Blog Post

Coming Soon: Ultrafast Home Networks For Everyone

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

A fast new home networking standard was ratified on Friday by the ITU. With the unsexy name and some quibbles about what the consumer friendly marketing name will be (HomeGrid backed by Intel (s intc) and Texas Instruments (s txn) seems likely), writing a headline is hard. But think of this as the five things you need to know about

  1. The new standard allows chip makers to build just one chip for the world. It will allow consumers to move digital content around the home using power lines, which is big in Europe; coax, which is big in North America; and phone lines, which are big in Latin America. With a worldwide market, chip makers will likely see the costs of  their silicon drop and thus lead the way to lower-cost consumer devices with compatibility.
  2. The new standard is fast — able to deliver 20 times the throughput of current wireless technologies and three times the performance of wired-home networks. Some sources have thrown out delivery speeds of 700 Mbps although they admit in the real world that would decrease considerably.
  3. The standard isn’t backwards compatible with those already in existence today such as MoCA for coax, HomePlug for power lines and HomePNA for phone lines. That means the carriers and cable providers will either have to delay their home networking set-top box upgrades or buy backwards compatible chips — eliminating some of the cost savings for a time. Networks already deployed will have to be upgraded later. And consumers will need to check for backwards compatibility with their existing products.
  4. True products won’t appear in devices until 2010 at the earliest and likely 2011.
  5. If the standard takes off, it will make life difficult for specialty chip makers such as Intellon (itln), which makes HomePlug chips, or Entropic (s entr), which makes MoCA chips.

9 Responses to “Coming Soon: Ultrafast Home Networks For Everyone”

  1. Let’s read the fine print. Not all service providers are represented by ITU. Where are the cable and satellite providers?

    Is 800 Mpbi/s sec “in practice?” a PHY rate or a MAC rate? This is the difference between what is promised and what is actually received?

    What about backward compatibility with other standards already in use and deployment? Are people supposed to throw out the equipment they already have?

    Are there any plans for field tests?

    This is an attempt to unify very different mediums. Does this mean performance will be the same across all mediums?

    it could be 2010 and much later by time silicon and products are available, Do you honestly think the standards groups are going to sit idly by? By time is available, it could end up being the slowest kid on the block.

  2. Let me address both comments: is supported by service providers such as AT&T, British Telecom and many others. They love the idea of a faster standard that has multiple chip suppliers. In addition, will lower installation times (and therefore costs). Service providers crave that feature.

    Regarding Cat-5 gigabit networks, will not be faster than that. However, is an “existing wire” solution – products that use existing coax, phone or powerlines in the home. The average customer doesn’t have Cat-5 throughout the house (to every TV) and delivering IP over existing wires is about 50% less expensive for service providers.

    In practice, supports throughputs up to around 800 Mbit/s over coax. The best performance today is HomePNA at around 200 Mbit/s of continuous throughput. This will allow for substantial increases in new home applications such as whole home DVR, next generation TV technologies like Ultra HD, etc. and other applications being contemplated.

    Michael Weissman
    Vice President, North American Marketing
    CopperGate Communications

    full disclosure: We are makers of HomePNA and also will deliver solutions.

  3. Jay Goldberg

    I understand the desire to find a standard here, and I agree that with time the one-specialty chip makers will struggle, but I wonder about this new standard. It sounds good. It sounds too good. Faster. Covering more physical transmission layers. One chip for all devices. And all of this available by 2010 or 2011. I wonder what the operators will have to say about this