back to article Future PCs to integrate powerline Ethernet

How is a home computer going to connect to the internet in 2008? Intel has been keen to tout the as-yet-non-standard 802.11n as the future of wireless connectivity, but it's now factoring in powerline Ethernet too. It plans to integrated the HomePlug AV 200Mbps powerline standard into next year's desktop designs. The feature …


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  1. Andrew Mountain

    PC World Techies

    Don't you mean a PC world Techie will now no longer need to leave the office to wreck your machine??? :-)

  2. JP

    I may be mis-understanding this...

    But if EVERYONE has powerline Ethernet, doesn't that make the mains a huge network, and anyone plugging into your mains, or on your same mains supply, able to gain access to your network?

  3. Simon

    Good idea

    At last, a sensible solution when saturated wireless networks make the technology un-usable.

    But how will this be implemented? As part of the PSU? Or will the be a second mains plug just for the purposes of ethernet? IF it's part of the PSU, what will the price premium be? Will we be able to buy off-the-shelf replacements if the PSU dies?

    JP - ethernet over powerline is not a particular security concern because you can change the passwords on the equipment to match, thus giving you a closed network.

    In the home environment, and in many corporate environments, you've already "cleared" security if you are on the premises. All it does is provide a more reliable way of connecting to the network. It doesn't get in the way of user authentication. If you need network credentials to access resources, ethernet over powerline doesn't really make any difference to the security setup.

    In any case, electricity meters suppress the signal, so there's no chance of your neighbours stealing net access from you.

    VPro will be a wonderful technology when it is rolled out properly to mass market. But if PC World techs can stuff up a PC in person, what makes anyone think it would be different operating remotely? There's still plenty of potential for wiping a user's important files (read My Documents, email etc) - data deletion is something they appear to be good at.

  4. Chris Cheale

    yeah yeah yeah

  5. A J Stiles

    I worry for OS neutrality

    Existing ethernet-over-mains adaptors are standalone devices with a 13 amp plug and an RJ45 socket. They use your existing NIC (and its drivers), and all adaptors on the same ring main look like the ports of a non-switching hub.

    There are already Linux, BSD and Solaris drivers for many conventional NICs, 16-bit, 32-bit and on-board. Contrast this with wireless networking, where the best you can hope for is often just a "wrapper" which interfaces the closed-source Windows driver to your OS. This of course makes kernel debugging impossible.

    Can we be sure that on-board mains networking will be truly OS-neutral (using existing drivers, or new drivers for which Source Code is available) and that this is not all a cunning plot intended to force us all into buying Windows Vista?

  6. Eric

    Two words

    "In any case, electricity meters suppress the signal, so there's no chance of your neighbours stealing net access from you."

    Two words: Extension cord :)

  7. Dillon Pyron


    Of course it'll be COTS. It'll cost an arm and a leg out the *** because it'll be somewhere in the 750 W range. And that UPS you just bought? I wonder if it's wave shaping will work with it.

    All sorts of questions that need to be answered.

    Oh yeah, in many homes in the US, the power brought in is 240V, which is then split to 120V. Which means you have two independent circuits. Appliances like driers, stoves and oven solve that problem, assuming you don't have gas driers, stoves and ovens.

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