Feeds

Powerline broadband on the up-and-up

Convergence is key

Security for virtualized datacentres

Broadband over powerline (BPL) is hardly a new approach to bringing high speed access to inaccessible parts, whether these are villages or corners of the home or office. But it has suffered from low vendor interest and various technical hitches, until now, when it is finally taking its place alongside wireless technologies as a way to expand broadband access cost effectively.

Its raised profile has been encouraged by the interest of government agencies, particularly in the US, and some key suppliers, notably Motorola, which is putting powerline at the heart of its strategy for using multiple converged connections to deliver broadband and mobile services. Importantly, like some smaller wireless vendors, it aims to integrate BPL and wireless tightly, making them complementary rather than competitive.

Such a converged approach would make it logical to harmonize standards too, and one of the main powerline industry bodies, the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, announced at this week’s Intel Developers Forum that it was aiming to become part of the IEEE standardization efforts that control the 802.11, 802.16 and 802.15 wireless specifications.

HomePlug targets IEEE

The Alliance will create an Implementers' Forum Board of Directors, which will include Intel, Cisco/Linksys and Motorola among its sponsor members, heavyweight support that will boost its ambition to have its standards adopted by the IEEE, as well as the European body ETSI. Other members of the new board include cableco Comcast, ISP Earthlink, retailer RadioShack, plus Japan’s Sharp and Sony. HomePlug has three key platforms - 1.0 + AV for broadband in-home networking; BPL for broadband access over powerlines; and home automation, for low bandwidth industrial or home control applications.

The new move is a response to the IEEE’s formation last month of a working group, P1901, focused on BPL, which has raised fears of a split between two standards that could fragment vendor efforts and deter potential powerline adopters. Philip Poulidis, senior director for BPL standards at one of the most prominent chip players in the niche, Intellon, said in an interview: “We welcome the IEEE effort, but it’s no secret IEEE standards take a long time. We hope that we can bring a fully functional PHY and MAC chip to the table and that IEEE will take that into consideration.” The PHY (physical layer) and MAC (media access control) specifications for HomePlug for AV were approved by the HomePlug Powerline Alliance earlier this year.

HomePlug is undoubtedly the most advanced body in developing such technologies and so it would be logical for the IEEE to adopt the technology for its own efforts in order to speed time to ratification of a standard – the slowness of this process increasingly threatens to sideline the IEEE and put the industry entirely into the hands of vendors with the power to set de facto standards, as we have seen in the stalemated 802.15.3a UltraWide- Band-based effort for fast home networking, which is likely to be superseded by a de facto version supported by the WiMedia Alliance.

The support for HomePlug from Sony, Intel, Cisco and Motorola - all so influential both in the home networking market and in the wireless standards targeting the same sector, including WiMedia - will enhance HomePlug’s chances enormously. Indeed, approval by the IEEE could be the last element required to ensure the Alliance’s success and make BPL as prominent on the communications agenda as wireless.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
Shades of Mannesmann: Vodafone should buy T-Mobile US
Biting the bullet would let Blighty-based biz flip the bird at AT&T
Net neutrality fans' joy as '2.3 million email' flood hits US Congress
FCC invites opinions in CSV format, after Slowdown day 'success'
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.