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Standard setter seeks to unify power, wired, wireless LANs

One ring main to rule them ail

The IEEE has put in place a programme to devise a standard that will bridge wired and wireless network technologies in the home.

Dubbed P1905.1, the draft standard will "provide a common, protocol-agnostic interface" to not only 802.11 Wi-Fi and 802.3 Ethernet but also the less well-known MoCa (multimedia over co-ax) spec and the 1901 powerline standard.

P1905.1 is all about providing an front end to which applications can speak without having to worry about whether the data being sent out over the network is being transmitted wirelessly, over wires or both.

And all this will happen with end-to-end quality of service (QoS) provision, the IEEE said, the better to deliver a future in which we're all streaming lots of HD content from room to room.

Here's the geek part:

"Also specified are procedures, protocols and guidelines to provide a simplified user experience to add devices to the network, to set up encryption keys, to extend the network coverage, and to provide network management features to address issues related to neighbour discovery, topology discovery, path selection, QoS negotiation, and network control and management."

Do we need this? All of the technologies which P1905.1 will bridge work perfectly well together, as anyone with a wireless router that also networks up wired devices like a Nas boxe will tell you.

The IEEE's pitch is that P1905.1 will make such set-ups send data packets back and forth more efficiently and therefore more rapidly.

So is there an agenda here? It looks like there may be. Says the P1905.1 draft standard working group homepage: "The purpose of the standard is to facilitate the integration of 1901 with other home networking technologies."

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