Sigma Designs Firms Up G.hn Strategy

– Elaborates on G.hn-HomePlug Coexistence
-Supplies Chips for a G.hn-to-Wi-Fi Adapter

Some say that G.hn has been in development longer than a fine Scotch whisky is aged but it’s coming to market, perhaps faster than people outside the G.hn community realize.

We asked Sigma Designs about its recently added capability for G.hn devices to coexist (but not interoperate) on the same powerlines as HomePlug (HP) devices. Coexistence is a feature that could be beneficial to consumers or telcos that have existing HomePlug network devices and want to switch to G.hn but without having to remove their existing HomePlug devices.

Reuven Franco, G.hn Product Manager for Sigma Designs, answered:

“The coexistence mechanism is applied to all HomePlug AV products. HomePlug AV and AV2 devices are handled in the same manner.

“G.hn is superior in real-life environments. It has been proven by multiple service providers on three continents.

“G.hn also performs well in scalability. It can be used to add more and more and more devices to a network.

Franco promised to provide more information about how this feature was received at the recent IBC trade show and the reactions of equipment makers and telcos, many of whom have deployed or encouraged the deployment of HomePlug AV.

Sigma Designs is somewhat conflicted when it comes to comparing G.hn and HomePlug. It’s a member of the HomePlug Alliance and makes HomePlug chips so it’s reluctant to make public comparisons of G.hn and HomePlug’s performance — despite our pleadings.

Where’s the Beef?
We are frequently asked by G.hn competitors whether we have ever seen a G.hn adapter other than at a trade show. We can confirm that today two G.hn-to-Ethernet adapters have been shipped to us for testing. We’ll provide test results and pictures as soon as possible, especially how it compares to the 11ac version of Wi-Fi in rooms that have been difficult for Wi-Fi to reach.

G.hn-to-Wi-Fi Adapter
Here is a picture of a G.hn-to-Wi-Fi adapter that will be available to retailers and operators. The G.hn chips are from Sigma designs. It’s intended to be used in rooms that don’t have adequate Wi-Fi coverage from the home’s main Wi-Fi router.

G.hn-to-Wi-Fi Adapter

 

It’s made by Taiwanese equipment maker Tecom and was shown at the IBC trade show. It has the 11n version of Wi-Fi but could, we suppose, be equipped with the newer 11ac version. It’s said to work on both 110v and 220v, 50Hz or 60Hz, and is said to automatically adjust to whatever voltage it’s plugged into. There are two models, one with the AC plugs for North America and another for countries with different plugs.

Its model number is HD3010. Tecom also makes a model HD3010 that is a G.hn-to-Ethernet adapter, which uses the existing powerline to make Ethernet available in multiple rooms without the need for installing a separate coax or Ethernet cable.

Tecom did not say when the product will be available. It has traditionally sold its products, both wireline and wireless, to telcos who deploy them, many times under their own names.

 

The Difficulty of Getting Publishable Information

Chipmakers and equipment are reluctant to discuss specifics about happenings at operators such as the results from lab and field tests as well as actual orders and deployments even when they are well underway. Operators don’t want to make known their tests of new technology until they are ready to deploy — actually ship and deploy.

They don’t want to stimulate market demand before they are ready to fill it and there are always regulatory concerns to consider.

That’s why we were surprised last week to hear from BT that it’s actually testing the new G.fast broadband technology.

However…

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