Do you know what an Intelligent Network Interface Device (iNID) is? Even if you are in the home networking business you may not know the answer to that question and you wouldn’t be alone. Many technical experts don’t know what this device does and how it fits into the home networking scheme. An iNID is the common name for an outdoor residential gateway typically mounted to the side of a subscriber’s house. iNID’s are owned and installed by the service provider and come in hardened weather-resistant enclosures (the plan is for them to remain with the house when the resident moves - like a utility box).
An iNID includes either a DSL or fiber WAN interface and a home networking modem. Since it is located on the outside of the house, an iNID typically does not include a wireless LAN and instead uses the home’s existing wiring, which terminates on the outside of the house, to gain entrance. iNIDs may feature one or two integrated HomePNA modems (one connected to the phone wires and one to the coax creating two independent full speed home networks). An internal wireless access point connected to the HomePNA network can be used to provide wireless connectivity inside the house. A number of HomePNA members offer or are in the process of developing this type of product.
HomePNA member 2Wire describes their recently certified iNID technology as working like this: “By transferring intelligent gateway functions and all service and network terminations to the side of the house, the 2Wire iNID eliminates the need to bring DSL into the house, eliminating the signal loss typical of in-home wiring. The location at the side of the house, near the existing telephone Network Interface Device, also allows for an easy connection between the iNID’s integrated VoIP function and the home’s existing phone wiring. The outdoor location also provides carrier technicians with easy access to home coaxial cable wiring which can be reused to distribute high speed LAN technologies throughout the home to video set-top boxes and other networked consumer devices.” Read the full description by going to the Web site.
So next time you spot a box on the side of someone’s home it may not be the utility box. It might be that your neighbor is ahead of the curve and using the latest home networking technology to enhance their home entertainment experience.