G.hn is an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard, , for high-speed networking over coaxial cable, phone lines and electrical wiring. It is designed for speeds as high as 1G bps (bits per second), though performance will vary depending on the medium used. Powerline and coaxial data networks have been available for years, but G.hn is intended to unify all three media. Consumer products using the technology may hit the market by the end of this year.
The testing, sponsored by the HomeGrid Forum and Broadband Forum, will help makers of G.hn chipsets ensure their silicon can work together in the same network. It will also help to work out the kinks in a test plan to be used in a formal product certification program later this year, according to Kimberly Lewis, marketing co-chair of the HomeGrid Forum. Tests will take place May 23-27 at ITU facilities in Geneva.
At least one silicon vendor, Lantiq, is already shipping G.hn chipsets in sample quantities to a small number of manufacturers. Lantiq's customers expect to ship consumer products by the late 2011 holiday shopping season, according to Chano Gomez, director of business development at Lantiq. The first products are likely to be adapters with Ethernet jacks for connecting PCs into a G.hn network, such as a unit that plugs into an electric wall socket, Gomez said. Sigma Designs also announced a G.hn chipset last October, saying it would ship in sample quantities in the first quarter of this year.
G.hn has taken longer than some other technologies to get from completed standard to shipping products. HomeGrid's Lewis said the complexity of handling three types of networks, plus the small size of many of the early vendors in this space, partly caused the slow movement. Next week's tests will help move G.hn along, she said.
"Things should start moving faster once we get past this milestone," Lewis said.