WAYNE, N.J. With the backing of several consumer electronics manufacturers, the IEEE 802.3 committee has formed a study group Thursday (July 16) that will explore the need for an Ethernet specification for residential applications.
While wireless LANs (WLANs) have been pitched as a key networking solution in the home, many developers in the communication and consumer electronic sector have eyed the possibility of using copper-based Ethernet has a means for connecting devices and streaming media around a home. now, to facilitate this development, Samsung, NEC, Nortel, Pioneer, Gibson Guitar, Broadcom, and others pushed forward a request to form a residential Ethernet study group at an IEEE 802 meeting held this week in Portland, Ore.
The new study group will look at a host of designs issues, such as Ethernet compliance. However, one of the biggest concerns could surround the streaming of video and audio content around a home over a Gigabit Ethernet connection. Specifically, the committee will explore the low-latency jitter requirements that are required to stream audio and video while still providing a strong human experience, said Bob Grow, chair of the 802.3 Working Group.
Gibson's Magic technology, which provides Ethernet connectivity to digital guitars, will most likely be one protocol that the new study group closely evaluates. Magic uses the Ethernet physical layer (PHY) and Category 5 cables to provide thirty-two 32-bit bidirectional audio channels with sample rates up to 192 kHz, jitter less than 80 ps, and latency as low as 250 μseconds across 100-meter point-to-point links. The protocol uses a UDP-like packet held to a fixed packet length and transmission rate. Magic conforms to the 802.3af spec for providing power over Ethernet.
Antother proposal being pitched focuses on the implementation quality of service (QoS) techniques developed for IEEE 1394/FireWire on an Ethernet link. "This approach will enable seamless bridging between Ethernet and 1394," said Michael Johas Teener, independent consultant and one of the study group's supporters.
The study group will start looking at these issues now and, if a specification is needed, will write a project authorization request that must be approved by the IEEE 802 committee. Grow said he expects the group to file a request in a few months.