Powerline Networking Moves Ahead

In-home networking using existing in-wall powerlines moved ahead Thursday as chipset vendor Intellon Corp. said that three original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have bought its HomePlug chipsets.

HomePlug 1.0 is a standard for using powerlines to connect devices within the home. It has been plagued with technical difficulties such as interference caused by use of electrical appliances, but Intellon claims those problems have been solved.

The two vendors who have bought the chipset to create HomePlug-compliant products are Linksys, Cayman Systems and Phonex Broadband.

The adoption of powerline networking heats up the in-home networking scene. The most widely adopted wired method of networking has been to use phone lines and wireless 802.11b networking also has been growing at a rapid rate.

Powerline networking opens a number of interesting possibilities because it enables any network connections simply by plugging a HomePlug-enabled appliance into a wall socket. Vendors are supporting multiple networking technologies — Cayman Systems, for instance, already support 802.11b and the competing HomeRF wireless standard. However, but analysts believe not all types of in-home networking will survive in the long run.

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