HomePlug Powerline Alliance and Wi-Fi Alliance align, hope for wireless home nirvana

Darren Murph
D. Murph|11.03.10

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HomePlug Powerline Alliance and Wi-Fi Alliance align, hope for wireless home nirvana
Ah, now we're talking. Over the years, HomePlug and wireless HD / HDMI haven't exactly "taken off." Routing internet signals over a home's power network has been hampered by subpar transmission rates, and using wireless in the home for anything other than basic web duties has shown to be either too costly or too much hassle. Now, however, the HomePlug Powerline Alliance and the Wi-Fi Alliance have seen the light, and they're joining hands in order to jointly push their technologies to homeowners. Focused primarily on " facilitating interoperability of smart grid applications," these organizations are fixing to enable SEP 2.0 applications to operate across a diverse mix of wireless and wired networks, and hopefully they'll reach out to product manufacturers while they're at it. Here's hoping they'll be able to nail it -- the demand is certainly there, but the execution thus far has been downright depressing.
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Wi-Fi Alliance® and HomePlug® Powerline Alliance Collaborate on Connected Smart Home

Global leaders in Wi-Fi® and Powerline networking cooperate to facilitate interoperability of smart grid and connected home applications

AUSTIN, Texas and PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wi-Fi Alliance and the HomePlug® Powerline Alliance have entered into a liaison agreement to facilitate and promote the adoption of HomePlug powerline and Wi-Fi networking technologies in smart grid applications. The agreement enables cooperative efforts for joint technical review of Wi-Fi Alliance and HomePlug specifications and standards that facilitate interoperability of smart grid applications. The organizations will also engage on joint outreach to promote the adoption of wireless and powerline technologies for smart grid applications.

Both the Wi-Fi Alliance and HomePlug are participating members in the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). SGIP is a forum for industry stakeholders and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to participate in the ongoing coordination, acceleration and harmonization of standards development for the smart grid. The Smart Energy 2 Applications Profile (SEP 2.0) was selected last year by the U.S. Department of Energy and NIST as an initial interoperable standard for smart energy management with home area network (HAN) devices. The Wi-Fi Alliance and the HomePlug Powerline Alliance are collaborating to enable SEP 2.0 applications to operate across a diverse mix of wireless and wired networks.

"Both Wi-Fi and HomePlug solutions will play key roles in energy management and connecting home systems and appliances to the smart grid," said Rob Ranck, president of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. "HomePlug and Wi-Fi devices represent a large share of installed nodes worldwide, and ensuring seamless interoperability is critical for broad scale smart grid deployment," continued Ranck.

"Working with the HomePlug Powerline Alliance will facilitate interoperability between Wi-Fi equipment and devices connected to powerline home networks," said Edgar Figueroa, chief executive officer of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "This collaboration will help bring about a great user experience with smart home technology," continued Figueroa.

The Wi-Fi Alliance launched the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ program in March 2000. It provides a widely-recognized designation of interoperability and quality, and it helps to ensure that Wi-Fi enabled products deliver the best user experience. The Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 8,000 product certifications to date, encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and established markets.

The HomePlug family of powerline networking specifications includes HomePlug AV for broadband applications, the recently completed the HomePlug "Green PHY" (GP) specification for smart energy /smart grid applications, and the forthcoming HomePlug AV2 broadband specification due for completion in Q1 2011. These HomePlug specifications are fully interoperable with each other and the new IEEE 1901 powerline standard, and cover the spectrum of home networking demands. HomePlug has an installed base of over 60 million devices.

The liaison between the HomePlug Powerline Alliance and the Wi-Fi Alliance is effective immediately.

About the Wi-Fi Alliance

The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global non-profit industry association of hundreds of leading companies devoted to the proliferation of Wi-Fi technology across devices and market segments. With technology development, market building, and regulatory programs, the Wi-Fi Alliance has enabled widespread adoption of Wi-Fi worldwide. Learn more and search for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ products at www.wi-fi.org.

Wi-Fi®, Wi-Fi Alliance®, WMM®, Wi-Fi Protected Access® (WPA), the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo, the Wi-Fi logo, the Wi-Fi ZONE logo, and the Wi-Fi Protected Setup logo are registered trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance; Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™, Wi-Fi Direct™, Wi-Fi Protected Setup™, Wi-Fi Multimedia™, and the Wi-Fi Alliance logo are trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

About HomePlug® Powerline Alliance

Founded in 2000, the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, Inc. is an industry-led initiative with 70 member companies that creates specifications and certification logo programs for using the powerlines for reliable home networking and Smart Grid applications. The Alliance accelerates worldwide adoption for HomePlug technology by collaborating with international standards organizations such as the IEEE and through market development and user education programs. Sponsor members include Atheros Communications (ATHR); Cisco (CSCO); Comcast (CMCSK); Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK); GE Energy, an affiliate of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE); Gigle Networks; Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723); SPiDCOM Technologies, and STMicroelectronics (STM). Contributor members include Arkados (OTCBB: AKDS). For more information on the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, please visit www.HomePlug.org.
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