The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has approved a technical standard that the group claims will usher in new era in 'smart home' networking systems and applications. G.hn, the new standard, will lower the cost of deploying High Definition TV (HDTV) and digital Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), according to ITU. It will also allow consumer electronics manufacturers to seamlessly network all types of home entertainment, home automation and home security products, and greatly simplify consumers' purchasing and installation processes.

G.hn-compliant devices will be capable of handling high-bandwidth rich multimedia content at speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s over household wiring options, including coaxial cable and standard phone and power lines. It will deliver many times the throughput of existing wireless and wired technologies.

Approval of the new standard will allow manufacturers of networked home devices -- set-top boxes, residential gateways, computers, audio systems, DVD players, household appliances and any other device that might be connected to a network -- to confidently move forward with their R&D programs and rapidly bring products to market. Experts predict that the first chipsets employing G.hn will be available in early 2010.

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

The physical layer and architecture portion of the standard were approved by ITU-T Study Group 15 on October 9. The data link layer of the new standard is expected to garner final approval at the group's next meeting in May 2010.


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