How OMEGA Plans To Change Future Home Networks

  • Posted on: 14 February 2013
  • By: Patrick Oliphant

Most of today’s homes are equipped with devices that I would classify as manual and disconnected. They wait for us to physically push, pull and turn their knobs, switches and buttons to get them to do their set function (s). We hear a lot about how this is changing through events such CES where we learn about home appliances that react to its environment and allow us to interact with them from a distance and in different ways.  Although this is good and exciting, stuff little is said about the network that some of these devices will sit on or how it is changing to accommodate these smarter appliances.

There is no doubt that more will be required of future home networks, not only its reliability but also its ability to carry the load at an acceptable speed that will allow users to enjoy their content and benefit from advance services such as e-health.  What is also needed is the flexibility of the network to accommodate the different access points whether its wireless in its different forms or wired.

It is on the back of this thought that the OMEGA (HOME Gigabit Access) project was setup through the European Commission (EC). Headed by Jean-Philippe Javaudin, OMEGA was tasked with developing technologies for the next generation of home networks, one that will accommodate the flexibility of our daily lives and our demand for data.

“On the one hand, in a future home people will want to transmit large amounts of data locally, playing high-definition videos, for example from a network storage device in their basement, on the TV in their bedroom. On the other hand, they will use more data-intensive internet services… Cable networks can now bring internet to their front door at 100 Mbps and will soon be running at 1 Gbps,” Jean-Philippe Javaudin, OMEGA’s Project Coordinator noted. “We wanted to bring the home network up to that speed”.

With a mixture of funding (public and private) totalling €19.13 million the researcher were able to demonstrate a home network able to transmit data at up to 280 Mbps over a distance of 10 metres, using combination of power cables, radio signals and light. The OMEGA team demonstrated that they were able to achieve the above speed by using a LED ceiling light, where the light was at a rate 10 Megahertz on and off faster than the human eye. Commenting on the results the EC said, “If this technique together with for example the radio transmission, much higher broadband speeds to consumers can be achieved”.

OMEGA is an Integrated Project in the ICT area funded 65% by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development. The OMEGA project is run by researchers from companies, universities and research institutions in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. The EU provided €12.41 million of a total budget of €19.13 million. First products are expected to come in Italy and France in 2014 on the market.

See also:
HDBaseT Technology Coming to a Home Near You
Intel’s Light Peak to Light up the Connected Home