HomePlug, the high speed powerline standard gets new life. Intellon, the inventor of HomePlug and chipset provider, just announced an 85 Mbps version, up from the current 14 Mbps, at the Intel Developers Forum this week. Meanwhile, it seems that various 14 Mbps hardware can be had for cheap by searching around the Internet.
The new version may be just the ticket to supplementing or even supplanting WiFi. True, you don’t get the total freedom of roaming like with WiFi, but virtually every AC outlet in your house is a tap, not to mention more secure. Just to be sure, HomePlug supports encryption in case your neighbor is on the same circuit or Johnny hacker comes along and plugs a little tap into an outdoor outlet.
Even the current “low speed” version is more than adequate for extending the reach of your WiFi to dead spots without relying on inefficient 802.11 repeaters that chew up bandwidth. Think of HomePlug as sort of a backbone for your WiFi.
Intellon claims to be working on their third generation chipset that will hit 200 Mbps, enough bandwidth to carry HDTV. I can’t wait to eliminate the cable feeds. Now that would be shocking.