"A Part of the HomeGrid Forum"


Facts about HomePNA

HomePNA Applications

Features and Benefits


Q: What is HomePNA?

A: HomePNA is an alliance of leading technology companies working to promote the adoption of a high performance existing-wire home networking standard for applications such as triple-play service deployments. Currently focused on operation over coax cable and phone wire, the Alliance creates internationally recognized, open and interoperable standards and best practices to facilitate interoperability and convergence of all networked IP data in the home.

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Q: Is HomePNA a standards body?

A: HomePNA is not a standards body. It instead relies on established global standards organizations like the ITU to set formal standards.

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Q: Who are the member companies?

A: HomePNA membership includes dozens of international companies spanning the networking, telecommunications, semiconductor, test equipment, software, service provider and consumer electronics industries. Our member companies include industry leaders such as AT&T, Cisco and Motorola. HomePNA is an open alliance and encourages all interested companies to join.

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Q: How do companies join HomePNA?

A: It's easy. We simply need your signature on the membership agreement and registration form. Members pay nominal annual dues which cover HomePNA expenses. There are two categories of associate membership:

  • Adopter - companies that implement HomePNA's technology
  • Participant - companies that participate in technology development and may contribute technology to develop and enhance the Alliance specifications

To join or learn more about member benefits, visit our Join page.

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Q: Why was HomePNA formed?

A: HomePNA was formed to ensure the development of a consumer-friendly, low-cost, high-speed "existing-wires" solution for home networking over phone wires and coax cables. Our mission attained new meaning and importance with the recent and rapidly growing trend for service providers to offer triple play services which drove a critical industry need for a robust high-speed home networking technology for distributing the services throughout the home. Our goals are to achieve industry standardization and interoperability.

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Q: What does HomePNA stand for?

A: HomePNA technology was originally for networking in the home using existing phone wires. PNA stood for Phone wire Networking Alliance. With the release of our 3.1 and newer specifications, HomePNA now works over coax cables and phone wire wiring. We kept HomePNA (or HPNA) but it now stands for home networking over phone wires and coax.

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Q: What specifications does HomePNA develop?

A: HomePNA develops MAC and Physical layer protocol specifications for networking over existing-wires. We also develop specifications for certification testing and for the critical passive components that are required to implement a HomePNA-compatible device to facilitate the development of high-performance products and increase end-consumer satisfaction. For more information on the HomePNA MAC and PHY, visit the HomePNA HomePNA Blog

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Q: What are the first- and second-generation specifications?

A: The first generation specification is HomePNA's 1.0, which operates at 1 Mbps. The 1.0 technology was released in the fall of 1998.

The 2.1 specification is a faster 32 Mbps technology that features priority-based quality of service also referred to as class of service (CoS) and is fully backward compatible with the 1 Mbps technology. The 2.0 specification was published on December 1, 1999 and standardized by the ITU. Both of these technologies have been made obsolete by the release of HomaPNA 3.1 which features guaranteed QoS, remote management and diagnostics, and operates at up to 320Mbps over both coax and phone wires.

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Q: What are the advantages of HomePNA 3.1?

A: Building on the industry-leading HomePNA 3.0 specification, HomePNA 3.1 enables service providers to simultaneously distribute triple-play IPTV, Voice over IP (VoIP) and Internet data services as well as other networked entertainment data in the home at even higher speeds while keeping costs low.

With 320 Mbps data rates, HomePNA home networks can accommodate the future bandwidth requirements of service providers as they enhance their offerings with additional features and capabilities. HomePNA 3.1 operates over coax cable as well as phone wires and provides multi-spectrum operation, adding VDSL coexistence to the ADSL, POTs and broadcast TV channel spectrum coexistence provided by HomePNA 3.0. Multi-spectrum operation also allows multiple HomePNA networks to coexist on the same wiring in the home.

The technology is also being used over coax and phone wires to provide low-cost high-speed Internet access to apartment units in multi-dwelling units (MDUs) worldwide.

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Q: Are there any established standards for home phone wire and coax cable networking?

A: Yes, the ITU has standardized most HomePNA technology (ITU Recommendations) for both phone wires and coax cable.

In 2005, HomePNA announced the formal approval by the ITU of Recommendation G.9954, which standardized the HomePNA 3.0 specification, a critical technical milestone creating a single, worldwide standard for high-performance multimedia home networking. The HomePNA 3.1 specification adding operation over coax, 320Mbps and multiple spectrum (band) operation was standardized as Recommendation G.9954 1-07 in January 2007.

The G.9954 standards covers extensions and enhancements to the networking technology defined by older ITU Recommendations G.989.1, G.989.2 and G.989.3.

Recommendation G.989.1 (Phone wire Networking Transceivers - Foundation), based on HomePNA 2 technology, was the first to cover specifications for home phone wire networking, detailing key characteristics of devices designed for the transmission of data over existing phone wire wiring within the home. Recommendation G.989.2 covers the payload format and link layer requirements for phone wire networking transceivers and Recommendation G.989.3 covers the isolation function of phone wire networking transceivers.

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Q: Are all HomePNA specifications standardized under the ITU?

A: No, certification and plugfest test specifications and best practices are only available to HomePNA members. The Alliance continues to develop new specifications. Standardization of these new specifications lags development so to obtain the most recent technology, companies must become members.

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Q: How can I get HomePNA's technical specifications?

A: Join HomePNA as an "Adopter" or "Participant" member and gain access to the specifications.

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Q: What types of HomePNA products are available now?

A: HomePNA Member Products available today include residential gateways, IP set-top boxes, Ethernet to HomePNA bridges, optical network terminals (ONTs) and telco test equipment.

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Q: How does HomePNA ensure interoperability between various products?

A: HomePNA has a rigorous two-stage testing and certification methodology for interoperability. First, member companies perform extensive testing to verify functionality and conformance to the HomePNA certification specifications. Second, HomePNA checks products to ensure that they comply with critical parameters. Interoperability testing sessions take place with other HomePNA certified products in regularly scheduled "Plugfests". When products pass the certification process, they receive HomePNA's official "seal of approval" and may use the HomePNA logo.

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Q. What are "triple-play" services?

A: Triple-play services are voice (often Voice over IP or VoIP), video (TV) and Internet access delivered by the same service provider and packaged for the consumer at a single, economical price. Wireless phone service could be bundled into the package to add a fourth service.

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Q: Can HomePNA be used in multi-dwelling units (MDUs)?

A: HomePNA 3.1 technology is a very cost-effective alternative to other MDU access applications. The technology's capabilities enable products with advanced features required for this application while remaining low cost compared to alternatives such as DOCSIS. The ability to operate over both phone wires and coax cables adds deployment flexibility.

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Q: What percentage of home consumers can implement home networking over phone wires?

A: The technology operates with computers and devices up to 1,000 feet apart and is ideal for homes up to 10,000 square feet (99.5 percent of homes in the U.S.). Signal propagation over coax is even better than over phone wire.

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Q: How many devices can be connected to the network?

A: The HomePNA 3.1 specification supports up to 63 devices on a network.

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Q: What are the benefits of home networking?

A: The benefits of home networking include:

  • Distribution of digital real-time entertainment data such as IPTV throughout the house, which includes IPTV received from a service provider over broadband as well as data that originates within a home such as from a PVR
  • Convenience and cost savings of networked whole-home DVRs and follow-me TV
  • Simultaneous Internet access for multiple computers and users
  • VoIP deployment within the home
  • Printer, scanner and other peripheral sharing
  • File and application sharing across laptop to desktop, laptop to PDA, laptop to laptop, etc.
  • Easy file backup and restoration from networked PCs or storage devices
  • Networked gaming

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Q: What is Guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS)?

A: Guaranteed QoS is a necessity for deploying new services such as broadcast quality IPTV. "Real-time" data such as this is often streamed to a customer's home for display on a TV screen without interruption. Unlike computer data, the nature of the real-time data does not allow it to be re-transmitted from the server if it is in error. It must also arrive at the display device when it is required to avoid glitches on the screen. With Guaranteed QoS, data is sent to the client with a predetermined error rate, jitter and latency.

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Q. What does "existing-wires" home networking mean?

A: The home network operates over existing phone wires and coax cable. Consumers can enjoy high-speed services without expensive wiring installation that puts holes in walls and floors.

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Q: Doesn't wireless technology already do this?

A: Wireless technologies such as 802.11a/b/g/n cannot provide the reliability or consistency of highly effective data rates (referred to as user throughput) and low error rates required to deploy new services such as IPTV over an entire home. Consumers have a low tolerance for transmission errors and tend to file complaints or drop service when the service experiences glitches. Although wireless home networking continues to grow in Internet access applications, its limitations prevent it from becoming the leading technology for triple-play offerings for most service-provider installations. Wireless technologies complement and interoperate with HomePNA, providing a mobile interconnect for laptop PCs or cordless phones.

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Q: Why is operation over both phone wire and coax cable important?

A: Operation over coax and phone wire can lower installation costs by allowing every coax and phone jack to be a potential network connection. Cable adoption in the home is far from universal, while almost every home and MDU in America and much of the rest of the world has phone wires installed. In addition, the coax installed in an MDU may be the property of the building's owner who already has a contract to provide TV services. Operation over phone wire can provide a service provider with an alternate means of access to customers who live in MDUs.

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Q: What about networking over powerlines?

A: As with wireless, powerline home networking involves sending high-speed signals over a very poor unregulated medium that is susceptible to interference from many sources making it unsuitable for deploying many real-time high data rate video streams in a home. The HomePNA HomePNA Blog contains additional information on home networking technology tradeoffs.

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Q: What are the benefits of HomePNA 3.1 certified solutions?

A: HomePNA technology provides the fastest existing-wires data rates of up to 320 Mbps on existing phone wires and coax cables.

Benefits include:

  • Lower costs to providers AND consumers through bundled service delivery
  • Low equipment costs
  • Works seamlessly in virtually all varieties of home wiring situations
  • Easy to install and set up
  • Highest data rates (up to 320 Mbps)
  • Supports comprehensive home network remote management and diagnostics via the Broadband Forum's TR-69 Recommendation
  • Supports networked whole-home DVRs for follow-me TV
  • True Guaranteed QoS "Triple-Play Service" -- voice, video and data
  • Millions of HomePNA products installed worldwide
  • Open International ITU standard

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Q: Is HomePNA networking compatible with other technologies such as wireless, DSL, cable modem, and satellite?

A: A key objective of HomePNA is to coexist with all available and emerging home Internet access solutions. HomePNA 3.1 can coexist with analog telephone service (POT, ISDN, ADSL). It also coexists with VDSL, broadcast television channels, and satellite services over coax. HomePNA 3.1 does not, however, coexist with DOCSIS. When installing a cable modem in the same home as HomePNA 3.1, the cable modem should be isolated on a separate coax "drop". DOCSIS is not present in many parts of the world where HomePNA is being deployed over coax.

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