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G.hn wins P1905 skirmish, bigger battles may lie ahead

The IEEE last week ruled against the vote to overturn G

By PETER WHITE

Published: 26 May, 2011

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The IEEE last week ruled against the vote to overturn G.hn’s inclusion in the first version of the P1905 standard that is being developed. The G.hn gang had appealed the vote on the grounds that it did not conform to established parliamentary procedures. The IEEE made a ruling on a strictly procedural basis that a vote by the working group to overturn the inclusion of G.hn in P1905 was not in conformance with parliamentary procedures.

This does not mean that G.hn will be included because the IEEE’s Communications Society (COMSOC) has to approve a formal change to the Project Authorization Request (PAR) to include G.hn. Members of the P1905 working group who oppose including G.hn will have a say in that matter. The vote to include G.hn was only done at the working group level and only won by a single vote. G.hn backers are consequentially waiting on the next vote to include or omit G.hn before making any formal statement about G.hn being included.

In any event, G.hn, developed under the auspices of the ITU standards body, will eventually have to be included because the P1905 working paper says P1905 will include other network technologies that are standards, not just the existing HomePlug and MoCA. Of course that won’t force HomePlug members into adding G.hn in actual products.

The P1905 working committee seems to have become an early battlefield for G.hn versus HomePlug/MoCA. It has been difficult to ascertain and report on exactly what happened in the various P1905 meetings. It has also been impossible to get attributed quotes because negotiations and maneuvering over P1905 and G.hn’s possible inclusion are still taking place.

We’ve been told by a usually reliable source that the vote to deny G.hn’s inclusion may have been invalid but the original vote to include G.hn was also invalid. Some suspect that G.hn backers are deliberately attempting to derail the entire initiative out of fear they will be excluded. G.hn backers have told us that if they are excluded they will develop a G.hn-to-P1905 bridge.

Another source told us that no matter what happens, this “desperate push” by G.hn advocates for inclusion in IEEE P1905 is a big admission and endorsement that the IEEE (also the overseeing body for Wi-Fi) and not the ITU, which oversees G.hn, is the nexus for standardization of home networking technologies.

In any event, as far as we know, an IEEE-valid vote to omit G.hn from the initial P1905 may have already occurred. The whole process is very secretive, and few people will speak publicly about it. The IEEE has strict non-disclosure rules.

It’s clearly the intent of the IEEE not to oversee the developments of standards that blatantly give one company or group of companies a competitive advantage. But of course, every company that participates in the development of what will become an industry standard wants to influence it to their advantage. That could take the form of using its patents or including technology that it’s been developing. It’s also interesting that this has turned into a sort of battle where it’s the ITU versus the IEEE.

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