HomePlug speeds 200 Mbps through your power lines

  • Los Angeles (CA) - Most computer users have dealt with computer cables strewn around the house, but the HomePlug PowerLine Alliance hopes to get rid of some of the mess by piggybacking networking signals on top of regular power lines.  At the WinHEC conference in Los Angeles, HomePlug reps showed us how homeowners can easily stream multiple high definition video signals through regular wall sockets.

    Typically home computers are networked with Ethernet cables and routers.  While this inexpensive technology has been around for decades, HomePlug says their stuff is just as fast and is simple to set up.  All you need is a wall power adapter that bridges your Ethernet cable to the power circuits in your home.  Every networked device needs an adapter, but HomePlug did show off a concept PC that overlaid the network signals on the power cable.  No external adapter or Ethernet cable is required in this case.  Reps said these computers could be available by Christmas.

    At the HomePlug booth, video signals from a computer were being streamed to a high definition television set through HomePlug AV adapters which have a maximum bandwidth of 200 Mbps.  The older version of HomePlug 1.0 tops out at 85 Mbps.  Reps told us that HomePlug AV has a “real bandwidth” of around 40 to 60 Mbps worth of data and can transmit signals over old wiring and noisy environments.  “It handles electrical noise from vacuum cleaners, space heaters and cell phones very well,” said one rep.

    Of course one would think that HomePlug could also work in the enterprise environment, but reps said the adapters need to be on the same transformer circuit to communicate adding, “That’s why we call it HomePlug and not EnterprisePlug.”  Many smaller business, however, have been able to use HomePlug, according to reps.

    The HomePlug Alliance believes that it will eventually reach Gigabit per second speeds, but tempered that prediction by adding that it would take several steps to reach that level.