PORTLAND, USA: The HomePlug Powerline Alliance, the driving force for global powerline network technology, announced the approval and publication of the HomePlug Green PHY (HomePlug GP) specification for Smart Grid applications.
HomePlug GP is a low power, highly reliable, cost-optimized powerline networking specification targeting Smart Grid connectivity for home energy management to devices such as HVAC, smart meters, appliances and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles.
HomePlug GP was developed with direct input from major utility companies and appliance manufacturers including Consumers Energy, Duke Energy, GE, Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison. Their input was used to optimize the technology to meet the challenges and requirements for real-world smart energy deployments.
"Utility companies told us loud and clear their requirements in the areas of performance, reliability, coverage, price and footprint for a successful Smart Grid solution, and we listened,” said Rob Ranck, president of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. “Another key requirement was an interoperable powerline network and our technology roadmap ensures complete interoperability between current and next-generation HomePlug AV and IEEE 1901 technology, which gives customers confidence that devices will communicate now and into the future.”
“HomePlug powerline network technology can play a key role meeting the reliability and interoperability requirements we have connecting meters, HVAC systems and other home devices to the emerging Smart Grid,” said Wayne Longcore, Director of Architecture and Standards for Consumers Energy, a major Michigan utility. “HomePlug Green PHY enables smart grid devices to freely communicate with other devices on the home area network. We appreciate HomePlug’s approach to crafting their technology to the utility industry’s needs.”
HomePlug GP is a key component of the HomePlug technology portfolio that includes the current HomePlug AV broadband powerline technology, and will include HomePlug AV2, the Gigabit-class next-generation powerline technology specification, due for completion in early 2011. All three specifications are fully interoperable with each other and with the IEEE’s 1901 powerline standard, now completing ratification.
HomePlug AV is baseline technology for the IEEE 1901 powerline standard. The HomePlug Powerline Alliance will serve as the compliance and certification body for IEEE 1901, much as the Wi-Fi Alliance certifies 802.11 products.
HomePlug GP is a profile of HomePlug AV, which makes it easier for multiple silicon suppliers to produce GP chips quickly. HomePlug GP delivers scalable data rates with a peak sustained throughput of about 6 Mbps, ample bandwidth to support IP networking and IPv6.
The specification also includes features to reduce power consumption by about 75 percent compared to HomePlug AV solutions. The ZigBee and HomePlug Smart Energy liaison is creating a common application layer for HomePlug and ZigBee devices enabling interoperability between those wireless and powerline devices.
HomePlug devices currently account for over 80 percent of the world's broadband powerline communications market, with over 45 million devices sold to date and shipments forecasted to reach 60 million by year’s end. Additionally, more than 50 service providers throughout the world are already utilizing HomePlug technology to deploy broadband, IPTV and triple-play offerings.