ITU homes in on HomePNA 3.1 as networking standard
By John Walko
SOURCE: Embedded Systems Programming (San Francisco, CA)
LONDON -- The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has approved the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance's HomePNA 3.1 multimedia networking specification as a standard, making this at the moment the only internationally standardized home networking technology.
The upgraded specification supports data rates up to a combined 320 Mbits/second over two simultaneous channels, up from 128 Mbits/s over a single channel from the alliance's previous specification.
HomePNA version 3.1 adds a new mode supporting 10 bits per symbol, up from 8 bits per symbol for the existing spec. It also includes support for as many as four spectrum bands.
The new spectrum bands open the door to two capabilities. HomePNA home net signals can use the additional bands to avoid clashing with VDSL signals from a service provider's wide area net. In addition, users can now send two streams of HomePNA traffic over a single home net line, a capability that opens the door to the 320 Mbits/s maximum data rate.
The ITU's move to give HomePNA 3.1 Recommendation G9954 (01/2007) status is a huge boost to the technology, which is in competition with other approaches such as the coax-based specification being pushed by the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) and the power line-based HomePlug 2.0 and various flavors of ultrawideband.
"This announcement is an excellent example of the spirit of cooperation that now pervades in the standards world," said Malcolm Johnson, director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU. said ina statement Tuesday (Feb. 27). "International standards in home networking will facilitate access to global markets and allow for economies of scale in production and distribution."
Rich Nesin, HomePNA president and vice president of marketing for Coppergate Communications, welcomed the ITU's move. "The ITU Recommendation demonstrates to the home networking market that HomePNA technology enables a worldwide market for advanced home networking applications like triple-play IPTV, VoIP and other next-generation services."
CopperGate Communications was the first company to ship HomePNA products, and is sampling a chip supporting the higher data rate 3.1 specification.