HomePlug Alliance teases AV2 high-speed standard

The HomePlug Powerline Alliance – the group behind the popular networking-over-powerline standard of the same name – has finally announced the feature set due to hit the market early 2011 as the HomePlug AV2 standard.

For those not familiar with the standard, HomePlug is designed as an alternative to wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi networking in the home: rather than wireless signals or dedicated cabling, HomePlug is one of several competing standards which allows data traffic to be routed over a home’s existing electrical cabling using small adapter boxes – making it a simple case of ‘plug-and-play’ for anyone wanting to add networking to their home.

The group promises that this latest release of the standard – currently being finalized by the Technical Working Group – is set to include an impressive speed boost thanks to the use of Multiple-Inputs-Multiple-Outputs (MIMO) technology similar to that used in 802.11n Wi-Fi networking. As well as improving the speed, the group claims that the MIMO technology will “increase capacity and enable more reliable and expanded home coverage.”

Further increases in performance – up to five times, according to the Alliance’s tests – have been promised as a result of the specification expanding into a larger operating spectrum: with more frequencies to play with, increased bandwidth will mean larger quantities of data can be squirted down the wire at ever faster rates.

As well as being used to provide networking between computing devices in the home – and as an easy way to share a broadband connection between devices located in different rooms – the new HomePlug standard looks to be the solution to all your audiovisual needs: the Alliance claims that the standard will be robust enough to cope with “multiple streams of 1080p HD video and emerging 3D and 4K HD,” allowing a single HD device to stream to any compatible display anywhere in the home.

Home security is also a consideration, with the Alliance pointing out that the ability to stream video over your electrical wiring makes the installation of security cameras significantly easier.

With HomePlug devices accounting for around 80 percent of the world’s powerline networking market – and with over 45 million such devices already shipped – it’s clear that the latest version of the standard could finally spell the end of dedicated cable runs – in the home, at least.

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