By Rich Nesin, General Manager and Resident Philosopher, HomePNA
Well fun times for all you ITU G.hn watchers. As I wrote back in June, G.hn has settled on some "Baseline Text" for most of the protocol pieces that lie upstream of the G.9960 G.hn PHY (which anybody that follows G.hn can tell you was consented last December). So … here’s to more smooth sailing in the standards body. Did I hear a “not quite”? True, the group is moving briskly toward consent at the September 28 to October 9 meeting in Geneva , however it seems everyone isn’t running in the same direction.
So what’s happening? It’s gotten more contentious, that's what. At the G.hn meeting in Concord, Ca last week, some of the attendees (guess who) introduced a contribution to add compatibility between HomePlug and G.hn. If you’ve been following the evolution of the standard, you probably remember the decision made long-ago to work for co-existence with existing technologies, not compatibility. That decision was pragmatic and probably prevented a HomePlug-UPA-HD-PLC-MOCA-HomePNA (did I leave anyone out?) shootout that could have killed, or at least maimed, the new G.hn all-wire standard effort. The changes proposed last week would have affected both the MAC and PHY in fairly significant ways and may have posed a problem for the one chip-all wire goal.
Anyway, to make a long story short, the group’s historical reticence to require compatibility with other home networking technologies combined with major angst over anything that could delay completion of the final drafts caused even some participants who planned to stay neutral at the meeting to dissent. The contribution was presented, debated, dissected, debated some more and, in the end, fell far short of consensus for technical and practical reasons. Is it smooth sailing from here on? Can’t say for sure as all eyes (or at least the ones that care enough to read this blog) turn to Geneva. It’s not over till it’s over and then the market will decide.