How would you network your home? Ethernet? WiFi? Something else? HomePlug's not everyone's first choice for home networking, but in some scenarios it's favourable. If radio interference is a problem, and laying new wires isn't desirable, then HomePlug can be used to send network traffic over a property's existing power rings.
Stephen Wood gave a brief update at IDF on how HomePlug is faring.
Uses for HomePlug extend beyond simple computer networks, which is probably a good thing for the technology, as WiFi has a pretty good grip on home networking now. HomePlug has applications in development within command & control, along with broadband over powerlines.
With command & control, HomePlug networking can be used in home automation; control lights and appliances by sending them instructions over the very wires that power them. Broadband over powerline offers, aside from the obvious, the ability for grid operators to manage remote base stations over their powerline cabling, and there's scope for automatic, electronic meter readings.
Memberships of the HomePlug work groups is now at 70. Shipments of HomePlug units have doubled since last year's IDF. Interest in HomePlug is worldwide.
A new high speed version of HomePlug, called HomePlug AV, is on the way. Arkados, Conexant, Intellon and Spidcom have all said they'll be making new HomePlug AV chips with support for 200Mbps data rates. HomePlug Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) will use HomePlug AV as a baseline for its specification. HomePlug command and control specs will be submitted for ratification in October of this year.
HomePlug's picking up momentum, and with specifications on the way for BPL and C&C, it could pave the way for some great new home automation systems and remote broadband solutions.