HomePlug Powerline Products
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HomePlug Powerline Products : Broadband Powerline Communication
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"The Alliance's mission is to enable and promote rapid availability, adoption and implementation of cost effective, interoperable and standards-based home powerline networks and products." HomePlug.org
So just what is Broadband Powerline Networking?
Everyone's got questions about networking through your power outlets. Here's where you can find the answers!
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The Organization: The HomePlug Powerline Alliance
The Home Networking and Powerline Communications Market
Q: What products are available for consumers to purchase?
A: Member companies of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance are always making new product announcements and are preparing for the delivery of great home networking enabled devices. The first publicly available HomePlug products were demonstrated in early 2002 at the CES and CeBIT exhibitions. At these shows, HomePlug member companies unveiled HomePlug-compliant home networking products such as bridging and routing devices, network interface cards, and combination 802.11b access point/powerline. Click here for a list of HomePlug-certified products.Q: Where can I buy HomePlug-certified products?
A: Local retailers and online retailers carry HomePlug-certified products.Q: How do I know that HomePlug products will work together?
A: The HomePlug Alliance has developed a strict certification program to ensure that products from different member companies work together. Any products passes this program is issued the HomePlug Certification Mark.
The certification process tests each product to make sure it works effectively in homes of varying ages, sizes, levels, and with differing types of electrical service. "Plug fests" are held to further ensure that individual products meet the rigorous standards for interoperability.
For a list of HomePlug-certified products, click here.
HomePlug 1.0Q: What is HomePlug 1.0?
A: HomePlug 1.0 is the specification for a technology that connects devices to each other through the power lines in a home. HomePlug-certified products connect PCs and other devices that use Ethernet, USB and 802.11 "Wi-Fi" technologies to the power line via a HomePlug "bridge" or "adapter" - some products even have HomePlug technology built-in. These products provide a simple solution for consumers interested in networking their home without adding any new wires.Q: What type of testing has the HomePlug Alliance conducted on the chosen technology?
A:The HomePlug Alliance validated its HomePlug 1.0 powerline networking technology through an extensive field trial of 500 homes throughout North America. The success of this field trial led to the completion of the HomePlug 1.0 Specification.Q: Is there a difference in the performance of the technology when applied to newer homes versus older homes?
A:After conducting field tests in over 500 homes, HomePlug 1.0's performance has proven consistent regardless of a home's age or size. The field tests also confirmed nearly 100 percent coverage in every home tested.Q: What products are available for consumers to purchase?
A: HomePlug-certified products such as bridging and routing devices, and combination 802.11b access point/HomePlug devices, are available from companies such as Asoka USA Corporation, Belkin Corporation, Corinex Global Corporation, deneg easyhome GmbH, devolo AG, GigaFast Ethernet, IOGEAR, Linksys Group Inc., Micro-Star International Co., Ltd., NETGEAR, Inc., Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., Ltd., Siemens, ST&T, and Telkonet Communications. A full list of HomePlug-certified products can be found on the HomePlug Alliance's website at www.homeplug.org/products.Q: What companies are developing silicon to support the HomePlug 1.0 specification?
A:The following companies have announced chip-level development:
A:The HomePlug Alliance evaluated various powerline-networking technologies through an industry-wide, open evaluation process that incorporated theoretical analysis, lab testing and field trials. The criteria included 10 Mbps data rate, whole-house coverage, robustness and ease of implementation.
Q: What is HomePlug AV?
A:HomePlug AV is the next generation of powerline technology. Key members of the HomePlug Alliance, which includes consumer electronics companies and service providers, are driving the HomePlug AV standard. HomePlug AV is built from the ground up to support entertainment applications, such as HDTV and Home Theater. HomePlug AV will provide a convenient and cost effective method of distributing HDTV in the home without new wires.
The objectives for the HomePlug AV specification include providing the best solution for high quality video distribution, with secure connectivity with built-in Quality-of-Service (QoS), to ensure a great customer experience at a price that is competitive with other home networking alternatives. HomePlug AV will coexist with HomePlug 1.0.Q: What companies will provide the technology for the HomePlug AV specification?
A:The advanced preliminary specification for HomePlug AV technology is the result of a combined effort of several leading proponents of powerline technologies. After laboratory tests and field trials bore out the best-in-class methods from submitted technologies, the Alliance combined contributions from several proponents into a single baseline technology. By melding the best methods, the Alliance established a baseline superior to any of the individual proposals.Q: What is the status of HomePlug AV?
A:All HomePlug specifications go through a series of stages:
A:The HomePlug Alliance expects the final specification to be released during the first quarter of 2005. The timing of chips and products will depend on each chip manufacturer's schedule; generally this can take from 3 to 6 months from the date of specification release.Q: What will be HomePlug AV's speed, features and capabilities?
A:HomePlug AV was designed to support the high-bandwidth and low-latency demands of several simultaneous streams of HDTV and VoIP, made concurrently available in over 90% of power outlets in a home. The target applications are in-home distribution of audio-video in home-theater and data-networking environments. For this reason, in the given frequency range, HomePlug AV has pushed Shannon's Law to its limit and will provide a 200Mbps class service at the PHY layer. After overhead considerations, the MAC layer will support over 100Mbps.Q: What QoS support does HomePlug AV provide for emerging AV and IP applications?
A: HomePlug AV will provide advanced QoS functions and features geared towards meeting the latency and jitter requirements of all emerging AV and IP applications.Q: Does HomePlug AV address the "hidden-node" issue?
A: Yes, the "hidden node" issue is a critical one seen by many LAN technologies, including WiFi. HomePlug AV will address this by using a sophisticated network management capability, including a proxy networking function.Q: Does HomePlug AV address security differently than HomePlug 1.0?
A: HomePlug 1.0 uses several provisions for security including 56-bit DES, with both network and device keys. HomePlug AV will enhance these features by using 128-bit AES.Q: Is HomePlug AV compatible with HomePlug 1.0?
A: All HomePlug AV and HomePlug 1.0 devices will be able to operate together on the same power line. The HomePlug AV specification will also support specific product implementations that allow HomePlug 1.0 certified products to interoperate with HomePlug AV products.Q: Which frequency range is HomePlug AV using? Does HomePlug have any plans to use higher frequencies (e.g. above 30 MHz) and if not, why not?
A: HomePlug AV will use frequencies in the range of 2 to 28 MHz. The Alliance does not currently have any plans to use frequencies above 30 MHz, but there is a possibility for expanding this range to higher frequencies depending on governmental regulations in the future.Q: What underlying technologies will HomePlug AV employ?
A: HomePlug AV will be using an OFDM PHY with advanced FEC, channel estimation and adaptation. The MAC will incorporate both scheduled access (TDMA) with QoS guarantees and contention access (CSMA), with reliable delivery through fast ARQ. HomePlug AV will support TDMA and FDMA for purposes of Broadband Over Powerline (BPL) co-existence. The HomePlug AV protocol stack will support a variety of upper layer protocols native to HomePlug AV, 802.3, IP and UPNP.Q: Is HomePlug AV a global technology?
A: Yes. Like HomePlug 1.0, which is already in use in many countries around the world, HomePlug AV is intended to work on powerlines regardless of location, subject to local government regulations.Q: Will HomePlug AV address BPL co-existence?
A: Yes. The members of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance recognize that simultaneous uses of the same powerline for both in-home and to-the-home BPL create the need for a co-existence mechanism that will optimize the user experience for both In-home and BPL users. The HomePlug AV and HomePlug BPL Working Groups are working together to address AV/BPL co-existence. The BPL co-existence mechanism will be an important part of the final HomePlug AV spec.Q: How will HomePlug AV support both In-home and BPL uses on the same wire?
A: HomePlug AV will support TDMA and FDMA for the purposes of BPL co-existence. HomePlug AV will have a mechanism to detect the existence of "neighbor networks," which include BPL users. This mechanism is required so that in-home-only HomePlug AV users in homes and apartments that are sharing the same physical wire (off of a common transformer) do not interfere with each other - independent of whether BPL exists on the line or not. In other words, the need for bandwidth sharing exists inherently within HomePlug AV itself, and the bandwidth management solutions needed for In-home HomePlug AV applications can easily be extended to BPL.
With that said, the HomePlug Alliance recognizes that the market requirements of BPL may differ from those of HomePlug AV. Therefore, policies will need to be established on how best to share available resources between HomePlug AV and BPL. To a large degree, specific deployment scenarios, service architectures and possibly government regulations will drive this policy determination. The goal of HomePlug AV is to create a technology specification that can support those policy determinations, whatever they may be.Q: Are there any IP licensing limitations on using HomePlug AV for powerline applications beyond In-home uses, as there were on HomePlug v1.0?
A: The scope of the required necessary claims license for HomePlug AV will not be limited to In-home applications, but the product must be compliant with HomePlug AV Specification released by the HomePlug Alliance.
Q: What is this new effort called HomePlug BPL?
A: Broadband Power Line (BPL) refers to a to-the-home technology. Recently, the HomePlug Alliance announced the formation of the HomePlug Access BPL Working Group, whose first charter is to develop the Market Requirements Document (MRD) for a HomePlug BPL specification. Shortly after that announcement, the Alliance made an open invitation to utilities, ISPs, network operators and other interested parties from around the world, to participate in the development of or provide input for consideration in the MRD. In addition to being the roadmap for developing a BPL specification, the MRD will provide input into the "resource sharing" policy between In-home and BPL uses of powerline technology.
For those companies that wish to actively participate in the development of the MRD, please follow this link (http://homeplug.org/join/) for details on membership in the HomePlug Powerline Alliance.Q: Hasn't the Alliance traditionally focused on in-home powerline technologies? Why is the HomePlug Alliance working on a specification for BPL?
A: The Alliance's initial specification focused on In-home use of power line communications. Through this effort and the HomePlug AV specification process, the Alliance brought together some of the industries' top technical engineers in the PLC space. With this diverse multi-company pool of technical talent, and the market-leading experience of all HomePlug Alliance members in enabling successful powerline products around the world, the HomePlug Alliance is a natural fit for near-term standardization efforts in the powerline communications space.
The Alliance has strong global experience in bringing powerline specifications and products to market in an organized, timely manner.Q: Is membership in the HomePlug Powerline Alliance open to utilities and ISPs?
A: Yes, in fact there are a number of utilities and ISPs both on the HomePlug Board and in the general membership of the Alliance. Utilities and ISPs are not only invited but also encouraged to join.Q: What about the IEEE and some of the European standards work (ETSI, PUA, OPERA and the PLC Forum)?
A: Alliance members are already working with all of these organizations. In the case of the PUA and PLC Forum, formal meetings with these organizations have already taken place.
Regarding IEEE, an effort to standardize on installation and safety issues in BPL has been launched. This effort is being led by the IEEE P1675 "A Standard for BPL Hardware". The HomePlug Alliance feels that this effort aligns well and is complementary to our HomePlug BPL specification effort. Additionally, the IEEE has launched a "BPL Study Group" to investigate BPL issues and publish a paper that will propose next steps, if any, with regard to IEEE involvement in BPL standardization. Although no date has been set for publishing this paper, it is expected to be completed in 2005.
With regard to ETSI, HomePlug AV recognizes the work that ETSI has done with regard to BPL co-existence and is taking this standard into consideration as it continues to determine the best co-existence mechanisms for worldwide deployments of power line technology.
With regard to the PUA, the HomePlug BPL Working Group has received the MRD that the PUA has written and plans to consider the information contained in this MRD as important input for the Alliance's own HomePlug BPL MRD.Q: What is the status of HomePlug BPL?
A: All HomePlug specifications go through a series of stages:
A: In general, it is expected that the scope of the BPL specification will cover MAC, PHY, relevant components of coupling and AFE, and element management, but will not cover items such as physical implementations of coupling devices or safety issues associated with installation procedures.
With regard to MV and LV usage of the specification, this will be largely determined by the outcome of the MRD. While the BPL element management portion of the specification will likely cover end-to-end portions of the BPL network (i.e., both MV and LV), the MAC and PHY portions may only address LV (or MV or both). Again, the MRD and those who participate in its development will drive these determinations.Q: Could the HomePlug AV specification be used as the standard for BPL usage on LV lines?
A: Some BPL providers are using HomePlug 1.0 for this purpose today. Once the HomePlug AV specification is complete, Utilities, ISPs and technology integrators could decide to use HomePlug AV as their BPL technology on the LV side of the transformer. However, HomePlug AV does not have any element management provisions nor has it taken into account special utility applications such as AMR and peak shaving. So even if the Alliance were to adopt some (or all) of the HomePlug AV specification for the MAC and PHY portions of the BPL specification, there would still be a need to address the service provisioning/maintenance and utility usage requirements.Q: When will the HomePlug BPL MRD be completed? When will the HomePlug BPL specification be completed?
A: The HomePlug BPL Working Group expects to have the BPL MRD completed by November 2004.
Historically, final HomePlug specifications have typically taken about two years to be published from the date of completing the MRD. However at this early stage, it is difficult to accurately estimate the publishing date of a BPL specification.Q: Why is the HomePlug Alliance getting utility companies involved in the specification process? How will utility companies benefit?
A: There are two reasons that the Alliance is working with utilities, ISPs, etc.: one is technology driven, and the other is business driven. On the technology side, the HomePlug Alliance recognizes that the wire used by In-home users is the same wire that is used by utilities and ISPs for BPL. Additionally, the spectrum that is being used by proprietary BPL solutions is also the same spectrum that HomePlug solutions use for In-home applications. Therefore, to prevent possible interference and create an optimum user experience for both In-home and BPL applications, the Alliance is taking the lead to develop a harmonious solution to the co-existence of the two applications of the power line.
On the business side, all stakeholders are interested in seeing our respective applications on the powerline succeed. The Alliance believes that a sound co-existence solution will create an unprecedented opportunity for In-home use and BPL use of power line to interoperate. Interoperability would fuel growth of both in-house and BPL applications help build business relationships, and create a better user experience for customers. A Plasma TV with built-in standardized powerline communication interface and Internet Browsing capabilities could be a great example of such cooperation.Q: Will information be shared among parties studying the subject?
A: The HomePlug BPL Working Group, through this document, open meetings and the general HomePlug website, is making an effort to answer some of the more common (and perhaps uncommon) questions that have arisen regarding current and future HomePlug BPL plans and specifications. Additionally, with HomePlug Participant level membership, low-level detail and hands-on involvement in the development of the BPL MRD is afforded to those companies who desire it.Q: What will be required for the participation of utility companies if they choose to participate in HomePlug BPL? How often will the Working Group meet? What is the cost of membership fees in the Alliance?
A: For utilities and other companies that want to get involved in helping to develop the HomePlug BPL Marketing Requirements Document, membership is open to all. With the BPL MRD expected to be complete by November 2004, the bulk of the MRD work will take place in the HomePlug BPL Working Group calls and meetings.
HomePlug BPL Working Groups calls are currently held once a week and require at least Participant-level membership in the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. Participant-level members ($15,000 annually) are provided the benefit of participating in working group activities and being able to contribute intellectual property to future HomePlug specifications, including the BPL specification. Participant members enjoy early access to the specification, and may also serve as chair of Working Group subcommittees. Adopter-level members ($5,000 annually) only have access to the final specification. Both classes of membership can attend Plugfests, annual member meetings and have access to certification programs and marks.Q: How will powerline communications solutions be scaled to higher speeds in the future?
A: The exact methods of scaling the HomePlug technology to higher speeds are proprietary; however, at a high level, the areas of focus will be modulation techniques, protocol enhancements and circuit design optimization.
The Organization: The HomePlug Powerline Alliance
Q: What is the HomePlug Powerline Alliance?
A: Thirteen industry-leading companies formed the HomePlug Powerline Alliance in March of 2000. Since most electronic devices already use power outlets to receive power, the goal of the Alliance was create a way that these same power outlets could be used to connect the devices to each other and to the Internet. The Alliance achieved this by evaluating technologies and creating a specification. The HomePlug 1.0 specification was released in June of 2001.Q: Why was the HomePlug Alliance formed?
A: Creating a network through the wires already used by electrical current is "common sense" to many people. Over the years, a great number of companies developed proprietary methods of achieving it, yet there was no industry standard. To develop a common standard, the Alliance created the HomePlug 1.0 specification. Today, HomePlug networking is the only globally recognized standard for high-speed powerline networking.
The Alliance works to get the message out through marketing programs and end-user education programs. This helps to accelerate the worldwide demand for HomePlug-certified products.Q: Which companies currently serve on the HomePlug Powerline Alliance Board?
A: The HomePlug Board of Directors is comprised of industry leaders who promote the strategic goals and the mission of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. The Board of Directors currently consists of representatives from Arkados, Cogency Semiconductor, Comcast, Conexant, DS2, EarthLink, Intellon, Panasonic, RadioShack and Sharp.Q: What other companies are members of the HomePlug Alliance?
A: Click here for a complete list of member companies.Q: What types of companies can join the Alliance?
A: Industry leaders in the services, content, retail, hardware, software, semiconductor design and technology sectors are invited to join the HomePlug Alliance to further establish power outlet connectivity and the realization of the connected home.Q: Who should join HomePlug - the ODM or the OEM?
A: In the design-to-sales lifecycle of home networking products, there are typically three types of companies that have a connection to HomePlug-certified products.
These three types of companies are:
Typically, the semiconductor company sells to the ODM, who in turn sells finished products to the OEM. The OEM markets the products to retail outlets where consumers can purchase them.
While there can be several companies involved in the development of a product, consumers may only be familiar with the brand name of the company that appears on the product's box. It is this company, the OEM, who is establishing a relationship with consumer, and offering support for the product on an ongoing basis.
In some cases, one company may play more than one role. For example, a semiconductor company may supply a "reference design" to ODMs. In doing so, the semiconductor company is playing a role traditionally played by the ODM. Additionally, some companies can play both the ODM and OEM role.
By definition, HomePlug certification applies to the final products that appear in retail outlets. To market a HomePlug-certified product, the OEM must be a HomePlug member and must apply for certification through the HomePlug Certification Process.
An ODM will want to become a HomePlug Participant to gain the insight into the HomePlug specification and participate fully in the certification process. After all, it is the ODM who wants to sell HomePlug-certified products to OEMs.
You may want to contrast HomePlug certification with the obligatory UL/FCC testing and certification that needs to be completed prior to a product being released on the market. An ODM would not design and manufacture a product for sale to an OEM if it were not certain the product would meet UL/FCC requirements. Similarly, an ODM needs to be certain that their products will pass the HomePlug certification tests conducted by the OEM.
By joining the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, both OEMs and ODMs have the early opportunity to become familiar with the specification, certification process, and logo licensing requirements. Click here for details on how to become a HomePlug Participant.Q: Are there other organizations or alliances focused on home networking?
A: There are other home networking alliances that support various technologies, including phone line and wireless technologies. All of these groups share a common vision of helping the consumer realize the benefits of the connected home.
Q: What market opportunity does the HomePlug Alliance address?
A: By creating a single industry standard and certification program, HomePlug technology addresses the problems that have prohibited broad market penetration of powerline networking. HomePlug-certified products leverage the ubiquity of power outlets and electrical wiring to enable home networks and products. The market is growing quickly and HomePlug 1.0 networking products are shipping throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Hundreds of thousands of products are already in use.Q: What are the benefits of using power outlets to connect devices found in the home?
A: HomePlug-certified products offer a convenient way to share broadband Internet services, and home networks are far easier to install than the dedicated network cable needed for purely Ethernet-based networks or for the optimum placement of wireless access points.
Power outlets are the most pervasive home wiring medium. Power outlet connectivity is available worldwide, affording the use of multiple outlets in every room at a lower cost per connection point. The power outlet connection also is a power source that leverages existing outlets to enable both power and connectivity. Additionally, the convenience of connecting any device through a power outlet will enable exciting new products covering entertainment, information access and telephony services.Q: What are the challenges of using power outlets to connect devices in the home?
A: Past challenges of using power outlets to connect devices in the home included a lack of industry specifications and multiple sources of electric noise. HomePlug technology has overcome these challenges by creating a specification and advanced, optimized algorithms in semiconductor technology.Q: Is the Alliance's powerline technology compatible with other home networking technologies (including phone line, wireless and structured wiring)?
A: HomePlug technology will not cause interference and, in fact, can work together with other home networking choices. Homes with Category 5 wiring will most likely have rooms or walls without available connectivity. Because of the ubiquity of power outlets, consumers are guaranteed to have a power outlet available for non-mobile devices. As for wireless technologies, HomePlug-certified Wi-Fi access points bridge wireless and powerline technologies, allowing you to connect all your battery-operated devices.Q: Are there other organizations/Alliances in the home networking space?
A: Yes, there are networking Alliances that support various technologies, including phone line and wireless technologies. All of these groups share a common vision of helping the consumer realize the benefits of the connected home.Q: How will the Alliance guarantee certification of products that embed HomePlug technology?
A: The Alliance has developed a strict compliance and certification program to ensure interoperability among products from different member companies. Products that have passed this program will be issued the HomePlug certification mark.Q: How is the HomePlug technology specification made available?
A: The specification is available to HomePlug-member companies. As an open Alliance, any company can become a member and have access to the specification.
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Who is HomePlug? What type of products are in the market?
The uses are unlimited. With the marriage of Powerline and Wireless, the final solution to networking has been achieved. Wireless limitations has now been overcome by the power grid. By using the electrical wires, the digital data signal can be passed throughout a building. Small modules plugged into the electricity outlet then beams the wireless signal throughout the location. What about the Utilities? The Utility companies are now seeing the potential of entering into the telecommunications market by supplying Internet via the power lines which are already in place. This proves to have enormous potential for many countries in the world who have no solid Internet system. Now these countries will be able to use their electricity grid to make the Internet accessable. Subscribe to the Powerline Advisor Newsletter So Just Who Is Plugtek.com? Domains Related to Power Line Communication:
What type of products are in the market?
The uses are unlimited. With the marriage of Powerline and Wireless, the final solution to networking has been achieved. Wireless limitations has now been overcome by the power grid. By using the electrical wires, the digital data signal can be passed throughout a building. Small modules plugged into the electricity outlet then beams the wireless signal throughout the location. What about the Utilities? The Utility companies are now seeing the potential of entering into the telecommunications market by supplying Internet via the power lines which are already in place. This proves to have enormous potential for many countries in the world who have no solid Internet system. Now these countries will be able to use their electricity grid to make the Internet accessable.
The uses are unlimited. With the marriage of Powerline and Wireless, the final solution to networking has been achieved. Wireless limitations has now been overcome by the power grid. By using the electrical wires, the digital data signal can be passed throughout a building. Small modules plugged into the electricity outlet then beams the wireless signal throughout the location.
What about the Utilities?
The Utility companies are now seeing the potential of entering into the telecommunications market by supplying Internet via the power lines which are already in place. This proves to have enormous potential for many countries in the world who have no solid Internet system. Now these countries will be able to use their electricity grid to make the Internet accessable.
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So Just Who Is Plugtek.com?Plugtek.com has become the largest information site for Broadband Powerline Communication Networking information. Started immediately after the formation of the HomePlug Alliance, Plugtek.com has worked to become the Hub for all news, articles, press releases, products and advancements in the BPL industry.
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