Home PNA "Phoneline Networking" Round Upby Greg Hanna on July 21, 2000 11:10 PM EST
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Since the traffic is standard Ethernet up until the physical layer of the OSI model, the HomePNA standard can work with any existing Ethernet-compatible software. It also means that a HomePNA network and an Ethernet network can be connected to each other by a bridge, as opposed to requiring a layer 2 or 3 device, like a switch or router.
The new 2.0 standard boasts a peak throughput of 10Mbps, the same as standard Ethernet LANs like you'd find in most offices. This is a significant improvement over the 1.0 standard, which had a peak throughput of only 1Mbps. Although that speed was fine for network gaming and printer sharing, the sharing of large files and the addition of more computers on the home network (HomePNA networks can currently handle up to 25) has made the jump to 10Mbps necessary. Large files transfer up to 10 times as fast, and the increased bandwidth of the new standard allows more computers to use the network simultaneously without killing the speed.
One very important note: Since HomePNA is a standard, older 1.0 equipment and new 2.0 equipment will work together just fine and, also, any new specifications put out by HomePNA will be backwards compatible with the existing standards. This ensures that you won't absolutely have to change your equipment every time a technology breakthrough happens.
The wiring of the HomePNA network is even simpler than a standard Ethernet network. No hubs are needed, as each device can be directly wired to the next. There are two ports on each card, which are completely interchangeable (the ports on the Netgear and Intel cards are marked 'phone' and 'wall', but they are wired together anyway). There are several ways to wire your HomePNA network, some of which require the use of both available ports. The diagram below illustrates a possible HomePNA setup in a typical house. Each machine can be connected using both ports in the following ways: with one port connected to a telephone and the other connected to a wall jack (Computer A); with one port connected to a jack and the other connected directly to another machine using a regular male-to-male phone cord, two of which are included in the kit (Computer B); or with both ports connected directly to other machines (Computer C).