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Networking standard bridges coax, phone, AC wires

Fri, 12/12/2008 - 7:30am
Brian Santo

A new global home networking standard that works across coax cable, phone lines, and AC powerlines was approved by the ITU.

The new standard, designated G.hn, should help service providers create home networks that really do cover an entire home by cutting across all three major wire types running through most homes and MDUs.

MoCA, HPNA, Wi-Fi and other networking technologies all have limitations that make each of them, when used in isolation, insufficient for home networks in all installations.

The new standard (Recommendation ITU-T G.9960) specifies a single MAC/PHY technology for all three wires. It is designed to deliver up to 20 times the throughput of extant wireless technologies and more than three times the performance of existing wireline solutions.

“G.hn is going to be a life-changing technology,” said Malcolm Johnson, director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau in Geneva. “With G.hn, every wire in every home around the world can become a home entertainment network. This will enable seamless communication between computers, HDTVs, and telephones over existing wires. This exciting new technology will also foster tremendous innovations such as energy efficient smart appliances, home automation, and telemedicine devices.”

The standard has yet to be ratified (expected in September, 2009), but the approval of G.hn and the establishment of a “foundation specification” will allow semiconductor manufacturers to begin designing chips.

The standard is being supported by a number of companies, which have banded under the banner of The HomeGrid Forum. HomeGrid members include Intel, Panasonic, Aware, Pulse-Link, Texas Instruments, Infineon, DS2, Gigle, Ikanos, Westell, and others.

One of the first companies to announce support for the G.hn standard is Coppergate Communications, a company that has technology for networking on all three wires, but has been prospering selling chips for HPNA networking to AT&T for U-verse installations.

“CopperGate is 100 percent committed to G.hn,” emphasized Gabi Hilevitz, CEO of CopperGate Communications. “We’ve been involved in the G.hn working group from the beginning and we intend to leverage our nearly 10 years of experience in each wire type to become the leader in G.hn chipsets. Our exclusive know-how well positions CopperGate for G.hn’s inevitable success.”

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