A group of home networking-related vendors, including Broadcom, D-Link, Qualcomm Atheros and Lea Networks, have put their support behind the HomePlug AV2 multiple input multiple output (MIMO) certification program for powerline-based home networking products.
Broadcom and Qualcomm Atheros are supporting the launch of the program by participating in the interoperability test bed and a demonstration in the HomePlug Alliance meeting room during this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
One of the biggest advantages with HomePlug AV2 MIMO is bandwidth scale, particularly to support the growing usage of Ultra HD Video and IoT applications in the home.
During CES, HomePlug showed how two media players running Ultra HD streams at the same time leveraging the AV2 MIMO technology.
Rob Ranck, President of the HomePlug Alliance, told FierceTelecom that 4K high definition video will increase the amount of data traversing the home network.
"While it's just starting, the bandwidth requirements will be driven by 4K TVs," Ranck said. "That's going to increase the data that travels around the home network in addition to other devices trying to stream video and do other smart home types of applications so what we have with HomePlug is a whole home networking hybrid solution."
Ranck added that HomePlug wants to position itself as a complementary element in the home networking ecosystem.
"One of the reasons we have been pushing the hybrid connectivity is to really position and make sure that people perceive HomePlug as complementary to their Wi-Fi," Ranck said. "The big news is you have a good combination and complementary wired and wireless connections."
According to IDC, there are three factors where HomePlug AV2 MIMO is driving the need for more bandwidth over the home network: mobile devices, Ultra HD video, and an expected 33 percent compound annual growth in Smart Home intelligent systems through 2019.
Having products that support MIMO with beamforming, home networking vendors will be able to double their rate coverage. This could potentially give consumers the ability to access their content more reliably in more parts of their homes. The program will also provide whole-home coverage with repeater functionality.
"We're seeing anywhere in real world conditions from probably two to three times performance throughout the entire home," Ranck said. "Obviously if you put two AV2 MIMO units in the same room it can go even faster, but HomePlug is for communicating throughout the home."
While HomePlug AV2 MIMO will have an impact on single family homes, the standard also provides support for multiple dwelling unit (apartment) environments to maximize throughput of neighboring networks.
Besides offering higher speed connectivity, HomePlug AV2 with MIMO can also be applied to meet the needs of smart home applications via Green PHY. Already, the technology has been implemented into products from smart home company umbrella.
"HomePlug is also good for basic smart home connectivity," Ranck said. "It's good to see all of this high speed stuff, but for powerline networking and HomePlug to be ubiquitous we need to get into these smart home applications as well."
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This article was updated on Jan. 12 with additional information from the HomePlug Alliance.