By Rich Nesin, General Manager and Resident Philosopher, HomePNA
If you saw Rick Merritt's EE Times column yesterday "Debate breaks out over home net standards; HomePlug group raises issues about ITU G.hn effort" you may have been confused. I know I was. After all, debate didn't just break out. The ITU G.hn group has been constructively debating this for the last two years. And the HomePlug technology companies were in the thick of it along with almost everyone else in the Who's Who of existing wire home networking. G.hn considered a lot of encoding schemes before approving G.9960 (including HomePlug's turbo code which was given very serious consideration for a long time before the group settled on LDPC).
OK, so is LDPC better technology? Well the consensus from G.hn is that it is a better choice for a single all-wire standard. Will it be harder to license than turbo code? Don't think so. The ITU has a strict IP policy (IP as in Intellectual Property like patents). Companies with relevant IP have to sign a document stating that they will or will not license it. The owner of the LDPC incorporated into G..9960 has recently agreed to license it. Concern resolved.
Is a new standard over powerline bad for the market? You could make a similar argument about G.hn not being interoperable with the millions of HomePNA devices deployed over coax. But, and it's an important but, we set out to create a single world-wide all wire standard. It was apparent from the beginning that interoperability with existing technologies wasn't practical if we wanted to succeed so a coexistence path with existing technologies was chosen as the best long-term solution for the industry. And it worked.