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Summary:

Wireless networking gets all the love in today’s mobile world, but inside the home, wires will still play a key role in delivering entertainment and other content. Your set-top box may sport an Ethernet port, but it still connects to the wall via coaxial cable. Wires […]

Wireless networking gets all the love in today’s mobile world, but inside the home, wires will still play a key role in delivering entertainment and other content. Your set-top box may sport an Ethernet port, but it still connects to the wall via coaxial cable. Wires are a secure, fast, cheap and existing network inside most homes. The main links around the home are power lines, coaxial cable, copper phone wires or some mix of the three, depending on where in the world a person lives. But the three standards vying for dominance today could gradually give ground to an emerging standard for delivering IP-based services called G.hn.

This fall, the electronics industry will finalize a standard called G.hn (already being pushed by the HomeGrid Forum) that will allow chip companies to provide the silicon that can deliver 700 Megabit-per-second speeds over power lines, coax or copper. It’s likely that once G.hn products come to market (chips should be out in 2010), the standard will dominate, because an operator could deploy one box for all types of homes. That’s simpler for the operator, and the economies of scale associated with making so many chips should bring the cost of the silicon down. In the meantime, market share battles are still being fought among chip providers trying to serve the market today. They’re pushing various existing wired home-networking solutions, including:

MultiMedia over Coax — MoCA delivers up to 175 Mbps using a home’s coaxial cable, and later this year will approve a standard that will reach 400 Mbps. Cable companies in the U.S. and Verizon’s FiOS infrastructure use MoCA-based gear.  Broadcom has the muscle to completely dominate this market, while Entropic Communications and Conexant also have MoCA chips. Verizon depends on Entropic for at least some of its MoCA chip needs.

The Home Plug Alliance and Universal Powerline Association – Promotes the use of power line infrastructure inside the home to deliver speeds of up to 189 Mbps. Intellon and DS2 are the two established vendors in this market, although last year Coppergate Communications purchased the power line division of Conexant in order to get into the power line industry, as well as prepare itself for the coming G.hn opportunity. These vendors, knowing that the G.hn standard could eventually dominate the home-networking market, are repurposing their power line expertise for the smart grid.

HomePNA — This standard can use copper or coaxial cables inside the home to deliver data rates of up to 320 Mbps. Most-U.S. based telecommunications companies have chosen this as their home-networking standard. Coppergate is a big player in this market, but Broadcom also offers chips. On Monday, Coppergate expects to announce that it has shipped 10 million chips, with 5 million of those shipping in the last year.

Growth in companies pushing these standards has been impressive in the last few years, as larger players purchased smaller ones to enter new markets. However, all eyes in the industry are now on the lookout for G.hn, which is being pushed by the HomeGrid Forum. Members of that alliance include Intel, Texas Instruments and Infineon, which means that smaller chip players such as Intellon or CopperGate will likely get purchased for their technology or even crushed.

Some chipmakers, like Intel, are putting their eggs in two baskets. With its participation in the HomeGrid Forum, Intel is making a bet on wired home networking controlled by a service provider, such as a cable company or telecom firm, through a set-top box or residential gateway. It’s also betting on wireless home networking delivered from the PC via its participation in Wi-Fi and the WiGig Alliance. This way, no matter which delivery model for home entertainment wins, certain chipmakers will find themselves on top.

This article also appeared on BusinessWeek.com.

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  1. jasonspalace Sunday, May 31, 2009

    so if the chips come out in 2010, maybe we will see widespread adoption of G.hn by 2013?

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  3. Chano Gomez Sunday, May 31, 2009

    The major Telcos deploying wired home networks today are pushing to get G.hn into the market ASAP. Chips will be out in early 2010 and there will be a very rapid migration from today’s proprietary technologies to standards-based G.hn products.

    More info:
    * British Telecom joins HomeGrid Forum Board of Directors:
    http://blog.ds2.es/ds2blog/2009/05/british-telecom-joins-homegrid-forum.html

    * AT&T: G.hn holds promise of self-installed triple play
    http://telephonyonline.com/residential_services/news/ghn-att-in-home-networking-0527/

  4. Woodstock homes Monday, June 1, 2009

    I think the adaptation will take longer than that. This is similiar to the whole “Fiber” reveloution. Most homes still are not even close to having fiber lines from the street yet.

    1. right but inside the home almost everyone (in the metro US) has electric and cable, i believe G.hn is a standard that utilizes these existing mediums if i understand what Stacey was writing correctly.

      cheers.

      1. Yes, G.hn uses existing home wiring (electric wiring, coaxial cable, phone wiring) so no new wires have to be installed. It’s a completely different adoption rate than fiber.

        Also, most Telcos that today are deploying home networks for their IPTV services are already using non-standard versions of this very same technology. They are simply waiting for standards-based products to be available to migrate rapidly from proprietary networks to G.hn-based networks.

  5. Many Telcos are also using a HomePlug solution today and with over 28MU already deployed using HomePlug it could hinder the adoption of G.hn before it even gets out.

  6. Gigle and Belkin Team Up for Gigabit Home Networking | Design Website Monday, June 22, 2009

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  7. Home Wireless Networks Aren’t Yet Ready for Video Thursday, July 23, 2009

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