Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Home Networks Heating Up

Today, the HomePlug Alliance announced that a joint proposal from the Alliance and Panasonic is the sole MAC/PHY proposal remaining in the IEEE P1901 work group process for creating an international standard for in-home and access powerline communication technologies. This is significant, because Panasonic was pursuing its own proprietary powerline solution (HD-PLC) after its submission to HomePlug for the HomePlug AV specification was not selected. For awhile, we had three competing solutions - HomePlug, Panasonic, and the solutions from Spanish chip developer Design of Systems of Silicon S.A. (DS2).

Although DS2's underlying technology was not selected by the IEEE P1901 work group, the company isn't sitting still. It indicates that it will have a 400 Mbps solution out soon. And, DS2 has an impressive list of European service providers that it says are taking a look at its solution. Europe may be where this market is won or lost. Given the strong emphasis on solutions such as bridges for IPTV and multi-service residential gateways, Europe is likely to be the leading market for powerline solutions. We're waiting to see which service providers and CPE vendors are willing to go public with their support for either the HomePlug or the DS2 solution. One suspects that many are waiting for a standards resolution in the IEEE before making a public affirmation of either technology.

In the meantime, both Entropic/MoCA and CopperGate/HomePNA were quite visible at last week's TelcoTV conference. CopperGate has announced 2 million HomePNA 3.1 chipsets shipped, and indications are that it is receiving favorable attention from the smaller telco community. As in the case of the powerline solutions, we're evaluating based on real deployments. So far, Verizon with MoCA is the only public deployment of which we're aware to date.

~Kurt Scherf, Vice President, Principal Analyst, Parks Associates

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