HomePNA: HD Home Networking Technology Using Existing Wires

HomePNA is the ITU standard (G.9954) that allows for high performance communications across coax and phone lines. To date, over 13 million HomePNA chips have been shipped and nearly 2.5 million homes now run IPTV-based services on HomePNA.

By Eran Gureshnik, CopperGate Communications

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Video/Imaging DesignWire
(5/10/2010 3:00:17 AM)

Consumers are demanding more video: video on their TVs, on their laptops, desktops, mobile devices and more. Video is clearly at the center of the home entertainment experience.  While the customer’s focus has been on the content – be it from over the top services such as Hulu, YouTube, NetFlix or via paid IPTV services such as AT&T’s U-Verse – the  magic that makes this all possible is the home entertainment network.  This hidden infrastructure, which routes all the digital traffic, is the core enabling technology that provides the backbone of the home video experience.  Yet, delivering high definition – or even forthcoming 3D content throughout a home is no trivial task. The technology needed to provide a flawless, affordable, carrier-grade solution is a challenge and the purpose of this article is to describe how one technology, HomePNA, has risen to the challenge and is delivering HD video throughout millions of homes today.

Connecting everything together

One of the biggest trends in consumer electronics over the last few years has been the introduction of IP-enabled TV experiences. This includes IPTV and over the top services such as NetFlix downloads. Demand for these services remains strong. In fact, a recent report from ABI Research states that demand for IPTV will increase by an estimated 32 percent annually over the next five years to nearly 79 million global subscribers by the end of 2014.

In order to make these services practical, consumer devices need to connect to the source of the content. There are two components to that connectivity – access communications and in-home communications. As more and more consumers are moving to broadband and even fiber access, the bigger bottleneck has been routing data throughout the home. Services such as whole-home DVR and other multi-room experiences have increased the in-home bandwidth requirements from several Mbit/s to as much as 100 Mbit/s or more. To achieve such bandwidth, alternatives to WiFi must be deployed. WiFi has been proven to be unreliable for paid TV services that offer HD streaming. Plus, Ethernet is not widely deployed in all rooms within most homes. Therefore, existing wires are preferred to increase access throughout the home – all without installing new wires.

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Figure 1: This is sample architecture of a home entertainment network running over coax and phone lines. It uses a residential gateway and set top boxes embedded with HomePNA chips.
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One solution that has overcome this problem is HomePNA, the ITU standard (G.9954) that allows for high performance communications across coax and phone lines. To date, over 13 million HomePNA chips have been shipped and nearly 2.5 million homes now run IPTV-based services on HomePNA. The reason why a new HomePNA device is installed every second is because it delivers more advanced services such as IPTV, total home DVR, triple play and VoD at a price that is unrivaled in the world.  Service providers who have utilized HomePNA have lowered their installation costs by as much as half, improved their customer satisfaction, increased their adoption rates and reduced customer churn.
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