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Special Bulletin: Emerging Wireless Networking Standards and the Digital Home

Posted: 05.10.04
Peddie says typical home wireless networks two years away from handling high multimedia demand and providing true customer satisfaction.

TIBURON, CA—May 10, 2004—Wireless is a significant enabling technology creating new markets and generating billions of dollars. One of those markets is home networking where wireless technologies bring much needed ease-of-use coupled with convenience. It's an emerging market segment rife with opportunity and risk, and it is the focus of the latest bulletin from Jon Peddie Research: Emerging Wireless Networking Standards and the Digital Home.

The exciting potential of multimedia—video, still pictures, music, movies—married to networking opens the door to sophisticated home entertainment applications: music anywhere and everywhere in the house, LCD picture frames updated regularly, TV when you want it and where you want it.

Unfortunately, in spite of what you might read, the wireless technology available today is hardly up to the heavy demands of digital/multimedia. "We believe that at least two wired and/or wireless networks will be required to create an integrated home media network," writes Peter Forman in the recent bulletin from Jon Peddie Research, Wireless Networking for Home Media.

Existing and emerging standards for home networking include:

Wired local area networks, or LANs (802.3 10/100 and 1000baseT Ethernet);

No new wires LANs like HomePNA, CableHome, and HomePlug;

Wireless LANs, or WLANs (802.11a,b,g and e);

Wireless personal area networks, or WPANs (802.15.3a also known as UWB, and Bluetooth); and

Wireless metropolitan area networks, or WMANs (802.16a and e also known as WiMax).

While there are many new and established companies building home networking products, those companies that recognize the challenges in this market will be most successful. We believe that there may be a gap of one to two years between the emergence of strong demand for home networks capable of supporting multiple video and audio streams and the commercial availability of equipment based on a LAN standard that can handle the requirements.

The new bulletin from Jon Peddie Research, Emerging Wireless Networking Standards and the Digital Home, defines the requirements for the home multimedia network. It describes the various networking protocols available or being readied for market and evaluates their suitability for multimedia applications. The report also includes a special sections on companies creating their own "standards plus" approaches which improve the capabilities of current standards and could well supply important pieces in the wireless puzzle.