announced plans to develop standards to facilitate
high-speed in-home networks using existing phone
The new group, which calls itself the Home
Phoneline Networking Alliance, differs from other
home-focused networking efforts in that it intends
to create products to connect devices already
within a home, rather than finding ways to bring
high-speed lines from outside.
Founding members of the group span all corners of
the industry, such as Intel, 3Com, AT&T Wireless
Services, and Compaq Computer.
How would a home network based on phone lines
be used? The group expects consumers to connect
peripheral devices, such as printers and scanners,
share Net access and data, and play multiplayer
video games. A study by market researcher
Dataquest found that more than 15 million homes in
the United States have two or more PCs.
The move follows other high-profile
consumer-focused efforts, such as the new
DSL-focused group that was announced in
January. That effort hopes to bring high-speed
connections from service providers to the home.
Consumers are faced with a confusing array of
existing and promised technologies to facilitate
high-speed connections to the home, known in the
industry as the “last mile.” This focus on fat pipes to
the home is based on the explosion of the Net and
the desire by high-tech firms to make it as easy as
possible for consumers to surf their favorite sites,
therefore facilitating opportunities such as electronic
The group is expected to finalize an initial standard
in the third quarter of this year, with products
supporting the specification due by year’s end.
Initial work will focus on speeds of 1 megabit per
second, with a second rollout intended to offer
10-megabit speeds over current copper phone
Those speeds dwarf current standard modem rates
but do not approach typical speeds found in office
Other founding members include Advanced Micro
devices , Epigram, Hewlett – Packard, IBM, Lucent
Technologies , Rockwell ‘s semiconductor systems
division, and Tut Systems, a start-up with financial
backing from Microsoft.
Technology from Tut and Epigram will be adopted
for use as part of the specifications.