EH Publishing, Wayland, Mass, published a 20-page special report, The Prospects for Powerline Networking: HomePlug and the Other Players. The report follows the recent history of powerline home networking and provides in-depth analysis on the HomePlug alliance, the viability of powerline-based networking, potential competition by the Consumer Electronics Association, and seven key companies vying for control of the home's AC wiring infrastructure.

The following is an excerpt from The Prospects for Powerline Networking: HomePlug and the Other Players

As far as home automation goes, the powerline has always been the most prevalent no-new-wires media by far, thanks to X10 and to a smaller extent CEBus and LonWorks. But in the high-speed home networking realm, it's been practically nonexistent.

For the past two or three years, though, at least half a dozen technology developers have been working on powerline-carrier (PLC) solutions for in-home networking applications. Meanwhile, consumer-electronics and PC manufacturers have salivated at the prospect of delivering networking capabilities through the existing AC wiring present in every home.

In April of this year, a group of them finally formed HomePlug, an alliance to expedite and oversee the development of a high-speed powerline-networking technology.

While the founders of HomePlug like to compare their alliance to HomePNA, there's a big difference: HomePNA had a starting point with Tut Systems, whose 1-Mbps Homerun phoneline-networking technology already existed, with no viable competitors at the time.

Homeplug's situation is entirely different. For starters, the powerline group insists on 10 Mbps for version one of the HomePlug spec - far more ambitious than HomePNA, particularly considering that the powerline is a much more hostile environment than the phoneline...