– Provides Upgrade Path to HPNA Accounts
– Adds ‘Battle-Tested’ Certification and Interoperability Testing to G.hn
It retrospect, it was inevitable, wasn’t it? The HomeGrid (G.hn) Forum this week totally absorbed the Home PNA Alliance (HPNA) after a year of negotiations with lots of vested corporate interests and big egos involved.
First, some facts:
– HomeGrid is the name of the combined groups.
– HomePNA, a coax only technology, was essentially a one-company alliance — Sigma Designs — and it had a fully functioning and proven certification and interoperability (C&I) process in place. HomeGrid was still developing its C&I process so it gets the benefit of HPNA’s C&I expertise and experience.
– HomePNA did not have a roadmap for future technology development. HomeGrid provides Sigma Designs and telcos who standardized on HPNA such as AT&T a way forward.
– Months ago, Sigma announced it would develop a chipset that included both G.hn and HPNA. That will allow telcos that are selling HPNA gear the ability to standardize on one STB that does either, which will reduce their inventory costs and simplify life for their installers. We believe but have no confirmation that AT&T is testing equipment that has a combined HPNA/G.hn chipset although it has said it is testing equipment with G.hn chips.
– No other chipmaker that we know of has indicated any interest in producing combination HomePNA/G.hn chipsets. It would be difficult for any other company to develop and get certified an HPNA chipset.
– The HPNA certification logo will remain and any new HPNA STBs can still undergo the certification process. HomeGrid will have a separate certification logo for equipment makers to put on their retail.
– The combined HomeGrid/HomePNA organization includes major players such as AT&T, ARRIS, Cisco (which makes HPNA STBs), CenturyLink, Telus and Bell Canada. It’s a strong and powerful group.
– Most of the announced interest in HomeGrid so far has come from China and is primarily in the powerline version.
– So far Marvell is the only company with a G.hn certified chipset but we expect several others to be announced shortly especially Sigma Designs.
– There is an installed base of 40 million HPNA devices, according to its Alliance, which is a sizeable number. HomePNA president and Sigma Design employee Eran Gureshnik said HPNA is “a mature, field proven technology that is used by telcos on four continents.” He said, “the obvious future direction for all wireline home networking is to migrate to G.hn.” It certainly is for HPNA accounts that want an upgrade to a compatible network.
– The new and improved HomeGrid Forum has more than 70 members, including 28 service providers, mostly telcos, and some very large equipment makers and retailers.
Leading Service Providers
Plus these others…
3 Rivers Communications
Highland Communication Services
Moapa Valley Telephone
New Hope Telephone Cooperative
Northeast Louisiana Telephone
Randolph Telephone Membership
Rural Telephone Service
Sandwich Isles Communications
yes (DBS Satellite Services)
AT&T, the major purchaser of HPNA gear supported the merger. Eric Puetz, AT&T director of industry standards said, “As an active member of both the HomePNA Alliance and the HomeGrid Forum, AT&T sees the merger of these two industry organizations as a great step toward advancing and harmonizing these standards-based home networking technologies.”
There is a white paper available for service providers who are selling HPNA gear called “Converging Technologies – Moving from HomePNA to G.hn.” Among other things, it says, “Service Providers worldwide are running G.hn products through rigorous testing and trials, with plans to deploy in late 2013 or early 2014.”
A Talk with the Men That Put the Deal Together
We talked to Rich Nesin, who headed up the HomePNA Alliance and to John Egan, a Marvell employee who heads up the Home Grid Forum, about the combined organizations. Having initiated and worked closely on the deal, they were very enthused about the synergy the combined groups would create. They said the merger was a natural evolution for the two organizations.
They pointed out that HPNA brought in lots of equipment makers to what had been a very chip-oriented group. For example, Cisco and ARRIS have joined the board of HomeGrid as a result of the deal. They said HPNA brought a lot of expertise such as its work in reducing with telcos to reduce the average installation time from four hours to one hour.
They said a merged organization could support HomePNA while easing and promoting the migration to G.hn.
Nesin’s contract with HomePNA has been extended until June. Egan has submitted his resignation so the new board can select a leader, which could well be Egan, Nesin or a third person.
Inevitably, the conversation got around to P1905 …
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