New ITU standard smoothes path for unified 'smart home' network

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has approved a new technical standard called '' that is expected to usher in a new era of 'smart home' networking systems and applications, and enable service providers to deploy new offerings, including HDTV and IPTV, more cost effectively.

The new standard will also allow consumers electronics manufacturers to seamlessly network all types of home entertainment, home automation and home security products, and greatly simplify consumers' purchasing and installation processes. devices will be capable of handling high-bandwidth rich multimedia content at speeds of up to 1 Gbps over household wiring options, including coaxial cable and standard phone and power lines. The new standard is expected to deliver "many times" the throughput of existing wireless and wired technologies.

Approval of the new standard is expected to allow manufacturers of networked home devices - such as set-top boxes, residential gateways, computers, audio systems, DVD players, households appliances and any other device that might be connected to the network - to "confidently move forward" with their R&D programmes and rapidly bring products to market. The first chipsets employing are expected to be available in early 2010.

" is a technology that gives new use to the cabling most people already have in their homes," said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau. "The remarkable array of applications that it will enable includes energy efficient smart appliances, home automation and telemedicine devices. The sheer weight of industry support behind this innovation is testament to the extraordinary potential of this standard to transform home networking."

Also recently agreed was a new standard that focuses on coexistence between products and those using other technologies. Known as G.9972, the standard describes the process by which devices will work with power line devices that use technologies such as IEEE P1901. In addition, the ITU states that extensions to will be developed to support SmartGrid applications.