Who will win the home-connectivity battle?

The three big technologies battling for your home connectivity are Wi-Fi, the new kid on the block Ultra-Wide Band (UWB), and the ancient yet revisited technology of powerline. Each have their own merits and detractors, benefits and drawbacks. Providers of all three were making the rounds at CES, plying their trade on one hand while saying nice things about their competitors on the other hand.

Most of the innovations these days are in the wireless camp, since that incorporates both Wi-Fi and UWB. Updates out of the powerline segment are more about how many more lines have been converted and adapted.

One company that is in both the wired and the wireless camps is D-Link. Representatives for that company were shopping a brand new wireless router for the 802.11n standard at CES. The company, however, also makes powerline adaptors.

Powerline proponents will tell you that their products run no risk of frequency “contamination,” the rare yet possible occurrence where a wireless transmission is co-opts or is co-opted by another signal. It’s not all that terrible if you trample on your neighbor’s home video viewing, but if you take over the local emergency network, you’ll have hell to pay.

Wireless fans and providers will tell you that the very definition of their products precludes such things as wires, so they are ultimately more portable and adaptable, especially to things like multiple-room streaming.

The world of streaming video certainly doesn’t have the kind of bitter format war that the Blu-Ray and HD DVD folks do. It does, however, have competing technologies fighting for a share of emerging markets whose potentials are only beginning to be realized.


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