My takeaway from the recent Residential Systems-sponsored CEDIA PowerHour webinar on “Using a Homes Existing Wires in a Retrofit Installation,” was that retrofitting an audio distribution system using one of the three standards now available is a reliable option, just as long you work with products labeled as being certified.
Of the nearly 60 webinar participants, only 38 percent were aware of having installed products following either HomePlug Powerline Alliance standards, guidelines from HomePNA over coax or phoneline, or MoCA’s standards involving distributed audio or video over coax. But, by the end of the 45-minute session, 81 percent of participants were interested in “newer products with these technologies.”
I’m hoping our ESCs become more comfortable selling to owners of existing homes, and keep things relatively simple using products that support a “no new wires” standard.
Rob Ranck, president of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance noted that HomePlug uses existing Romex wire and can jump across phases. It also features a lot of installation tools that help endpoints connect together.
Although there can be noise on power lines, proper testing and setup procedures can help measure and mitigate these problems. Additionally, HomePlug systems can be designed in a distributed topology instead of home-run back to a central rack.
Mike Ehlenberger representing MoCA from Actiontec Electronics, discussed the advantages of retrofitting a system using existing coaxial cable in a home. He noted that coax is clean and shielded, providing “tremendous output” for high-speed data networking and multiple video streams. It’s a full mesh network, helping to create a high-quality network.
He mentioned that a design using coax doesn’t require an remediation for an integration professional, can be home run or via a coax network in series, and can run through splitters in both directions over new or old coax as long as high-quality compression F-connectors are used.
Ricard Nesin, executive director of the HomePNA alliance explained that while the standard that he represents can work over a home’s existing telephone wires, its preferred medium is coax.
An advantage of using HomePNA products, he stated, is that existing jacks are already located near communication and computer equipment, and opportunities are available worldwide even without coax. Site survey and installation test equipment are also available from several vendors, and constant and predictable data rates are available through coax.
For more information on this webinar, please visit the Crosspoint section of CEDIA’s website to listen to an archived copy of the session and to read questions and answers about these standards.