A major challenge for service providers in delivering IPTV has been in distributing signals from the customer’s residential gateway to other IPTV Consumer Devices (IPTVCDs) located in different locations around the house.

Moving IPTV Around the House

Gerard O'Driscoll

Moving IPTV and Whole Home Media Networking (WHMN) applications around the House

Author: Gerard O'Driscoll
Author of the book 'Next Generation IPTV Services and Technologies'

A major challenge for service providers in delivering IPTV has been in distributing signals from the customer’s residential gateway to other IPTV Consumer Devices (IPTVCDs) located in different locations around the house. Additionally, bandwidth demands on home networking infrastructures are growing exponentially with the adoption of sophisticated Whole Home Media Networking (WHMN) applications such as HD IPTV streaming, user generated content, and online gaming. The WHMN model consists of a number of components that may be divided into two basic categories: interconnection technologies and middleware software standards. This article provides a brief overview of both components.


Defining WHMN

As the name implies, WHMN defines a suite of IPTV 2.0 applications that are delivered to a variety of different consumer devices in any part of a house. IP-based high-definition home cinema and holographic 3D video are examples of WHMN applications that are starting to put increasing strains on current home networking infrastructures. From the service provider's perspective, a high-speed distribution networking platform is required to underpin the delivery of WHMN content to people's homes. Once WHMN bandwidth-intensive applications arrive at the in-home network, custom installers are required to design, and ultimately implement, interconnection technologies that meet the following requirements:

1. High-bandwidth throughput
WHMN networking technologies must not only carry traffic at average rates, but support peak data rates at particular times, day or night. Bandwidth requirements of some typical WHMN applications are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. WHMN applications: Bandwidth requirements

WHMN Application

Average and Peak Bandwidth Requirements

IP based HDTV Digital Stream (MPEG-2 Compressed)

12 to 18 Mbps

IP based SDTV Digital Stream (MPEG-2 Compressed)

3 to 8 Mbps

VoD IPTV Digital Streams

4 to 6 Mbps

2. High Quality of Service (QoS)
The networking platform chosen by the custom installer must be capable of prioritising WHMN traffic over other applications such as standard Web browsing.

3. Ability to deal with interference
WHMN interconnection technologies must deal with interference that occurs within the home, and in some cases, that originates from external sources such as neighbours. Various device types in a home have the potential to interfere with the streaming of WHMN applications and the enabling technology needs to ensure that performance levels of the services remain high.

Selecting a WHMN interconnection technology

One of the key challenges faced by digital home integrators is deciding on an interconnection technology that will allow their clients to effectively run WHMN applications. Using technologies such as GigE, IEEE 802.1n, HomePlug AV, HDMI, HomePNA 3.1, and MoCA, digital home integrators can create high-speed multimedia home networks that are able to carry various types of WHMN services. Table 2. shows a comparative study between the various types of networking technologies used to enable WHMN services.

Table 2. Comparative study between GigE, IEEE 802.1n, HomePlug AV, HDMI, HomePNA 3.1, and MoCA



IEEE 802.1n

HomePlug AV


HomePNA 3.1


Network Media

Cat 5e or 6 structured cabling system


Powerline cable

Specialized Cables

Standard phoneline cable

Coaxial Cable

Maximum Data Rates (Actual throughputs levels are lower)

1,000 Mbps

Approximately 100 Mbps.

Approximately 200 Mbps

The latest version supports rates up to 10.2 Gbps

Approximately 300 Mbps

Approximately 270 Mbps.

An example of how a digital home integrator could use these technologies to deploy IPTV based WHMN applications is illustrated in Figure 1.


Figure 1. Sample WHMN Deployment

As consumer demand for distributing, sharing, and engaging with digital content grows, so too does the need for a home networking middleware platform that provides these features. WHMN middleware solutions are used to address these requirements.

WHMN Middleware Software Standards
A WHMN middleware plug and play technology is often used to simplify the implementation of in-home WHMN networks. Two WHMN middleware industry standards have emerged in recent years to address this growing market - Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) and High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance (HANA)

  • DLNA: DLNA is a cross-industry organization of consumer electronics, computing industry and mobile device companies. The organization has published a number of interoperability guidelines that define the building blocks of a digital home ecosystem. Some of the main characteristics of the DLNA guidelines include strong interconnectivity support and compatibility with a range of different WHMN media formats.
  • HANA: This alliance of consumer electronic, cable, semi-conductor, and IT companies has also developed a standards based framework that provides interoperability between IPTVCDs and supports the carriage of WHMN content over home networks.


The reliable distribution of these bandwidth intensive applications to a variety of different consumer electronic devices almost in any part of the home is only realizable through the use of next generation WHMN networking technologies. By using technologies such as GigE, IEEE 802.1n, HomePlug AV, HDMI, HomePNA 3.1, and MoCA digital home integrators are now able to create high-speed multimedia home networks capable of supporting a host of next-generation WHMN services and IPTV applications.

Gerard O'Driscoll is an international telecommunications expert, entrepreneur, and author of the book: 'Next Generation IPTV Services and Technologies'. Contact details are available at http://www.tvmentors.com.

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