HomePlug Powerline Alliance ramps up certification, interoperability efforts

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HomePlug Powerline Alliance ramps up certification, interoperability efforts

San Ramon (CA) – On Friday, the HomePlug Powerline Alliance announced a new compliance, interoperability and coexistence program aimed at improving consumers’ experience with HomePlug powerline networking products.

The new program includes a certification process, “Plugfest” event and “proactive efforts” to maintain coexistence and interoperability with existing products and other powerline standards. These efforts include “actively participating” in the IEEE P1901 Work Group and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Powerline Coexistence Work Group to “achieve coexistence and interoperability and develop a common mechanism with other powerline technologies”.

This announcement could mean that the HomePlug camp is finally realizing that it isn’t the only powerline networking game in town and needs to make nice with competing technologies. It comes on the heels of NETGEAR’s recent announcement that it has tapped Madrid-based DS2 to supply 200Mbps powerline technology for upcoming powerline networking products aimed at IPTV applications. DS2’s technology is not interoperable with any HomePlug technologies.

In a recent interview with TG Daily, Vivek Pathela, NETGEAR Senior Director of Product Marketing, Consumer Products, said that DS2’s technology was far ahead of the much-delayed HomePlug AV technology and “looking really good”. HomePlug AV also boasts 200 Mbps (raw) data rates, but has yet to reach the market due to “delays after delays”, and is “12 months late”, in Pathela’s opinion.

The HomePlug Powerline Alliance said it has chosen to work with the IEEE and ETSI because they are globally recognized forums, “with a successful history of bringing together international companies”. It also probably helps that both the IEEE and ETSI are involved with standardization efforts driven by DS2, which also helped to form the Universal Powerline Association (UPA) and European Commission funded OPERA (Open PLC European Research Alliance).

The Alliance also said it is expanding its efforts to achieve compliance, interoperability and coexistence in Asia. This could indicate an effort to reach out to Panasonic, which displayed a “190 Mbps” powerline adapter based on its own proprietary technology at this January’s Consumer Electronics Show.