Powerline comms industry seeks co-existence standards

The powerline communications industry is heading towards standards which will specify the co-existence of technologies rather than interoperability in a bid to get the market moving.

“Some people think interoperability is a ‘must have’,” said Russell Haggar, v-p of marketing at SiConnect, a Swindon-based fabless semiconductor company. “Others think co-existence is a better approach because so many vendors are already shipping established products and you can’t make one standard fit all.”

“It’s one of those times where people are almost trying to standardise after the event. It’d take a long time for those players to agree a single standard to allow interoperability and we need something quicker, which is co-existence,” continued Haggar. “The market won’t pick up until there’s some standardisation.”

The first meeting of the IEEE to discuss a powerline standard (IEEE P1901) was held last week and SiConnect said its ‘quality of service’ co-existence proposal is one of three which will be considered in more detail at the next meeting in October.
Haggar said the plan is to roll it together with the proposal from CEPCA (Consumer Electronics Powerline Communication Alliance) and the UPA (Universal Powerline Association) before the IEEE meeting.

It is not known when the final standard will be ratified but Haggar expects it to be clear early next year in which direction the IEEE will go.

“From an industry perspective that’s all that’s needed,” said Haggar. “It’s going to be a huge milestone in making people feel confident about powerline and investing in this sort of product.”

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