Radio technologies are sneaking into our homes - from wireless doorbells to Wi-Fi media streams - but as with any new market there's a plethora of standards vying for a slice of the home-automation pie. Before we can consider the various wireless technologies on offer it's necessary to understand the problems they are setting …
Sod wireless, go homeplug
Wireless is cramped, slow and doesnt go through walls terribly well.
Homeplug is the future, simple, scalable and every device (bar laptops/pmp's which will keep wirelesS) needs a plug.
Paris:/ because even she knows wireless is crap!
Why shouldn't there be several
I mean infraread does it's job near perfectly, except for one area, video projectors inside of metal cages. For those I would recommend newer ultrasonic systems using OFDM.
As for Bluetooth, I have yet to see a full implementation of it. Virtually no device on the market today can do meshed Bluetooth networks. This is, in my opinion, the most important feature of wireless networks.
infrared is dead
IR is no use for anything except the TV. As explained in the article, tv is the one application where you can expect to always have LOS.
Home plug looks clunky, it's slower than 802.11n and it won't work in any house that doesn't have modern wiring, or across different ring mains.
As far as computers and other devices that connect to your router go, modern housing should come with cat6 and access sockets throughout, you can't beat gigabit at the moment with wifi or plugs. Wifi is sufficient for all secondary access, laptop, handheld etc... But it's not appropriate to control your light switches or close the curtains. I suspect that we'll end up with 2 or 3 different standards in place by the time convergence has run it's course, a low bandwidth C&C channel and a higher bandwidth data, video and audio standard.
Ethernet is the answer!
There's still a good reason to ethernet your home. Nobody has managed to eaves drop on my cat 5e connected devices yet. Although I'm fairly certain they can on my wireless WPA2-PSK network.
My plan is this: ethernet cable to the office, bedrooms, kitchen and a few in the living room. Wireless where it can't get to.
My Wii, computers, including the one that's going to go in as a Media Center, and other such devices all support hard wired ethernet.
My house is constructed in a way that running cables is easy, and when we replace the siding next year, the cable will be in.
Helecopters as I'm paranoid about network security, particularly following an incident of identity theft.
Homeplug is plain nasty, and it radiates at a level that could easily make the use of the only long range radio frequencies, HF at 3-30MHz, impossible.
All power line networking technologies run this risk, and may be legislated out of existence if those that depend on HF radio get their message across.
@AC - Ethernet....
If anyone can eavesdrop on your WPA2-PSK network, it's because you chose a poor PSK or you told them what it is.
I have three of these evil plugs in my house and I have not noticed any planes falling out of the sky round here.
If some stone-age geeks who persist in communicating by CW shortwave rather than just picking up the phone like everyone else get buzzing in their earphones, then so be it, it is the price of progress.
It is only rarely that one comes across a computer related device which needs no setting up and works to such a degree of perfection as my Devolo blue plug thinggies.
No it's not.
Knocking out HF's not the price of progress. Homeplug's slower than wifi while also being more expensive. It's quite unneccesary.
@Others Re. Homeplug
I bought three Solwise 85Mb/s units and they worked straight out of the box as soon as I plugged them in - I was impressed.
However, The best true data rate I see is 14Mb/s between my living room based router and dining room based laptop. The upstairs desktop sees a lower data rate from the router. I live in a 30 year old house and my distribution box has old fashioned fuses, not MCBs. Functionally, it's impressive but the data rate is less than I can get from Wireless-g. I get 16Mb/s with Wireless-g but only downstairs, upstairs is about 8Mb/s. I'm considering going for wired connections next time I move house.
User friendliness is key
Wireless USB offers the user friendliness that Bluetooth lacks, along with higher speeds and lower power consumption than Bluetooth - forget all the profiles, it's plug and pray. However today it's still at the clunky dongle development stage and will need major vendor commitments before it's a real threat.
A lot of Short Wave Listeners and Radio Amateurs are being affected by the interference that these Homeplug / Vision adaptors put out. Radio equipment is not cheap and why should someones hobby and interest be destroyed by some nasty, cheap technology that pollutes pretty much of the whole of the HF spectrum? Throwing wideband RF energy into mains cabling is such an ill-conceived idea and it's obviously going to cause widespread problems. As the author of the article mentions, there are many other technologies for moving data around the home. Why use PLT? Because of ease of use.
Many cases have been reported to Ofcom who are treating the matter as Spectrum Abuse.
Even the manufacturers of the chipsets (eg DS2) know that they cause interference to licensed users of the HF band because they incorporate notching into the devices. Its up to OEM's to implement the notching. In many cases the Amateur Bands are notched, but the International Broadcast bands arent.
Regarding "If some stone-age geeks who persist in communicating by CW shortwave rather than just picking up the phone like everyone else get buzzing in their earphones, then so be it, it is the price of progress" In the US the Amateur Radio service is an integral part in many disaster recovery plans and we have served in many times of need, for example on 9/11 to support the Red Cross and traffic between emergency services. There are also many other modes apart from CW which happens to be an extremely efficient mode of communication.
its all a crock of shit to me, until a wireless surroundsound system appears
Fixed installation == wired networking
However not everyone can run structured cabling throughout. Homeplug is a winner because it's cheap, easy and works surprisingly well.
I take the point about HF interference but might be more sympathetic if, during the five years I held an amateur radio license, I came across a single ham who wasn't superior, obsessive, exclusive, perversely competitive and/or just generally unsavoury.