IEEE recently published the P1901 Draft Standard for powerline communications (PLC). The standard covers both medium access control and physical layer and is targeted to all major applications for PLC devices, including in-home networks for data, audio and video distribution; smart energy and smart grid; plug-in electrical vehicles; and audio/video distribution.

The IEEE P1901 Working Group met in Tel Aviv, Israel, from December 8-10 and accomplished many important goals. In the 14-week period prior to and during the meeting in Tel Aviv, the P1901 Working Group reviewed and resolved more than 3,000 comments received on the initial draft. The vast majority of these comments were resolved with the approval of submitters, leading to significant gains in consensus on the technical content. As a result, the updated draft was approved on January 5 with overwhelming Working Group support. With this approval, the IEEE 1901 Draft Standard is sufficiently mature for general release and publication, and it is available now through the IEEE online store.

"The publication of the IEEE P1901 Draft Standard is an extraordinary step for the powerline communications industry, " says Rob Ranck, president of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. "The first PLC standard from the world's premier standards body for network technologies is now available to implementers and manufacturers. Publication effectively means that the draft is considered stable and no significant changes are anticipated prior to final publication. This is similar to the process that IEEE 802.11 went through. This will help boost the adoption rate of this technology, and we expect an increasing number of new products and players entering the PLC market in 2010."