While there are excellent resources available on the Internet to learn about Powerline technology and its associated standards, there are many instances of misinformation as well. In addition, terminology isn't consistent among vendor marketing and product packaging, so how are consumers or even those interested in writing about the subject supposed to maintain accuracy in the related discussions?
In my own research, the earliest publicly available documentation easily accessible is that excerpt from the NSA that I cited. From there, the HomePlug Alliance was elected to be the governing body over Powerline specifications. To date, the only specifications defined by the HomePlug Alliance are:
- HomePlug 1.0
- HomePlug AV
- HomePlug AV2
When you see other terms like "Powerline AV" or "Powerline AV2", these are marketing terms that are technically misleading if the cited specifications on the packaging don't list "HomePlug AV" or "HomePlug AV2". Why would a vendor label its product with a term that doesn't specifically match a certification? It may be one of these reasons:
- Status Pending -- Product certification is in-process, and as we discuss in our How We Test Powerline article, the HomePlug logo and certification reference can only be used under stringent requirements. While the product is being processed for certification, the vendor could use terms that hint at being capable of operating under the newest specification.
- Delivery Delay -- Product certification would take too long before a newer product was going to be released, so the expense to get the existing product certified doesn't have a good return on investment.
- Sell it now -- A vendor could decide that the product operates well enough through their own implementation of the standard that they could push it to market without seeking certification from the HomePlug Alliance.
Don't be misled! Remember that there only three approved HomePlug certification standards published by the HomePlug Alliance. For more information about the requirements under which a vendor can display the HomePlug Certification Mark, check out the related discussion in our How We Test article. If a product is marked otherwise, that product is either non-compliant or is pushing marketing terminology.