As the industry of home networking advances and expands into more and more homes, words such as “broadband” and numbers such as “802.11a,” which were once used only by tech junkies are finding their way into everyday language.

Foreseeing the increasing complexities and confusion that new wiring in the home would create, the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) developed the technology to allow consumers to use their existing telephone lines as a home networking infrastructure.

Lutron Electronics
The current HomePNA 2.0 standard enables PCs, printers and other appliances to be shared throughout several rooms in the house over existing phonelines at speeds of up to 32 Mbps. HomePNA helps the average home transform into a palace of interoperability with applications including Internet sharing, file sharing, streaming audio and video as well as head-to-head Internet gaming. By the end of 2002, the third generation of HomePNA products will run at speeds of up to 100 Mbps to support additional entertainment applications. All home networking standards, wired or wireless, intend to help consumers connect home networking products within a home or home office easily and affordably.

Wireless products are rapidly being adopted but are up to three times more expensive than phoneline products. HomePNA’s phoneline wiring is very simple because it uses existing wiring and doesn’t require installing additional wires. And, with a robust HomePNA home networking backbone in the home, consumers can chose to incorporate a wireless component into their home network anytime.

Products available from HomePNA’s 130 member companies include broadband gateways, routers and modems, NIC cards, USB adapters, Internet appliances, printer peripherals and PCI cards. HomePNA technology is easy to install and the average price per node is under $100. HomePNA products and versions are backward compatible and interoperable. Interoperability between dial-up DSL, Cable and fixed wireless as well. HomePNA wants the ease of installation and use of phoneline products while offering network security across WANs and LANs.

HomePNA Becomes First Home Networking Technology to Support Digital Voice

At COMDEX 2001 HomePNA announced the Voice-over-HomePNA (VoHPNA) protocol, which extends its 2.0 specification to include support for digital voice services. This announcement makes HomePNA the first home networking protocol to deliver a network-based framework for delivering toll-quality digital telephony services for consumer price points.

Through a HomePNA residential gateway or comparable service termination point, VoHPNA takes advantage of digital, broadband voice services, such as voice-over-IP (VoIP), to deliver high-speed connectivity to other VoHPNA enabled end-points plugged into any phone jack within the home. For example, phones connected through the VoHPNA protocol can take advantage of any voice-oriented service, such as second line services, available to the home through any broadband connection. VoHPNA devices enable telephone PBX-like functions, such as call forwarding to an answering machine or network-based voicemail, call blocking, and room-to-room dialing using VoHPNA. All of these options provide new capabilities to enhance the residential communications experience.

About the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance

HomePNA is an incorporated, non-profit association of industry-leading companies working together to ensure adoption of a single, unified phoneline networking industry standard and rapidly bring to market a range of interoperable home networking solutions. Founded in June 1998, HomePNA is led by 10 forward-thinking companies (2Wire, Agere Systems, AMD, AT&T Wireless Services, Broadcom, Compaq, Conexant, Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel and Motorola). The Alliance’s membership has grown to include over 130 cutting-edge companies, spanning the networking, telecommunications, hardware, software, and consumer electronics industries. For more information on HomePNA, please visit the Web site at .