The Home Phoneline Networking Alliance has released its new
standard for 10 megabits-per-second devices, and vendors already are taking advantage of
The HPNA standards, created by several networking hardware
and software vendors, aim to provide a foundation for a slew of products that can link a
variety of electronic devices such as PCs, printers and video players while
also distributing broadband Internet access throughout a home via existing telephone
Several manufacturers are already marketing products based
on the HPNA 1.0 standard specifying 1 mbps data speeds. The new, backward-compatible 2.0
version released last week passes data at 10 mbps speeds, equivalent to an Ethernet
network. This provides beefier support for such bandwidth-intensive functions as accessing
broadband Internet content; viewing DVDs on multiple PCs or television sets; or conducting
a multiplayer video game.
Cable systems and other broadband-service providers see
home networking as an add-on that could help boost subscribership by increasing the
utility of their service beyond simple Internet access or electronic mail. Cahners In-Stat
Group estimates there will be 20 million multiple-PC homes in the U.S. by the end of this
year, driving demand for home networks that are easy to install.
"The U.S. home networking market continues to
boom," said Cyrus Namazi, director of business development at Advanced Micro Devices
and chairman of the HomePNA. "HomePNA is a perfect example of this growth, with over
1 million HomePNA nodes shipping in 1999."
Vendors are looking to 2.0 products to further accelerate
that growth. Broadcom Corp. said it is shipping production quantities of its new iLine10
home networking chipsets to PC original-equipment manufacturers and networking gear
The chipsets were created largely by Epigram, the silicon
developer Broadcom acquired earlier this year. Epigram's technology was a foundation
for the 2.0 standard.
Broadcom said 3Com Corp., Diamond Multimedia, D-Link, Intel
Corp. and Nortel Networks' NetGear division are already shipping iLine10-based
products. The company expects several other vendors to ship 10 Mbps home-networking
consumer equipment during the holiday season.