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HomePNA Achieves 320Mbps With Copper 114

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hot-copper dept.
illeism writes "Ars Techinca is reporting that the HPNA has made a significant stride in copper speed. From the article: 'The HomePNA Alliance, backers of a networking spec that works over coaxial or twisted pair wiring, has announced the release of the HPNA 3.1 specification. The big news comes in the form of a speed jump from 128Mbps to 320Mbps, which pushes it above competing networking standards HomePlug AV and MoCA (Multimedia over Coax) for the title of fastest networking tech outside of gigabit Ethernet and makes it a more attractive option for triple-play providers.'"
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HomePNA Achieves 320Mbps With Copper

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  • What? (Score:2, Troll)

    by slughead (592713)
    The big news comes in the form of a speed jump from 128Mbps to 320Mbps, which pushes it above competing networking standards HomePlug AV and MoCA (Multimedia over Coax) for the title of fastest networking tech outside of gigabit Ethernet and makes it a more attractive option for triple-play providers.'"

    What was wrong with gigabit ethernet?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Using legacy hardware in place in your home, such as coax or existing twisted pair.
    • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:08PM (#16776241)
      "What was wrong with gigabit ethernet?"

      It requires CAT-6e certified twisted pair cables and wont run over existing house wiring.
      • However, distance is severely limited. It works in a game-room just fine though.

        I wouldn't recommend whole-house GigE with Cat5e. It might work, but only for a sufficiently small value of "house."
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cheater512 (783349)
          Guess what I'm using right now. :)

          Yep. Gigabit over Cat 5e. Our entire house is wired up with the stuff.
          I've maxed it out at 60MB/s before my CPU hit 100%.

          Its not a small house either. The strech of cable my computer has to the server must be at least 10-15m long.
          No packet loss, great ping and way too fast. :D
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nixman99 (518480)
          However, distance is severely limited. It works in a game-room just fine though. I wouldn't recommend whole-house GigE with Cat5e. It might work, but only for a sufficiently small value of "house."

          For us commoners with houses under 4,050 m^2 (40,000 ft^2)*, cat5e [wikipedia.org] works fine.


          * numbers based on 90x45 meter single story house, centrally-located core switch/router, and 65% efficiency of cable pulls.
      • by afidel (530433)
        Wrong, modern Gigabit ethernet works over bog standard Cat5 with 5e only needed for runs at or over the 100m length limit. Hell using anything better than the cheapest of cheap cards we were able to do 100Mbps at 150m over Cat3 when I worked with Cisco wireless, PoE was a problem over Cat3 near 100m though =)
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        So, you don't have good enough UTP, but you're certain you've got enough runs of unused and SUITABLE coax sitting there? Not just "any old coax" works. You need the right impedance, half-decent shielding, and preferably not 20yo cable that's all oxidized.

        The odds of having all the coax one needs already in the right places and all is every bit as remote as already having 6e everywhere.

        Also, Gbit ethernet is becoming very popular (built on pretty much all motherboards nowadays - also means one less thing to
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Not all houses are Cat5/6 wired (non-slashdotters) or want wireless. It's an alternative because you're taking advantage of existing wiring.
    • by parvenu74 (310712) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:13PM (#16776325)
      Isn't Verizon installing fiber to the premises these days? And what about hybrid-fiber-coax, especially when accessing remote terminals in your neighborhood that have fiber connections back to the service provider (which is what my cable company does)?
      • All Cable providers in major US cities are hybrid-fiber-coax. Due to the bandwidth limitations on the coax segment from the fiber node to your house, the industry is going with "switched video" technology.

        I know for a fact that as of a few months ago, Time Warner of Austin, TX completed the switched video migration...except for a few remote nodes. But I'm sure they've been migrated too.
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cptgrudge (177113) <cptgrudge@gmaiCHEETAHl.com minus cat> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:13PM (#16776337) Journal

      What was wrong with gigabit ethernet?

      Each run being limited to a length of 100 meters?

      • What house needs a stretch of cable longer than 100m?

        I havent RTFM but I assume that this standard has the same 100m limitation.
        The signal just grows too weak at long distances and when your transmitting at high speed you need all the signal you can get.
        • by cptgrudge (177113)

          The article doesn't say, but it is capable of "up to 50 devices spread up to 1,000 feet apart on a single network". Whatever that means. The advantage this has is that it is capable of multispectrum operation?

          Seems kinda redundant, since most new houses are being run with cat6 cable. I guess it would be more useful for older houses where retrofitting would be a pain.

      • by vertinox (846076)
        Each run being limited to a length of 100 meters?

        In that case...

        What is wrong with using fiber? ;)
      • by Shag (3737)
        And the 100-meter limit applies to Home networking... because...?

        There aren't a lot of homes out there where that's going to be a problem.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by tearmeapart (674637)
      What's wrong with my 10 gigabit ethernet? ( via my Intel PCI Express 10GbE CX4 [intel.com] cards).
      • by Ant P. (974313)
        Well for starters, you need a PCI-Extended slot to put that in, not a PCI-Express
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by k0lee (317678)
      When I was younger and electricity was still being installed in homes, it was necessary to run wire in existing walls. This was a challenge because the lath and mortar walls had little room to get the wire through them (dry wall had not yet been invented). We figured out how to wire the homes using drop chains and fish tape to get the wires to where they needed to be. I drilled a lot of holes by hand. Now that people are faced with running CAT5E through walls, they are stymied and instead are trying to
  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:04PM (#16776161)
    In my experience with such networks, its not the transfer speed but the response time that makes you want to chew your keyboard.
    • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:27PM (#16776599)
      Eh? A round trip through two HPNA 2.0 bridges adds about 2ms of latency to a packet from my empirical observations.

      While I obviously wouldn't use a home networking standard for ultra performance critical networking applications, the latency of HPNA 2.0 is not something I ever perceptually notice, and I use it every day.
  • by Sj0 (472011)
    Is this story perhaps "320Mbps over coax", rather than over copper? If not, I don't see the accomplishment, since Gig ethernet has already done the same over copper...
    • Re:Erm....? (Score:5, Informative)

      by York the Mysterious (556824) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:14PM (#16776367) Homepage
      You're assuming you can wire for Gig Ethernet. Many people out there have extensive installations that barely work with 100mbit. For instance the building I'm in was built in 1992 and wired for Ethernet EXCEPT (a big except) the installers stables the cabling the studs. Won't make it above 10meg and even 10 meg has errors left and right. The building had to be rewired so we could go 100Mbit, but that's 500 drops in 4 different structures with 4 wiring closets to pull back to. Stuff like this is a big deal for colleges. There's plenty of colleges that only have their internal phone lines the the rooms and are delivering internet connections via DSL technology from their closets. Schools with 2000 students on campus and sometimes in buildings on the historic registry. They REALLY want to be able to use that existing infrastructure to deliver a high speed connection.
      • by Sj0 (472011)
        You make an interesting point that I hadn't thought of before.

        Are phone installations in such buildings generally 4-wire though? Since phones only use 2 wires, I've seen a lot of phone infastructure that only uses 2 wires...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rojo^ (78973) *
          Actually, the other pair is for shielding and redundancy. If primary pair shorts, the Telecommunications techs can just switch the room to the other pair without having to run new drops. With thousands of tenants in student housing, as often as trouble tickets come in, not having to drop a new line into each room where there's a problem is a huge saver in productivity and response time.
      • All about the coax (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@NOsPam.xoxy.net> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:27PM (#16776595) Homepage Journal
        There's plenty of colleges that only have their internal phone lines the the rooms and are delivering internet connections via DSL technology from their closets. Schools with 2000 students on campus and sometimes in buildings on the historic registry. They REALLY want to be able to use that existing infrastructure to deliver a high speed connection.

        Bingo. I remember that my college had coax strung all over the place, mostly installed in the 70s and 80s, when CATV was still considered cool. (Actually, they had enough hardware to play at being their own cable TV company; in addition to giving you broadcast stations, there were even some "campus TV" stations with original programming, a scrolling bulletin-board, and campus radio-over-TV channel. They even had upstream-broadcasting amplifiers, so you could plug into any outlet with a special converter and broadcast live to the entire campus. *sigh* That was cool.) Since it was being installed at a time when much new construction was going on, there are a lot of places where coax goes and more recent computer network cables don't. Pulling new cable is an expensive proposition, and I think there could be a sizable niche market for any technology that allowed reasonably fast computer networking over existing cable TV coax.
  • So this looks to matter mostly to those with 4-wire phone lines, with one pair used for telephone. I can dig it. I doubt that anyone would run new coax for networking in their house, but they might just luck into it from a previous owner.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by inKubus (199753)
      Yeah, but in old houses the phone wiring is often substandard, spliced together multiple times, aged insulation, dirty copper, etc. So this ideal transfer rate would probably require retrofit in most of the places that would use it. So, while you're at it, just retrofit to the standard Ethernet. Networking that is not Ethernet generally fails. Ethernet is a good standard, although it does leave some things to be desired especially over crappy cables and connections. But worst case you negotiate a lower
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by DaWorm666 (553934)
        > ... you shouldn't have a problem with pulling a few legs of CAT6 or "fibre". I take it you don't actually live in a house, especially one with more than one floor? When you don't have a crawl space underneath, or an attic overhead, the only way to get the wire from place to place is rip out the wall, drill through the studs, and put the wall back up. Most people aren't going to do that if they can use another pair from the pre-installed phone wires. It certainly isn't "simple".
        • by PitaBred (632671)
          What I've ended up doing in that situation is making the hub room central, and then going up with all the feeds, and dropping them down the walls from the attic. It's a much longer cable run than you'd need if you came up through the floor, but it's the only way to do it without ripping out all the drywall and such. Ethernet cabling is low voltage, so you don't need junction boxes or anything even. It's not easy as the GP implies, but it's not necessarily as difficult as you imply, either. Just a few to
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Fnkmaster (89084)
        Networking that is not Ethernet generally fails.

        I disagree with this. Try HPNA 2.0, it does absolutely work, even with less than ideal wiring. It's far superior to powerline networking in that sense, which claims completely unrealistic bandwidth numbers.

        You may be right that in a really old home with really crappy wiring, it wouldn't work as well, but I've used HPNA in a couple of apartments with absolutely no problems.

        Of course, this is all 10Mbps HPNA 2.0, because no mainstream manufacturers have ever s
        • AUD $1,500 to wire up a house. We got it done a few weeks ago to replace our 11mbps wireless.
          This is a big house too and the wires went from one side of the house to the other on both stories.
          • I had my house done a while ago with Cat-6; it didn't even cost 1500. (I helped, though, cutting cable, mostly, splicing the ends, and finding studs, but that's about it.) My major expense there was patching the walls back up so they looked NICE (which is harder than it looked- usually we just cut holes as large as the jack panels and dropped the stuff in through the ceiling space between walls, but in the basement we had to go through the air ducting and it was a pain in the ass to drill and seal that back
        • by inKubus (199753)
          Or you do what the cable company does and run it all outside, with the 12" long 3/4 drill bit thru the house, pull cable, terminate, affix box, done. Just because you don't like getting your hands dirty doesn't mean it isn't easy or fast. So some company charges a few grand to do attic drops? Since you're a CTO you probably make enough money to get it done right, and that means Ethernet.

          They've been doing networking over coax since the 70/80's with the old digital equipment broadband stuff (which is the o
  • by superpulpsicle (533373) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:11PM (#16776289)
    320Mbps over coax!

    319Mbps download and 1Mbps upload for $99.99 per month.

    • Lucky bastard.... Comcast will give me 319.7 and 312 kbps upload...


      I wonder if they realize that there are many VALID uses of upload bandwidth, such as remote access? VNC works like crap at 312...
      • I wonder if sites like flickr will start to change this. Uploading a large 'photo album takes a long time, and I would have thought average customers would start noticing it soon.
  • Great but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fnkmaster (89084) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @06:17PM (#16776421)
    I can't even buy HPNA 2.0 hardware anymore. I use the old Netgear PE102 bridges to extend my ethernet across my Manhattan apartment and it is far and away the best technology for this. Wireless is great for using my laptop in the living room, but for my desktop in my bedroom it would suck - latency, intermittent interference, and the difficulty getting transmission through multiple structural walls in an apartment building make wireless useless for this purpose.

    HPNA 2.0 is great, but is 1) only 10Mbps, so not so impressive for higher bandwidth file transmission within my apartment and 2) no longer supported by ANY manufacturer because they mistakenly think that there is no demand due to wifi.

    802.11b/g/a serve a totally different and complementary purpose to HPNA, which is great for bridging more distant rooms in a house or apartment that would cost thousands to properly wire for ethernet. Two 100 dollar bridges do the trick beautifully.

    Powerline networking sucks in comparison - it was way overhyped and actual throughput is usually a fraction of the advertised throughput, whereas HPNA 2.0 worked exactly as promised and the PE102 boxes I use are so reliable it's sick.

    I would absolutely love to see even a 50 or 100 Mbps HPNA standard that some manufacturer will support!
    • I agree. (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I had 3 computers in my home using HPNA. One of the cards died recently and I just could not find any place selling them. So I had to lay down some RJ45 across the hallway just to remain connected. I tried wireless before I went with HPNA; it just wasn't good enough. My home is rather large, and no matter what the signal was going to have to go through at least 3 walls and a large room full of electronics to cover everyone. The signal did not make it through. Even going through just one wall to the ne
    • by dacheng81 (963473)
      I have been using HPNA2.0 ever since there were more than 1 computer at home, and I still use it. Buying new HPNA PCI cards were nearly impossible, and I didn't want to shell out hundreds of dollars to move to Powerline. Luckily I found it on eBay for something like $2 (plus reasonable shipping), so I got 4 more (1 for backup). HPNA is the only reason I haven't started using Linux (there simply isn't much support, if at all, and definitely no "out-of-the-box" support). Nobody supports HPNA anymore. If
    • If you really need HPNA bridges there are tons of cheap 2Wire gateways on ebay. Put them in bridge mode and lock the line pair you want to use. If you're using DSL, lock it to the pair that's not being used. Sure they're big, but they're readily available and there's no driver required since they're bridging to ethernet.

      Also, 2Wire has several gateway models with HPNA v3 and they'll no doubt adopt 3.1 soon enough.
  • Prey tell, how many different acronyms can we cram into networking -- MoCA, PNA, triple-play?

    Ethernet and TCPIP are more than enough internet unless you're trying to make a sandwich.

  • I'm just pining for Verizon's FiOS and have it nearly tatooed on my pecker, so don't confuse with lamer copper.
  • by GigsVT (208848)
    , but in the basement we had to go through the air ducting

    Ouch, hope you used plenum rated cable.
  • Well our house was two story with many jacks on each story. It was rather difficult to wire.
    One cable goes outside stapled to the bottom of a balcony for ~5m.

    We got the electricians to do it along with some antenna coax, powerpoints and a few other things at the same time.
  • by tylernt (581794)
    There is plenty of signal power on the line to power up to five phones in your home.
    Assuming each has an REN of 1.0, but now we're getting pedantic. ;)
  • In California, we have a word for BASEMENT. It's: CONCRETE SLAB.

    No attic, either. It's VERY hard to do that sort of thing here.

  • by Ucklak (755284)
    Isn't the ring signal 90 volts or something like that?
  • by modemboy (233342)
    Because of the way the POTS transmits. It takes 8000 samples per second of 8 bits, thus providing 64,000 bits of info, minus overhead you get 56k (53k).
    DSL and this use a different encoding scheme on the data using more modern techniques such as Frequency Division Multiplexing. Also I believe local loops have more bandwidth on the local loop, the lower rate for telephones was implemented for long distance hauls.
    So while POTS is limited to 56k it has nothing to do with the wire, it has to do with the telepho
  • by modemboy (233342)
    Because of the way the POTS transmits. It takes 8000 samples per second of 8 bits, thus providing 64,000 bits of info, minus overhead you get 56k (53k).
    DSL and this use a different encoding scheme on the data using more modern techniques such as Frequency Division Multiplexing. Also I believe local loops have more bandwidth on the local loop, the lower rate for telephones was implemented for long distance hauls.
    So while POTS is limited to 56k it has nothing to do with the wire, it has to do with the telepho
  • by alx5000 (896642)
    Shannon called, he left you a message:

    R = B log2 ( 1 + SNR ) - channel capacity equation

    Change B for 3Khz (approx.) and SNR for 45 dB (min, IIRC), and you'll get your R = 56kbps. If you can't get that much SNR, you'll have a slower bitrate.

    If, OTOH, you increase SNR and, especially, bandwidth, you'll get a higher bitrate. Laws of physics aren't broken; modern systems just use higher frequencies and more bandwidth than 300-3400 Hz.
  • by MoOsEb0y (2177)
    You're confusing 4 kHz of bandwidth with much wider bandwidths.
  • by perthling (200909)
    53kbps is the maximum using analogue transmission
  • by cptgrudge (177113)

    Too expensive for consumer use, which is what this is supposed to be for?

  • Me and a friend run the cable company here up at big white, local kelowna ski hill. Anyone have any more info in this as it pertains to cable companies? I'd do the research myself but I'm off duty ;)

    We have cable (rg6) run through every building up here, so maybe this would make a cheaper alternative to DOCSIS cable modems, to just put one in the basement, then some kind of HPNA switch/inserter?
  • They are actually two separate issues.

    Voice lines use a defined set of frequencies on the copper. There is a limit on what you can send/receive just using those frequencies.

    DSL, HomePNA, etc. use different (higher) set of frequencies. These frequencies do not overlap with the voice frequencies. There are some disadvantages of course; telephone wires are typically relatively electrically noisy, so if you're trying to push large amount of data around you have to be able to handle the noise. The extra


  • The DC is 24V, which is not high voltage in anyone's world. The ring signal is a bit more, IIRC 120V AC which I have gotten zapped by once :-) There were older phone switches (1970's) which did NOT provide the 24V DC power, and where a customer premises power supply was needed for outgoing calls.

    An analogue phone line works entirely off the two wires, as many posters have noted the second pair is normally used for a second line, or is left open.

    The red / black / green / yellow colour scheme is only used for
  • by asuffield (111848)

    Seems kinda redundant, since most new houses are being run with cat6 cable.

    Where, and for how many millions do they sell?

    Cat6 is no joke. This is not something your average building contractor can handle. It is harder to work with than fibre. Explaning the physical behaviour of the cable requires quantum physics (most of the energy travels outside the copper conductor, as an electromagnetic field). Everything has to be done precisely correctly. The way you handle the cable while pulling it. The order in whi

  • by DaWorm666 (553934)
    With three floors, those drops can get very long. Longer than GigE can run on inexpensive cable. With older homes, there is always trouble running new wire.
  • by empaler (130732)
    Interestingly, my networking course covered that this afternoon.

    Non, I just have to get up and be bright for day three in four hours, so I don't know why I'm on /.
    Blerg.
  • by empaler (130732)
    This is all the info I should have had on the whiteboard today.
  • by Fnkmaster (89084)
    Ummm, I live in a 26th floor apartment in Manhattan. So your proposal is irrelevant. I said "apartments" in my post. And yes, I have done the "drill through the wall" approach in an office/warehouse building before, and where it's possible, it's fairly easy.

    Second, the floorplan here is long and winding, and wiring it up with ethernet would be quite a project. I was being rhetorical when I said "I have no idea how to do it" - I simply mean that it is non-trivial for a normal, basic, semi-handy guy to do
  • 53kbps IS the maximum when working with an analog signal; and that's only if your download is comming from a digital source before your telco turns it back into analog... DSL however is not analog, it's digital. You can transmit far more data when it start and ends in the digital relm.
  • Yeah. It was sadly underutilized at the time I was there. The possibilities truly should have been endless.

    The system was very simply but elegantly designed, though. There was a single "head end" with the various pieces of source equipment for the different channels, and the main amplifiers, which fed down to distribution amplifiers in the buildings.

    What was cool -- and I don't know if this exists in most cable systems or was just something exotic -- was that the amplifiers scattered through the system ampl
  • by chris234 (59958)
    Well, because DSL doesn't use phone lines. Oh, sure, it uses the same wiring, but it's not a phone connection like an analog modem uses.
  • by cptgrudge (177113)

    Sorry, I call bullshit [tiaonline.org]. Namely, because of this part:

    How can I determine the installation requirements for Cat 6 such as termination, minimum radius around corners, proximity to electrical devices (ballasts, wiring, etc.)?

    The requirements for installation of Category 6 are essentially the same as the requirements for Category 5e. Installation practices are in the TIA-568-B.1 and TIA-569-A documents.

    As long as you use hardware that is cat6 compliant, which has a small cost premium, you'll be fine

  • Back in my day we had turn the crankshaft to get the 6502 in our Apple I kits working.
  • Modems could only use 53kbps (or whatever it was) because the modems were actually using the telephone line to communicate. That is, they were making noises for other modems to listen to. The phone system wasn't set up for high fidelity audio transmissions. If I remember right, the high end cut off frequency was 8 kHz. (For a bandwidth that amounts to about 7 kHz). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist-Shannon_sampl ing_theorem [wikipedia.org]Nyquist's Theorem explains the low data rate.

    DSL modems use much higher freq

  • In most cases you can either run wiring for 100bT (GigE if you have broadband) or set up a wireless net that will give you acceptable performance for less effort. Because standard equipment has a titanic installed base, it is broadly available, cheap, mature, and will be supported for a long time.

    This HomePNA stuff is niche-market, because almost nobody has a problem that can't already be solved with cheap existing technology. That means it will never enjoy the broad support that the mass-market technolog
  • When it comes to home (as opposed to office, dorm, high-performence) networking, cheap & easy is what'll win. I can forsee that the typical domestic home will choose networking over their powerlines. A "professional" installation might entail replacing the breaker box, with no need to run any wire at all.

    Granted, home networking might use a bit of ethernet in places where it's desirable to have a high speed connection, but let's face it... The internet-enabled rice-cooker doesn't need to plug into t

  • You know that this post of yours was the one for breaking /. database, do you? Quite an achievement!
  • Your comment ID indicates that you broke /.! gratz!

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