Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Powerline Communication and RFI

The amateur radio community for many years been raising the issue of interference from high-speed powerline communication devices. Today the UK amateurs are very active.

There is a real potential for interference with amateur radios as they have expensive high-tech gear to pull a signal out of almost nothing. Years ago, HomePlug worked with Ed Hare of the ARRL to ensure the HomePlug devices were unlikely to interfere--this is working. In fact, all HomePlug devices ever shipped are configured to avoid interference with allalmost all amateur radio bands. The rest of the industry followed a few years later, including DS2 (rest-in-peace) and Panasonic.

So, HAN Fan finds it strange that the UK amateurs bitch-and-moan about powerline communications, when they, as a group, are protected from interference. The short-wave broadcasting community will likely get more protection if CISPR does its job (so far not going well) and lets dynamic notching in.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

HomePlug Turns Ten

Repoted by, that the HomePlug Powerline Alliance is celebrating 10 years of existence and grow.
HomePlug is a standard for running network data over existing powerlines in any abode. Forty-five million devices have sold to date and they expect to hit 60 million by the end of 2010. It's also growing with service providers who want to use it to provide connectivity, including IPTV (television that runs on an Internet Protocol network). Of course, the Alliance continues to operate a certification program, which will soon include IEEE 1901 products, a new spec finalized in December.
The big news is still HomePlug Green PHY (GP), a new eco-friendly low-power version of the standard. It would use your electrical wiring to smartly control new thermostats, appliances, even plug-in electric hybrid vehicles someday. It should be entirely backward compatible with existing HomePlug AV spec.
Congratulations to HomePlug and where is HAN Fans IEEE 1901 standard adapters?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Amuse Us: The way VOD is supposed to work

CopperGate Demonstrates HomePlug AV chips; talks about futureware

Two years after their first promise to demonstrate a bought and paid for HomePlug AV chip, CopperGate now has a chip and is showing it at the IPTV love fest in London this week. Rumour has it that this time it is really true.

So after the two years of  hard work and money to create a HomePlug AV chip, in a stunning execution of some sort of strategy, CopperGate executives will spend all their time in London discussing and given sessions about their non-existing chip.

Free advise to CopperGate executives; maybe it would be a good idea to sell what you have.

Greeks buy DS2 chips--the bankrupt support the bankrupt?

According to this press release, the the largest Service Provider in Greece, OTE, has decided to use DS2's proprietary chip, Aitana++ for their IPTV service customers. Long time DS2 fan (but not always faithful), Corinex is the manufacturer.

HAN Fan knows that Greece is bankrupt and DS2 is  bankrupt, but OTE seems to be in good shape as it is backed by Deutsche Telekom.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Distribution Methods of TV in Europe

The table below shows the number, in millions, of households using a TV distribution technology (according to SES ASTRA).

      86   Terrestrial TV
      77   Satellite TV
      71   Cable TV
        9   IPTV

From these numbers we can conclude:

  • terrestrial TV numbers presents huge opportunity for IPTV
  • satellite TV numbers presents huge opportunity for powerline communication networks
  • cable TV numbers explains why MoCA thinks Europe is an opportunity for them
  • satellite TV numbers explains why MoCA is finding many homes with only one cable connection

HAN Fan has mail

Actually, HAN Fan has an email account:

Feel free to send to your news, comments, rants, praise, threats etc.

HAN Fan will respect any your privacy requests, but will publish interesting tidbits his discretion.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3DTV forecasts and complications

Insight Media have recently issued their 3DTV Forecast of 50M 3DTVs are expected to be sold in 2015. They are excited about the market as they also claim to "10 analysts covering the exploding 3D market,"

Yes there seems to be some niggling problems to solve:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Who will have the first Chip

Pretty simple. The one company not shouting they have a chip.

DS2 has promised chips in 2009 and now 2010, but now that they are in bankruptcy they have no chance of delivering any time soon (if at all).

Coppergate is struggling to make a HPAV chip which they bought the technology ready-made, so they have no chance to deliver soon a dual-mode (HPNA/ chip, let alone a triple-mode (HPAV/HPNA/ chip both are very complicated to get right.

No, the first across the line will be Lantiq (what a name--just what you need is a antique LAN). Lantiq has nothing deployed, so they don't need a dual-mode device/ ITU Study Group 15 management, where is being worked on, is dominated by Lantiq employees, some of who wanted to try to "reset" the PLC market. Lantiq also purchased the IPR of Aware. Final key for first delivery, is that (i.e. has a business already) Lantiq is a well funded spinnoff of Infineon.

So, Lantiq will be first across the line with a chip. Who knows when. Who know how they will sell it to their xDSL customers (which are almost all using HomePlug AV). But Lantiq  will be first.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Newest threat to HomePlug hegemony over HANs in Europe

No its not the missing-in-action HomeGrid technology from the United Nations. Not even MoCA with their new focus on Europe. The future is in plastics.

Orange, one of the biggest and most faithful users of HomePlug technology in France, has announced a fibre optic kit to connect the router to "computers, TV decoder and other devices".  Besides the high-speed, the main selling point is the 2.2mm thin flexible plastic cable which will "limit the visual impact".

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What the Hell is Coppergate doing with their HPAV Chip?

Stumbled on this press release from May 2008 (that's right 2008) where the president of Coppergate was announcing they would be demonstrating their HPAV chip they recently bought from Conexent.

OK, Coppergate bought a load of nothing from Conexant, but we are two years later and they still don't have a HPAV chip that is shipping. Are they serious about HPAV or is it a very confusing foil for their chip?

IEEE 1901standard Sponsor Ballot Started

My IEEE birdie is telling me that emails are going out officially starting the sponsor ballot for the IEEE 1901 powerline communication standard--the last step to a standard.

When approved, IEEE 1901 will be the first complete, fully field tested, and multi-vendor powerline communication standard.

While the ITU's effort has had bits of a standard already approved, their process is to issue incomplete and untested specs and then try to fix them later (see the fixes already for PHY). Like there xDSL specs, which took years to have interoperable chips, changes to will be made once chips are field tested.

Monday, March 8, 2010

MoCA comes to Europe--no chance of succeeding

Rob Gelphman, Chair, Marketing Work Group, MoCA, is talking up a study they had done by IMS Research which shows MoCA has no chance of succeeding in Europe.

The study counted the number of coax outlets per home in four European countries. On average it is around 2 outlets per house. Two is the minimum you need to make a network. So 50% of the time coax is NOT a solution. When it is possible to use coax, it is sure that one or the other coax outlet will be in the wrong  place. The xDSL gateway will be the most likely box in the wrong place, but there is a fair chance your TV is in the wrong place.

MoCA will be targeting for countries (UK, France, The Netherlands, and Poland) where they think they have a chance.  Poland has 71%, UK&France 55% and The Netherlands 45% with with two outlets in the home.

This is too bad as coax is a better media than in general powerline, but if coax is not in the right place (or more likely does not exist) then you are out of luck. Also note that there are some HPAV products that already work both on powerline and coax.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

UPA and Promoter DS2 in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Procedure

DS2, one of two chipmakers who have announced plans for chips has entered the Spanish equivalent of chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure.

Clearly, DS2 is a good candidate to be purchased with a reported $20 million in sales in 2008. But with a rumoured $30M in debt, it will be a challenge to find the right buyer.

DS2 has previously promised chips for Q3 2010. Assuming DS2 did not spend IBM's loan of $2M on launching the chip, it is hard to imagine a bankruptcy judge approving this investment while DS2 is in chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Netgear announces two new HomePlug AV/IEEE 1901 500Mbps adaptors

Using one of the two IEEE 1901 chips, NetGear has issued a press release promote two new HomePlug AV/IEEE 1901 500Mbps adaptors.

Key features:
  • HomePlug® AV-certified
  • Compatible with the draft international IEEE P1901 powerline standard
  • "compact"  and"pass-through" versions
  • 500 Mbps (assumed to be raw data rate)
Expect more HomePlug AV/IEEE 1901 announcements from CeBIT.