The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. is hoping to add some juice to home powerline networking by forming a committee to create a formal standard for the technology.
The international standards body has started the paperwork for a new standard dubbed IEEE P1675, “Standard for Broadband over Power Line Hardware.” The goal of the project is to give electric utilities a standard for setting up broadband data networks using powerlines for connections. It will include guidelines for installing the hardware on distribution lines, as well as requirements to protect installers and the public while work is being done on powerline systems.
The standard should be completed by mid-2006.
“By turning the local power grid into a broadband conduit, we create another option for universal access to the Internet,” says Terrence Burns, chairman of the IEEE Broadband Power Line Standards Working Group, in a release. “This technology offers a neat solution to the ‘last-mile’ quandary of how to bring information from long-distance fiber optic cables to individual computers without investing in costly infrastructure.”
Powerline technology has been vying for a market foothold for several years, backed by the Homeplug Powerline Alliance, a consortium of vendors and service providers that includes Comcast Corp. Homeplug has come up with its own set of specifications and has started certifying equipment for home networking consumer gear. If the IEEE process aligns with the Homeplug specification, it could give a significant boost to the technology.