The Time Has Come For a Mandated Home Networking Standard

Consumers are increasingly confused about how to purchase and install home networking systems, while home entertainment equipment manufacturers are hesitant to commit to formats that may quickly become obsolete, or even fail commercially.

Oyster Bay, NY - June 23, 2005 - Wi -Fi, UWB, Bluetooth, powerline, multimedia -over -coax: a wide variety of technologies now exist (or will arrive soon) for networking digital consumer electronics in the home. It's actually a question of too much choice, because home networking completely lacks homogeneity.


Vamsi Sistla, director of broadband and residential entertainment at ABI Research, says "There is a place for most of these technologies in the future of home networking. Each method's proponents may say that their way is the one that will eventually win out, but that is not realistic, and nobody is asking, 'How can we all coexist?'"

Consumers are increasingly confused about how to purchase and install home networking systems, while home entertainment equipment manufacturers are hesitant to commit to formats that may quickly become obsolete, or even fail commercially. Sistla believes that the need for a universal standard, on which a multi -network translator/adaptor could be built, will eventually be recognized.

"But where will such a standard come from?" he asks. "Not from networking technology vendors, with their own separate agendas. Not from the IC makers creating the chips for home entertainment devices."

Instead, ABI Research believes there is an opportunity for government - - in the form of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and its equivalents around the world - - to mandate a single standard underpinning a media adaptor that could allow all these network technologies to talk to each other.

Such government -mandated standards already exist by the thousands. But many questions remain: is there political will for such a move? Will the vested interests see the advantages and cooperate or will incompatibility rule, as is often the case in free markets? Would a universal standard be possible in a global CE market?

ABI Research has published a study, "Digital Home Media Networking", which examines the worldwide market in network -equipped audio and video consumer electronics, with particular focus on Wi -Fi, PLC and UWB technologies.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations supporting annual research programs, intelligence services and market reports in automotive, wireless, semiconductors, broadband, and energy. For information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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