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SUMMARY

As the number of multiple-PC homes increases, more and more home users are looking for an easy way to network their PCs. With a home network, all PCs have access to the best printer; all PCs can access the Internet at the same time through one Internet account; all PCs can access and share files; and home users can even enjoy multiplayer games. Phone-line–based networking has emerged as one of the most viable, economical approaches to PC networking in the home. Phone lines offer consumers an established in-home wiring system for networking devices in different parts of the house by transmitting data between multiple phone jacks within the home. Phone-line technology currently leads the "no new wiring" technologies in product development (with existing products ranging from 1 to 10 Mbps).

An organization called HomePNA is promoting the adoption of a single, unified phone-line networking industry standard to rapidly bring to market a range of interoperable home networking solutions. Founded in June 1998, HomePNA has grown to include nearly 130 members spanning the networking, telecommunications, hardware, software, and consumer electronics industries. HomePNA has defined a standard specification that simplifies the implementation of a home network over residential phone lines. HomePNA's technology allows computers, peripherals, and other information appliances to connect with each other and the Internet without interrupting standard telephone service. Utilizing existing telephone wiring, it requires no costly or disruptive rewiring of the home. HomePNA utilizes a technology known as Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM), which essentially divides the data travelling over the phone lines into separate frequencies—one for voice, one for high-bandwidth net access such as DSL, and one for the network data. These frequencies can coexist on the same telephone line without impacting one another.


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