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Will AT&T's love of WiFi replace G.hn?

By PETER WHITE

Published: 27 October, 2011

READ MORE: Wi-Fi

While only time and customer support will tell, we think it's highly likely that AT&T has shortchanged its U-Verse customers with its latest HD WiFi TV offering. It is built around a 2 x 2 MIMO 802.11n chip from Broadcom by Cisco, and relies on products shown at IBC a few months back called the ISB7005 wireless receiver and VEN401 Wireless Access Point.

While we have been happy to believe that companies like Turkey's AirTies have managed perfectly decent HD video communications using similar chips, using similar Cisco acquired expertise, we now know that they are limited compared to both Quantenna full 802.11n chips, both in penetration and capacity and to the 802.11ac range of devices which are due in a year or so.

Pay TV customers will soon be offered a cornucopia of WiFi device types which can carry HD video for the majority of the time, and some that can cope with quite video hostile environments. In Europe it has been a truism for some time that no WiFi-only system is good enough for all areas of all countries, with different building materials varying from paper thin temporary walls to multiple feet wide concrete.

The most worrying issue from AT&T's point of view is how it sells this device -is it a customer choice, pushed as HPNA compatible (it has an NPNA and Ethernet plug) or is this to be instead of HPNA fixed line connections? We think it will do fine for second and third TV sets, but not for the main 1080p style major home TV, for that you need either better WiFi or a fixed wire or both.

AT&T is supposed to be supporting G.hn, which although not directly compatible with HPNA is a technology supported by many of the same companies. If it continues its WiFi experiments successfully and moves to being fairly relaxed about onscreen video artifacts, then why would it need G.hn. On the other hand, if you want something to remind you of how important a fixed line and a technology like G.hn is, then use a commodity WiFi chip which is almost last generation, and the customers will embrace G.hn class wired connections all the more. If you have any left.

For a full analysis of this subject go to www.rethinkresearch.biz where this article is free.

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