By Richard Nesin, president, HomePNA
As can probably guess we spend a lot of time discussing P1901 and G.hn. My colleague Michael Weissman, a source of really good marketing anecdotes, has a favorite one about the time he heard marketing guru Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, speak at conference. The talk compared two major construction projects, Boston’s “Big Dig” and the “Chunnel” under the English Channel.
The story goes that the Chunnel took about 7 years to complete, is about 30 miles long, and cost around $15B in today’s dollars or $500M/mile. The Big Dig took about 15 years to complete, spans 3.5 miles (about half in tunnels), and cost around $15B in today’s dollars or about $4.3B/mile. As Christensen tells it, the moral of the story is that infrastructure made the difference. The Big Dig had to replace and connect to a very complex and heavily traveled transportation infrastructure. The Chunnel was green field – nothing existed previously so it was all new construction.
A great anecdote but what does it have to do with P1901 or G.hn? When G.hn began it was understood and agreed that no attempt would be made to make it interoperable with existing standards. This was painful for HomePNA members since we have always successfully standardized our technology under the ITU but we agreed for the greater good. G.hn is a green field standard, free to select the best and newest technology available. IEEE P1901 started with several existing standards (the infrastructure) and has evolved into an awkward multi-MAC, multi-PHY architecture with several implementation options. The result is slow progress and the probability that a consumer will buy two IEEE P1901 devices that won’t be any faster than today’s products or work together. We’re not sure that is progress.