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Universal home wiring standard passes interoperability test

The HomeGrid Forum, Broadband Forum and four silicon vendors have successfully completed interoperability tests of evaluation platforms for, the emerging universal physical standard for wired connectivity within the home. The testing was performed in Geneva, Switzerland, in a joint effort between the HomeGrid Forum and the Broadband Forum, at the ITU's global headquarters, and was organized by the University of New Hampshire inter operability laboratory (UNH-IOL). This was the first public opportunity for silicon vendors to test the interoperability of their products based on the home networking standard, which the ITU and Home Grid Forum hope will be globally deployed by many service providers, PC manufacturers, and consumer electronics companies.

Lantiq, Marvell Semiconductor, Metanoia and Sigma Designs participated in the interoperability event with their silicon test platforms. The HomeGrid Forum will follow up by rolling out its Compliance and Interoperability certification program through the rest of 2011, allowing products certified in its labs to be brought to market later in the this year, when there will be further interoperability demonstrations.

However the recent demonstration was conspicuous by the absence of at least two key silicon players in the home network, Entropic and Broadcom. They are both strong advocates of a standard called P1905 which we reported on last week, and which takes a different approach by integrating the existing wired standards, HomePlug AV for power lines, MoCA for coax, and Ethernet, within a common higher layer avoiding the drive for a universal PHY (physical) interface.

In fact, both companies have criticised, with Broadcom citing lack of backwards compatibility with the existing wired standards into which the industry has invested a lot of work. Entropic's cofounder Anton Monk has been the most outspoken in his criticism of, which he suggests has come too late to spoil the party for MoCA, of which he is CTO and so admittedly has a vested interest.

So we can expect a battle over the coming months, consuming energy but at the same time hopefully resolving the future physical shape of wired home networks. For to succeed it must gain widespread acceptance at a time when MoCA and to an extent power line have already gained traction.