal in the US, but the group notes proposals from the FCC to change this.
HomeRF 2.1 will also double data capacity, with increased speeds of up to 20Mbps. The group is "evaluating the need for such enhancements at 2.4 GHz in light of its planned support of 5 GHz". ®