Home is where the network is

As property developers increase the connectivity offerings of residential developments in a bid to attract higher rents, cabling and technology companies must rise to the challenge to create effective yet unobtrusive networking kit for the home. Eric Daligault, European business unit leader for copper cabling systems at 3M, tells NME readers how best to achieve this.

  • E-Mail
By  Simon Duddy Published  August 28, 2005

|~|eric-daliga_m.jpg|~||~|As property developers increase the connectivity offerings of residential developments in a bid to attract higher rents, cabling and technology companies must rise to the challenge to create effective yet unobtrusive networking kit for the home. Eric Daligault, European business unit leader for copper cabling systems at 3M, tells NME readers how best to achieve this.

Network Middle East: Is home networking too complex for the average user?

Eric Daligault: No I think it is the opposite, as the objective is to make components that are user friendly and also on a single standardised jack, which is RJ45. So, it’s one form of communication outlet for all services. All manufacturers, whether of components or solutions, make user friendly communications cabinets so that people can easily change.
But there is work to be done. Just look at the variety of telephony outlets throughout the world, we need to stop that. Individual regions should not put up technology barriers in order to protect their own markets and businesses. We need to standardise communications outlets, whether it is in a hotel room, a home, or a dentist’s office.

Network Middle East: It’s about more than the outlets though. You need a lot of separate devices, which can seem fiddly and difficult for users.

Eric Daligault: Sure. First you have to look at the passive infrastructure and we’ve talked about that. Secondly, you are right there are several devices to distribute all services. You can put that down to the paranoia of content providers such as satellite providers and the big majors. The technology is made first of all to protect content from pirates. Satellite TV broadcasters make sure they have their own way to broadcast TV so the transmissions cannot be carried by other parties. So you need different devices to share different subscribed services. Also, if you have cable and broadcast TV or ADSL services and fibre to the home (FTTH) services over Ethernet, these are different technologies so you need different boxes to distribute the services, whether it’s a set top box or a video Mpeg modulator. The key thing is being able to carry the right signal in the right format over twisted pair Ethernet and RJ45 outlets.

Network Middle East: Will users see a unified box in the future?

Eric Daligault: You should put this question to the content majors. In France you have Canal Plus and they have their own set up box and satellite players likewise. It’s a fact of life. That’s the way they want to protect their content. Different providers are using different bands and decoding systems, so you need different appliances. But it’s a good point, as the user simply wants to see one box to plug the TV in to.

Network Middle East: Why is a star topology important in home networking?

Eric Daligault: It’s important because you don’t want to end up in a bus architecture. You want any cabling system to be a star, but so is distribution of water and electricity. That way there is one link into the home but with as many communication outlets as possible, for example in every room. You can put an outlet in the attic if you want to upgrade, which is common after people settle into a house. It’s common sense to make sure a power outlet or some cables are present so you can extend the network into the attic. You can usually find power outlets but it is more unusual to find Ethernet cables in place, which makes thorough planning key in the design phase.

Network Middle East: So how important is Ethernet?

Eric Daligault: As soon as we say let’s use a common outlet – RJ45 – then Ethernet is most likely going to be the protocol for all services but it is not necessarily appropriate. For example, for broadcast TV, the point is to use balanced cables for analogue signals.

Network Middle East: Looking at the Middle East, do you see a demand for this kind of technology?

Eric Daligault: There is no reason why this region should not have potential for this kind of installation, the same as elsewhere in the world. The principle of having one common outlet for all services is just as applicable here as in other regions. In the US they are building the TIA/EIA 570 standard and will continue to use coaxial cable for broadcast TV and twisted pair for voice and data services. Why? Because they have a large installed base of cable TV. In Europe, they did not discount coaxial for TV but they also put emphasis on twisted pair for all services. It is important to see what will be decided in the CENELEC and ISO standards, where the discussion in ongoing right now. There are lots of questions, for example, can analogue cable up sustain 650MHz for the broadcast TV of some countries?

Network Middle East: Which region does Middle East take the lead from in terms of standards?

Eric Daligault: They have to watch both camps. As cable TV installation is not as widespread I would say they would be better looking to the European CENELEC standard. In the end you’ve got both influences and all have to agree in the ISO so best way is to look at this standard.||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code