Cheat Sheet: Homeplug
Powerline networking isn’t a brand new technology, but it’s largely been overshadowed by Wi-Fi as the appeal of wireless is hard to ignore. However, PLN offers a “no new wires” solution to consumers who have been frustrated by Wi-Fi’s sometimes unreliable performance. HomePlug is just one flavor of PLN, but it’s got some big supporters. Expect to see more HomePlug products at this year’s CES and in the coming months.
What is HomePlug?
HomePlug is one of several protocols to allow data to be transfered via a home’s in-wall powerline network. It can connect devices that use Ethernet via a HomePlug bridge. In March 2000, the HomePlug Powerline Alliance formed to develop a common specification and broaden the market for powerline networking. The alliance created HomePlug 1.0 specification. The alliance states that HomePlug is the only globally recognized standard for high-speed powerline networking. HomePlug is an open alliance, so any company can join and have access to the specification.
How does it compare to Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is wireless, whereas HomePlug utilizes a home’s existing AC powerlines, which at least means that no new wiring is required to network via HomePlug. Wi-Fi networks are notoriously prone to interference from other electronic devices, home construction or distance. HomePlug claims to have overcome electrical noise issues through optimized algorithms and semiconductor technology. HomePlug products claim date rates up to 14 Mbps.