Wi-Fi strikes alliance with mains networking tech
There's parts of the spectrum we're not polluting yet
The Wi-Fi Alliance has inked an agreement with the HomePlug Powerline Alliance to create interoperable kit, capable of annoying radio hams as never before.
Power line telecommunications (PLT) kit sends networking signals around the home over mains wiring, and often competes with Wi-Fi, which uses radio to achieve the same thing. But now the biggest certification bodies in both fields are joining forces to certify interoperable kit that will be able to pop up a hotspot in any room once it's plugged in.
Such a device isn't on the cards just yet - right now the agreement is just a promise to "facilitate interoperability between Wi-Fi equipment and devices connected to powerline home network", though there is a nod to the future with the plan for a "joint technical review of Wi-Fi Alliance and HomePlug specifications and standards that facilitate interoperability of smart grid application".
Wi-Fi kit kicks out networking signals in the unlicensed 2.4GHz band, but that frequency is getting overloaded and has real trouble getting through walls - particularly in non-timber-framed houses where the internal walls are expected to take some of the strain. PTL uses much lower frequencies, and doesn't need a licence as the transmissions are sent down mains wires rather than through the air.
But mains wiring isn't shielded, so the signals leak out. When the frequency is really low it only upsets radio hams, but the frequency is increasing as the manufacturers try to squeeze more data down the line. Increasing the frequency puts leaking PTL into the realm of aircraft radio, not to mention Radio 4.
The most obvious outcome of this agreement will be PLT kit that you just plug in to create a Wi-Fi hotspot in every room - which is fine as long as you don't mind upsetting the Civil Aviation Authority, the BBC and a lot of bearded hams. ®
Haha, let's all have a laugh at the radio hams. When the twin towers came down on 9/11, most of NY's communications were knocked out and it was radio hams who put kit into their trucks, drove downtown and set up emergency comms. When the tsunami hit the Indian Ocean, the only communications out of the Andaman and Nicobar islands were provided by radio hams.
Every day, the technical training and background of radio hams contributes to this country's expertise is electronics and communications.
If PLT pollution is allowed to take over the radio spectrum then you won't have any more radio hams. When a big disaster strikes, the first things to stop working will be your precious cellphones and the Internet. With no radio hams left, we won't be there to set up emergency communications links and use our equipment to pass life-saving messages.
Let's not bother maintaining the radio spectrum, a natural resource, let's pollute it with PLT signal more than a thousand times above the legal limit, all so we can avoid putting a bit of CAT5 around the house or installing WiFi! Disgusting and short-sighted.
Its all in the testing...
These devices get away with pumping out so much RF because they are tested on their own, not with some crusty old house wiring attached acting like a massive antenna.
As soon as a plane carrying a high up MP gets delayed by these devices, they will get banned before you can blink.
Why not use Telco wiring for a LAN?
Telco wiring is usually good enough for 100Mhz signalling. There are thousands of LAN's in North America using abandoned 25-pair cabling for carrying the Ethernet signals around.
You will need 4 conductors. These links may help: < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registered_jack >, < http://www.nadtec.to/doc/wiring/telephone_and_lan_wiring.htm >.