The HomePlug Powerline Alliance has adopted new specifications that are expected to quintuple performance as compared to current HomePlug AV solutions at the application layer. Members, of which Comcast is one, are looking to the HPPA-AV2 spec to ensure reliable delivery of “throughput-intensive applications, such as 1080p HD and emerging 3D and 4K HD broadband Internet, Internet gaming and security camera video over existing electrical wiring,” the industry association announced in a news release.

“Powerline networking between modems and set-top boxes is being used today by many broadband service providers to reduce capital expenses and support costs associated with delivering new triple play and IPTV services,” commented Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst at research firm Parks Associates.

“More than 50 operator/service providers have deployed HomePlug AV powerline networking solutions as a means to expand services. These providers require a migration path to a much higher performance powerline technology to meet future bandwidth demands while maintaining interoperability with their current HomePlug AV installations and future IEEE1901 products.”

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HPPA’s AV2 technical working group has come up with the following enhancements:

  • MIMO (Multiple-Inputs Multiple-Outputs) that offer “significant increases in link throughput and range without requiring additional spectrum or transmit power,” akin to the use of MIMO in 802.11n and 802.16e wireless networking;
  • Increased MAC (Medium Access Control) efficiencies that lower overhead and expand throughput;
  • Increased operating spectrum by an order of magnitude by expanding operations into an additional spectrum, up to an order of magnitude beyond current powerline technology, thus increasing bandwidth;
  • Extending coverage via repeating and routing technology in networks of three or more nodes.

“Consumers are increasingly interested in the large, growing volumes of video, gaming and other media content available via the Internet, and they need an easy way to connect entertainment devices that allow them to move multiple streams of content to any room in the home. HomePlug AV has been the powerline technology of choice, and AV2 provides an aggressive migration path to support greater network capacity and distribution of ultra-high quality content throughout the home,” Rob Ranck, HPPA president, stated.

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