New technology for wireless internet connections

People who have had trouble installing wireless internet connections in their homes might soon find their sockets rather a telephone line is the solution.

New technology for wireless internet connections

People who have had trouble installing wireless internet connections in their homes might soon find their sockets rather a telephone line is the solution.

A new technology, called Powerline, is providing an alternative to DSL, WLAN and cable internet service, although it has yet to prove stiff competition. It's main benefit is that it can get around access problems sometimes caused by housing construction.

US houses are usually timber frame buildings, meaning wireless connections are easily made there. But the situation is different in old European houses with really thick walls.

"The thick walls in German construction sometimes block those (wireless) signals," says Manfred Breul of BITKOM, a Berlin-based industrial association. Steel in the walls can also interfere with signals, says Andreas Nolde, of chip.de.

Electricity lines are not designed for transferring large amounts of data, says Breul. But once the signal is brought into a building, the electricity connections can be used to get around thickwalls.

"Electricity lines are becoming pretty popular for setting up networks within buildings," says Breul. "A high frequency signal is sent along the copper wires of the electricity lines and is then delivered through sockets," says Christoph Roesseler of Devolo, an Aachen-based service provider. It essentially makes use of a pre- existing infrastructure in the wall.

At least two adapters are required for a basic connection, though one adapter per computer is needed for larger networks. One adapter is attached to the DSL modem. The second goes into a socket near the computer, which is connected via an ethernet cable or a wireless connection. A household can have as many adapters as there are computers.

What's more "IP telephones can also be supported," says Breul.

"The more devices connected to one outlet, the weaker the signal," says Nolde, which means it's better to devote one outlet to a computer, rather than using power from one socket for multiple devices simultaneously. To make up for that shortcoming, the system provides good security.

"The signals are automatically encrypted in the power system, so no one can listen in," says Breul.

To set up the system in a private home, consumers need to look into packages like "Inhouse Powerline," especially if they want to cover an area running from the basement to the attic.

"You don't have to open any holes in the walls to lay cables," says Nolde. The electricity lines are already there, usually with about four sockets per room. The adapters are no larger or uglier than a standard mobile phone adapter. Another advantage: the system requires very little maintenance.

"You don't have to configure anything," says Roesseler. A package with two adapters costs around 100 euros.

Some consumer electronics manufacturers have already discovered Powerline. Philips and Panasonic are among those companies whose devices can pull in data streams via a set top box and an adapter.

"Two-hundred megabits a second is the highest transfer rate for the Powerline today," says Nolde. That's the recommended standard for high definition films over data lines. That makes this a technology that could have a future in the coming age of high definition television.

"WLAN is reaching its limits at these rates, at least by today's standards." But Powerline can handle the loads.

DPA

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Temmuz 2007, 19:01
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