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HomePlug Adds Home Control

San Ramon, Calif. — The HomePlug Powerline Alliance ratified a powerline-based home-control specification to complement its high-speed standards for networking audio, video and data devices within a home.

The association is developing a certification program to test the interoperability of devices incorporating the new low-speed standard, dubbed HomePlug Command and Control (C&C) 1.0.

C&C will enable whole-house control of lighting, appliances, climate control and other devices from centralized control centers within the home. Home systems could also be controlled by cellphones or other devices from outside the home.

Besides home control, C&C is also designed for use with safety and security devices in the home, power-management solutions that reduce energy costs, and healthcare monitoring products, the association noted.

C&C will coexist on a home’s powerlines with HomePlug 1.0 and HomePlug AV devices without interfering with one another. That makes it possible for suppliers to develop a controller that controls all HomePlug products incorporating any one of the three standards, the association said.

HomePlug 1.0 is a 14Mbps standard for transferring data and content over powerlines. HomePlug AV, developed from the ground up to handle audio and video, delivers 200Mbps data rates at the physical layer and an average throughput of 70Mbps to 100Mbps over powerline and 120Mbps over coaxial cable.

HomePlug AV is better suited for video than HomePlug 1.0 because of greater bandwidth; heavy forward error correction; prioritized bandwidth guarantees for A/V streams; the use of time division multiplex access (TDMA) technology for A/V streaming; and adaptive band-hopping technology that, within microseconds, senses noise from refrigerator compressors or hair dryers and shifts the A/V stream to a different frequency band.