Feeds

Standard setter seeks to unify power, wired, wireless LANs

One ring main to rule them ail

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The battle for the next generation

The next generation of powerline networking technology is currently the battleground of two competing standards: the IEEE's 1901 and the International Telecom Union's (ITU) G.hn.

The moans of radio hams notwithstanding, powerline networking is seen by some as a key technology for the connected home. The wiring is there, and there's none of the bother you get with wireless: crowded airwaves and low-signal spots.

Powerline is also a foundation technology for "smart grids": intelligent power supply networks able to monitor and control energy usage in the home, the better to reduce energy consumption.

Both G.hn and 1901 have their supporters, but they're all keen to avoid a format war - a universal standard would allow the technology to gain broad support from IT and CE companies.

Ironically, 1901 as originally conceived included support for G.hn, an arguably better solution because it uses a single physical interface (PHY) and a single logical layer (MAC) for all three transport systems - power lines, phone lines and coaxial cables - it and 1901 operate over, whereas 1901 has separate MACs and PHYs for all the wired technologies is incorporates.

That, however, ensures backward compatibility, not least with HomePlug AV, the most popular powerline technology so far.

1901 no longer incorporates G.hn, which is backed by the HomeGrid Forum, an organisation that numbers Intel, Panasonic, Sigma Designs and Texas Instruments among its members. The chief cheerleader for 1901 is the HomePlug Alliance, but it's becoming a battle of the chip makers.

Atheros acquired Intellon, the pre-eminent HomePlug chip maker, in September 2009. In July this year, Marvell bought up the remains of Spanish semiconductor company DS2, which was the key designer of G.hn silicon. More recently, Broadcom bought Gigle, a firm that makes non-standard Gigabit powerline chippery, as used by the likes of Belkin in its Gigabit powerline products.

All three purchasers see value in integrating powerline technology into their wireless products, and all three tout such benefits as improved network set-up and faster media streaming - which are exactly what the IEEE claims P1905.1 will enable. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.