HomeGrid Forum may not be a household name, but if you are looking to build-out the best home network imaginable then you may want to check out their technology. HomeGrid Forum is made up of many major companies from around the world such as AT&T, Intel, Best Buy, Motorola, Marvell, and others.
Using G.hn, a home networking standard that you can learn more about from Wikipedia, you can stream up to 1 gigabit of data across any wire in your home. That means everything now becomes a potential network connection – power outlets, coax connectors, and phone jacks – creating a whole-home smart grid.
Products are now coming to market that will make all of this work. Consumers just need to look for products with the HomeGrid Forum logo on them to know that they are compatible. Products from different vendors and even different chipset makers will all work flawlessly together. HomeGrid Forums promises this new technology will be priced to compete with current solutions already on the market. You can get more information at HomeGrid Forum and see demos of the technology in use in the video below.
Interview by Jon Wurm of F5 Live.
Support our coverage sponsors:
32% off your new order @ GoDaddy: go32off1
$1.00 / mo WordPress Hosting with a free domain! Promo Code: press4
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain! Promo Code: geeks12
GoDaddy Promo Codes always save you money, check out my Promo Codes Today
Podcast (specmedia): Play in new window
I recently upgraded my home network from 100 Mb/s to 1 Gb/s by replacing the switches. The main house switch is an unmanaged 1U rack-mounted switch, with a second desktop switch. Out of pure interest, I took the opportunity to do a little bit of speed testing to see how much of a difference upgrading the switches made in terms of actual data transfer speeds.
A few basics to avoid confusion – b/s is bits per second and B/s is bytes per second. All of the reported figures will be in MB, so converting b/s to B/s:
Fast Ethernet = 100 Mb/s = 12.5 MB/s
Gigabit Ethernet = 1 Gb/s = 125 MB/s
100 Mb/s and 1 Gb/s refer to the speed of the underlying technology but data transfers at these rates are never achieved because of protocol overheads and such. As a baseline, if I write a large file (8 GB) to my PC’s local disk, I get a data transfer of between 50-55 MB/s.
On my network, I have two Buffalo Linkstation NAS devices, one with a Fast Ethernet interface and one with a Gigabit Ethernet interface. 2 GB’s worth of data would be written to each of these devices with different Ethernet switches in place to see what actual data transfer speeds would be achieved. The following Linux command was used five times in each situation and the result averaged.
time dd if=/dev/zero of=testfile bs=16k count=16384
||Data Rate to Fast NAS
||Data Rate to Gigabit NAS
|TP-Link TL-SG1016 (Gigabit)
|D-Link DES-1008D (Fast)
|Netgear GS605 (Gigabit)
I also carried out two further tests:
- With Gigabit Ethernet only, I wrote to both NAS devices at the same time. The data transfer speeds were unaffected.
- I connected the two Gigabit Ethernet switches in series and wrote to the NAS. Transfer speeds were reduced by 1 MB/s on the Gigabit NAS to 20 MB/s. The change on the Fast Ethernet NAS was minimal.
There are several things that can be deduced from the information shown in the table above and the other tests.
- Actual data transfer rates are considerably less than the theoretical maximums.
- There’s no performance difference between rack-mounted and desktop switches.
- The write speed of the NAS can be a limiting factor.
- Gigabit Ethernet switches give large improvements with Gigabit Ethernet devices.
- Gigabit Ethernet switches give small improvements even with Fast Ethernet devices.
- Keep the number of switches in the network path to a minimum.
If you have a large area to cover with your WiFi router then you have probably experienced “dead zones” in parts of your home, or at the least, areas of low connectivity. You may have looked into ways to solve this and discovered Repeaters, which can be finicky to get working correctly and compatibility with your current router can be problematic or non-existent. Those problems may be solved by a new product coming out soon. Among the things announced by Netgear at CES is the Universal WiFi Range Extender WN3000RP.
The WN3000RP is promising to eliminate “dead zones” and provide more network bandwidth for entertainment, gaming and social networking applications. According to their press release:
If there are rooms in the house that have limited or no wireless coverage because they are too far away from the router, the Universal WiFi Range Extender boosts the existing WiFi signal in order to reach wirelessly to these ‘dead zones’ in the home. Consumers need to simply place the product between the router and areas of the home where additional WiFi access and bandwidth are needed for activities like video streaming on a tablet or smartphone.
Netgear is saying the Universal WiFi Range Extender is that it will be compatible with all existing routers – not just Netgear brand. That’s a big leap forward over most existing Repeaters. You can plug it into any standard electrical outlet in your home. Even better you could move it around any time you need to. It’s also compatible with all current wireless security methods. Here are some of the hightlights.
- Extend Network — Extend Internet access throughout your home for wireless devices like iPads®, iPods®, laptops, smart phones, game consoles and TVs
- Enhance Existing Equipment — Keep your current equipment and improve coverage to eliminate wireless “dead zones”
- Plug-and-play — Sets up in minutes, no need to insert a CD or plug in Ethernet cables
- Push ‘N’ Connect — Push ‘N’ Connect using Wi-Fi Protected Setup® (WPS) connects computers and/or routers to the Extender quickly and securely
- Optimal Coverage — Link-rate LED locates the best placement spot to provide optimal wireless coverage
- Compatible — Works with any wireless b/g/n router or gateway from NETGEAR and other brands
- Superior Security — Works with all security standards including WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, mixed mode and WEP
- Connect — Ethernet port allows the Extender to function as a bridge to connect to home theater devices
- NETGEAR Green features — Power on/off button, 80% recycled packaging
The Universal WiFi Range Extender should be available in March of this year for an MSRP of $99.99. I have not yet seen any pre-ordering available, but it’s likely that Amazon and others will make that available soon.
Remember the early 90′s dialup internet? Back in those days, you were likely using a US Robotics modem. US Robotics was taken over by 3Com in 1997. Now, 12 years later, 3com itself is being bought up by Hewlett Packard (HP).
HP announced that they will pay $2.7 Billion in cash for 3com Corporation.
This will put HP in the Networking Hardware business. David Donatelli, H-P’s vice president in charge of the corporate-computer division, said 3Com has a better set of networking products for large corporate clients than H-P currently sells and a market share of more than 30% in the China networking market. With the deal, Mr. Donatelli said, “we get industry-leading products.”
“By acquiring 3Com, we are accelerating the execution of our Converged Infrastructure strategy and bringing disruptive change to the networking industry. By combining HP ProCurve offerings with 3Com’s extensive set of solutions, we will enable customers to build a next-generation network infrastructure that supports customer needs from the edge of the network to the heart of the data center.”
Read the press release from 3com here