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Proposal to unify powerline networks fails

Posted: 18 Nov 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:powerline networks  wired home networks  IEEE P1901  PHY protocol 

A proposal to unify competing powerline networking technologies failed in a vote at a standards meeting in Madrid, Spain, in October, sending engineers back to the drawing board. The failure could help fuel a broader effort to set a standard for all wired home networks said to be on track to hit a major milestone in December.

The IEEE P1901 group aiming to set a standard for powerline networks failed to get a 75 per cent vote needed to confirm an approach initially selected last year. The HomePlug Powerline Alliance and the Panasonic-led High Definition-Power line Communication (HD-PLC) Alliance drafted the proposal.

The proposal called for a PHY protocol that can recognise either group's products and prevent interference. It included an option for supporting both groups' PHYs so the networks can share data. It essentially shut out a third approach from chipmaker Design of Systems on Silicon (DS2).

The proposal got 69 per cent of the confirming vote, down from 71 per cent vote in a July meeting, said Chano Gomez, VP of technology and strategic partnerships at DS2.

According to IEEE rules, the group will reset its process, take proposals and select from them to find and confirm a winner. Engineers at the meeting, in an effort to accelerate the process, moved immediately to another down-selection of the proposals.

"They are trying to force another down-selection, but they are not changing their proposal at all," said Gomez. "They want to have the same proposal voted on again, which, in my opinion, is not in the spirit of the IEEE process."

"We have spent the whole day arguing whether we should give people more time to consider proposals that could be made at our next meeting," he added.

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