Global Sources
EE Times-India
Stay in touch with EE Times India
EE Times-India > Networks

When "no-new-wires" tech fails

Posted: 30 Dec 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:home networking  HD video  enterprise networking  Wireless USB 

Depending on your outlook, home-networking technology is either a shining example of success or a dismal failure. A number of networking options shine when the application is shared Internet access, but every "no-new-wires" technology falls short when the mandate calls for carrying multiple HD video streams simultaneously.

The no-new-wires requirement is the primary delineation between home networking and enterprise networking. Companies will spend money to wire offices and boost productivity, but only tech enthusiasts will retrofit a home with Category-5/6 twisted-pair cable for high signal integrity. To achieve mainstream success, home networks—even those that carry rich video streams—must be wireless in nature or operate over existing phone lines, coax cable, or power lines.

Wi-Fi in all of the IEEE 802.11 flavours has broadly penetrated the home although enterprise usage was the application that drove prices down to home-friendly levels. Unfortunately, the newest 802.11n flavour is a troubled technology. The long-debated standard resulted in fragmentation, and products are falling far short of range and speed specs. There's little reason to believe that Wi-Fi is going to deliver whole-house HDTV.

Wireless USB based on ultrawideband (UWB) technology is a bigger failure. It doesn't appear that Wireless USB will carry HD video even within a room, although it may find success in PC peripherals.

Today, consumer electronics vendors are looking at proprietary in-room wireless links, but these solutions also pose challenges. For example, Amimon Inc. has limited support for its yet unproven 5-GHz technology. Even if it works, it won't carry multiple streams and should be redirected at compressed content. And the 60-GHz research is too immature to judge.

Why are we talking in-room links? There is no single perfect home-network technology that can serve legacy data and HD-streaming applications. Instead, a backbone of some type will connect islands of devices that might be served by a technology with limited range.

For the backbone, coax-based networks look viable but may not reach every island in a home. Power-line options would be ideal because power plugs are found in every room. But alas, power-line technology falls short of HD bandwidth requirements, and phone-line options look like a long shot. Ethernet and Category-5/6 cable remain by far the best choice to serve whole house video. Let's watch what happens in 2009.

-Maury Wright
EE Times

Comment on "When "no-new-wires" tech fails"
*  You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.


Go to top             Connect on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter      Follow us on Orkut

Back to Top