7 May 2001
SAN RAMON, Calif., May 7, 2001 - The HomePlug® Powerline Alliance, an industry consortium established to provide a forum for the development of an open specification of home powerline networking products and services, today announced that it has completed a large-scale field trial designed to validate that its powerline home networking technology has achieved market readiness.
Prototype equipment built to the specification has completed extensive field tests, which will ensure that it meets the prerequisites listed in the Market Requirements Document (MRD), a document that defines market requirements and provides guidance for the specification and field testing of the HomePlug technology.
“At the early stages of HomePlug's inception, it was clear that we needed to create a principle set of requirements for which this technology would be formed against,” said Alberto Mantovani, HomePlug president and division director, small business and consumer networking within Conexant Systems, Inc.'s, Personal Computing Division. “The HomePlug MRD sets our industry standard for powerline home networking technology, and the current results from our extensive field trials indicate that we are reaching our goal of creating a networking technology that provides reliable, whole-home coverage through one single connection.”
Listed in the MRD are critical category requirements that HomePlug's technology must meet in order to be released to market, including regulatory, interoperability, performance, non-interference, reliability, scalability, and diagnostic and maintenance capability. The MRD specifies that HomePlug's technology should support file transfers at 10BaseT-like rates with either node-to-node file transfer or scenarios with multiple nodes performing simultaneous file transfers. The MRD further requires that the technology should maintain adequate QoS while supporting multiple, simultaneous VoIP calls while other nodes are transferring files and during multiple media streams. The document also specifies benchmark performance requirements for each of these applications, which must be achieved in at least 98% of all wiring paths.
The MRD further specifies that the technology should interoperate with other networking technologies and co-exist with existing powerline networking technologies such as X-10, CEBus and LonWorks. It must contain strong privacy features, including encryption and authentication, and it should support multiple logical networks on a single physical medium and be applicable to markets in North America, Europe and Asia. HomePlug's powerline home networking specification is planned to be released to HomePlug member companies by June 2001, providing the technology roadmap for HomePlug compliant products and services.
Under the direction of HomePlug's Technical Working Group, the Alliance has completed comprehensive North American field testing in more than 500 homes, and nearly 10,000 wiring paths throughout the U.S. and Canada. The HomePlug field trials were designed to measure performance against all MRD benchmarks, including node-to-node file transfer, multi-node file transfer, VoIP and streaming media. These tests have resulted in more than 25,000 files of data that the Technical Working Group is currently analyzing and reducing to a final report. Results analyzed to date show performance consistent with, and in many cases exceeding, the prerequisites set in the MRD. Planning is underway to begin similar field tests in Europe, Japan and Korea. HomePlug member companies participating in the field trials include Broadcom, Cisco, Cogency, ConEdison, Conexant, Enikia, Intel, Intellon, Motorola, Panasonic, RadioShack, Sharp, SONICblue, Telewise and Valence.
“Due to the extensiveness of the HomePlug field trials, we have a huge amount of data to analyze and reduce,” said Mantovani. “We designed the tests to be extremely rigorous so the results would give us complete confidence that products using HomePlug powerline technology will provide a highly efficient and effective way for consumers to network their homes.”