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European Custom Installer

System Integration for the Connected Home

NextGen HomePlug Fills “the Dead Spot Gap”

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Rob Ranck

Almost every home has at least one Dead Spot. You know, the place in your home where suddenly your internet connectivity disappears, replaced by the black hole of no connection.

This dead spot, this "failure-to-communicate" turns out to be the needy gap in the home interenet systems that HomePlug... plugs.

If that seems obvious, it took 200m devices shipped with 95% share of Powerline networking to get to this point: instead of competing with wifi, Homeplug embraces it and complements it.

That's our take from the recent HomePlug press webinar. Rob Ranck, HomePlug Alliance President talked about the latest generation of HomePlug products, AV2 (enhanced AV for 2-3X improved performance),"We hope this starts a trend of retailers embracing the way to cure dead spots in home."

Guest speaker David Watkins, Strategy Analytics' Service Director for Connected Home Devices, told us that Europeans now have an average of 6.5 IP-enabled devices in our homes, up from previous years but still chasing the US overachievers’ average of 9.1.

Citing Broadcom Field Trials and the roll-out a new line of products with HomePlug AV2 now at Best Buy, Ranck positions HomePlug as the saviour of wifi problems and as a necessary component of whole home network.

Under the name “DST,” or Dead Spot Terminator, Best Buy sells (exclusively at Best Buy stores and online) NETGEAR Nighthawk DST AC1900 Wireless-AC Gigabit Router with DST Adapter. The solution combines Wi-Fi 802.11ac and embedded HomePlug AV2 technology within the router and DST wireless extender. In addition to one DST wireless extender included in the kit, customers may purchase additional DST wireless extenders (up to eight) as needed to ensure maximum connectivity to additional areas of the home.

Netgear Nighthawk DST

“HomePlug is pleased to see this rollout of HomePlug AV2 technology from CE retail leader Best Buy,” says HomePlug Alliance President Rob Ranck. “By offering a hybrid solution with next-generation wired and wireless technologies, customers are able to enjoy whole-home connectivity for high-demand applications, such as streaming 4k Ultra HD video and online gaming, with greater ease of installation.”

We all know the problems for wifi in the home...congestion by neighbours… interference from other electrical appliances... blocking by brick or stone. The Broadcom field trial showed how HomePlug AV2 resolves these issues in a large 2-story home (in this case, raising a kitchen from 5.4Mbps reception to 81.8 Mbps.)

"There are lots of wifi-to-wifi extenders being sold," notes Ranck. "But where is the best place to put a repeater? It's a guess. With HomePlug, you simply place the extender like one from Best Buy where wifi is weak."

"It's like turning a 2-lane road into a 4-lane highway of higher performance connectivity," adds the HomePlug President.

According to the Alliance, HiSense in China sells appliances with wifi and HomePlug together so HomePlug is a backbone and can blanket the home.

“HomePlug AV2 MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) products are available now in retail stores worldwide, and many service providers are expected to include HomePlug AV2 MIMO technology in IPTV offerings,” notes Ranck. “With MIMO technology, the next generation of HomePlug technology has arrived, delivering much higher data throughput and coverage...”

“More mobile devices in the home, the coming of Ultra HD Video, and an expected 33% compound annual growth in Smart Home intelligent systems through 2019 are all combining to drive demand for greater bandwidth in the home,” adds Michael Palma, Research Director with IDC. “HomePlug AV2 is an important advancement for hybrid home networking technology, and will help satisfy our growing appetite for content, apps, and IoT applications.”

Home Plug House

Some of the key advancements of HomePlug AV2 technology include:

  • Ideal backbone for hybrid home networks that must evolve to carry large amounts of data for Ultra HD -Video and IoT applications
  • Support for MIMO with beamforming - Doubles rate coverage
  • Whole-home coverage with repeater functionality
  • Power save modes (Active, Standby and Idle)
  • Complete interoperability without degradation with HomePlug AV and HomePlug Green PHY™ devices
  • Enhanced support for Multiple Dwelling Unit (apartment) environments to maximize throughput of neighboring networks

“HomePlug AV2 provides the fastest and most reliable powerline networking to connect Smart TVs, media players, game consoles, and other devices while also enabling proliferation of Wi-Fi technologies for mobile connectivity, everywhere,” notes Greg Fischer, Broadcom Senior Vice President and General Manager for Broadband Carrier Access. “HomePlug AV2 Certified products can provide a simple migration to next-generation networking, as they are interoperable with the large number of HomePlug AV and Green PHY devices already in the market.”

Installers, retailers and etailers now have good reason to sell customers the new and more powerful HomePlug AV2 (and upgrade HomePlug AV users).

On top of this solving-the-deadspots story, here is something else we learned: HomePlug also offers a solution to charge EV cars-- VW e-Golf and e-Up!, the BMW i3 and Chevrolet Spark come with the embedded Combined Charging System with HomePlug Green PHY (AV optimzed for low cost/energy IoT applications).

Recently the Homeplug Alliance also showed their Netricity program at European Utility Week as the key for utilities and energy companies looking to address the need for long-range powerline networking for outside-the-home, smart grid, smart city and industrial control applications.

Go HomePlug Alliance

Go Video Showing HomePlug AV2 Interoperability and Technology Benefits