G.hn unified home networking standard passes ITU

The International Telecommunication Union has blessed the G.hn standard for next-generation home networking, but the big challenge now is to get everyone on board.

G.hn establishes a single global networking standard for next-generation whole-home networking over wireline. So coax cable, phone and powerline schemes can use a single set of standards and the same chip sets to simplify the delivery of services and lower costs - having more chips drives economies of scale, leading to cheaper devices around the globe. The new standard would supplant existing standards in Europe, North America and Latin America.

It is a standard likely to be a boon for IPTV delivery, the embedded devices crowd and service providers who have to worry about a single standard for in-home networking over existing wireline devices. There's also some goodness for consumers, with potential (not to be confused with real world) speeds of up to 700 Mbps - smoking hot speeds, if manufacturers can deliver.

On the other hand, the new standard could also be a pain for service providers, since it isn't backward compatible with MoCA (coax), HomePlug (powerlines) and HomePNA (phone lines). Carriers will have to choose between mixing standards, upgrading networks to one standard, and fretting about backwards compatibility.

G.hn-enabled products aren't likely to appear until 2010 and more likely in quantity by 2010, giving manufacturers and service providers alike a way to work out bridges and other band aids for backwards compatibility.

For more:
- G.hn spec released. Release.
- GigaOm weighs in on G.hn potential. Blog.

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