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Superior PowerLine Network Tech Ousted as Standard Due to Politics

Semiconductor manufacturer DS2 has announced new features for its Aitana 200 Mbit/sec. powerline networking chipset that enable the component to deliver transmission speeds four times faster than standard wireless networks.

Powerline networking devices enable a home’s existing electrical wires to carry data—including audio and video—as well as electrical power. This enables homeowners to deploy hard-wired Ethernet networks without the need to string new wires. Unlike wireless networks, however, there is currently no IEEE standard for powerline networks, which means there’s no guarantee that one powerline product will work with another.

Three consortiums are competing to have proposals adopted as the IEEE P1901 standard for broadband-over-powerline networking: The Universal Powerline Assocation (of which DS2 is the principal member), the HomePlug Powerline Alliance (Intel is a major player), and the Consumer Electronics Powerline Communication Alliance (whose membership includes Panasonic). HPA and CEPCA merged their proposals last year and won an early round of IEEE working group voting, dealing a significant blow to DS2 and the UPA. But the game isn’t over yet.

The IEEE working group is scheduled to meet again on September 29. If the HPA/CEPCA proposal fails to win 75 percent approval in this round of voting, DS2’s proposal could be brought back for further consideration.