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HomePlug retakes lead in powerline Ethernet standards race

Once more unto the vote, dear friends

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The HomePlug Alliance (HPA) has once again beaten rival powerline Ethernet organisation the Universal Powerline Association (UPA) to become the lead candidate for the IEEE's powerline networking standard. But it won't know it's won for sure until July.

Last month, the IEEE P1901 working group voted 41:13 in favour of the HPA's proposal for the IEEE powerline networking standard. The defeated proposal came from the UPA.

That leaves only the HPA proposal going forward, but it must first be confirmed at a ballot of P1901 working group members when they meet in Miami in July.

It might not succeed. The HPA proposal won more support than UPA's alternative specification at a P1901 meeting held in November 2007. However, it failed to win 75 per cent more of the vote at the subsequent confirmation ballot, which was held on 11 December 2007.

That left the two proposals once more neck and neck, a situation they could return to if the HPA proposal again fails to command a three-quarters majority.

The standard in question governs the interoperability and co-existence of different powerline networking devices. The P1901 group is also working on standards for delivering broadband to homes over mains cabling, and for powerline networking within the home.

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