Feeds

Standard setter seeks to unify power, wired, wireless LANs

One ring main to rule them ail

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?