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Motorola to Marry BPL and Wireless

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the you-may-kiss-the-network dept.

Wireless Networking 79

prostoalex writes "Motorola is combining Intellon broadband-over-powerline chips with its own Canopy wireless systems to create an end-to-end broadband delivery system, where last mile delivery would be covered by wireless and broadband pipe would belong to electric utility. HomePlug AV standard will offer 200 Mbps downstream speed."

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It took a 200mps network (-1, Troll)

JrbM689 (896692) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310775)


Re:It took a 200mps network (1)

Danger Stevens (869074) | more than 9 years ago | (#13312486)

And it will take the next two weeks for you to realize it was a waste of both your and our time.

For our next trick... (0, Troll)

flamearrows (821733) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310776)


Future Internet delivery (3, Insightful)

treff89 (874098) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310778)

This is, IMHO, the precursor as to what Internet delivery methods will be like, say, 20 years into the future. I believe that there will be a media of transport - such as powerlines - which is extremely widespread, even to remote areas. Piggybacked on top of this high-speed transport system will be cheap routers using whatever the latest wireless technology (think WiMax, but bigger). Thus, everyone who needs to can use the Internet anywhere, anytime, etc., maybe even providing for TV and the like. Perhaps it will even become a free utility?

Re:Future Internet delivery (1)

override11 (516715) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310792)

Probably not 'free', but with all that people will come to rely on the internet, I see it becoming a 'utility', like gas or electric.

Enjoy it while you can Comcast, you price gouging suckers. Its gonna be cheap soon!

Re:Future Internet delivery (4, Funny)

JrbM689 (896692) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310798)

Yes, because when gas and electric became "utilities" prices plummeted and we've been enjoying extremely inexpensive fuel ever since! Thank goodness for capitalism

Re:Future Internet delivery (1)

hvass_cy (907344) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310807)

It could even become more expensive. What happened with fuel? Started out expensive and exclusive, became cheaper and mainstream and now due to shortages it's becoming expensive and exclusive again. Here's hoping there's not any type of 'shortage' as it were in 'internet delivery'. A vast information overload? Corporate money-grubbing tears down the last isle of the free? Whatever happens it will get exponentially expensive at some point... it's just the way things work as our good friend #896692 just noted in his stoically unsarcastic response!

Re:Future Internet delivery (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310859)

Just think what prices WOULD have been!

Re:Future Internet delivery (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#13313039)

Electricity isn't exactly expensive, even in California. Compare it to gasoline, which isn't utiliticized (is that a word? It is now!) - people who've done the car electric-conversion jobs talk about their vehicles costing pennies a day in electricity against dollars a day in gasoline. Some of that's better efficiency ("braking" by turning your engine into a generator), but it can't all be that.

Gas can't be that expensive either otherwise I'm sure people would be fueling their homes from propane tanks or avoiding piped gas altogether.

Re:Future Internet delivery (3, Informative)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310802)

Ok, by bitching about BPL interference aside, it's still going to be a big collision domain. (think ethernet hub) If you have users of any density, you'd still have to segment up the powerlines and feed each segement with fiber separately. This just isn't economically viable in dense areas. Powerlines are _not_ the future of information transport.

Re:Future Internet delivery (3, Interesting)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310906)

Yeah, you'd have to do that somewhere around the step down transformers that deliver the last mile...isn't there something there that you could tie into?

Oh, right.

There's a large, weather-proof step-down transformer that you could put a fiber-to-AC based router into.

Except when you don't because you're sending the signal out to reach two people out on the ranch. Fortunately, there's a whole hierarchy of the things, and you could put your switch at whatever level of the hierarchy is feasible for sustainable service.

Remember, we're talking about what to do about the last mile. If you've got so many people that they're starting to have collisions, you can afford to put in more routers. This really addresses the problem of what to do when you don't.

Re:Future Internet delivery (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13311119)

OK, just to clear up a few points about this technology:

Canopy is a 'fixed wireless' sort of thing, so you would have an access point somewhere that could serve up to a few hundred or so subscriber modules. The subscriber modules would go on power poles, behind the transformers (ie, between the transformer and the end users). It would then be BPL from there into up to, if I recall, 8 homes or so. So, it lets you deploy Canopy to an area, but reduce your costs as you can feed more than one home with a single Canopy module.

As such, except for use of the 900mhz or 5.4Ghz spectrum, this would not be putting out enough power to interfere with ham radios or anything else. A good solution if you ask me. And you don't have to worry much about the 'cable modem' kind of hub bog downs, as it is just you and a few other people on the same backhaul link to the access point.

I do work for Motorola from time to time, and have seen this in person, and it is a quite nice solution.

Re:Future Internet delivery (4, Insightful)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310814)

Perhaps it will even become a free utility?

Someone always pays, and that would still be you every week. You just wouldn't need your credit card.

Funny video clips and flash games []

Re:Future Internet delivery (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 9 years ago | (#13314317)

Someone always pays, and that would still be you every week. You just wouldn't need your credit card.

Well considering it wasn't my credit card to begin with, I'd have to agree!

Re:Future Internet delivery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13310869)

Because just running a fiber to everyone's house would make too much sense.

Re:Future Internet delivery (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311248)

You mean when emergency services will have to use smoke signals, or when HAM operators are a thing of the past? Yeah, let the good times roll. Just don't have a heart attack or have your house catch on fire.

Re:Future Internet delivery (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13311460)

Digital transmissions will not be affected. HAM has lost all unique function as frequency hopping is now a well understood principle. There will be no problems against properly equipped municipal services.

Re: Future will be the 1st to non-line of sight (1)

usurper_ii (306966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311546)

The wireless future will belong to the first company to have a large coverage radius that does not have to be line of sight.

I work at a company that does Canopy wireless broadband and it works great, IF you can see the tower.

The problem with putting a canopy unit on an electric pole and feeding it in through the power lines, is that you would have to put an access point every two blocks to have the needed line of sight to feed the SM, which in turn pumps it into the house (unless your town happens to be in a desert or West Texas).

Those Canopy Access points are very expensive. Those canopy SMs are very expensive. Even using 900 MHz, which does better through trees, the sheer volume of Canopy access points needed to cover any fair amount of territory is going to be too cost prohibitive.

While it isn't perfect either, the closest thing to a cost effective wireless internet plan would be MESHing 802.11 using custom built equipment.

See: []

I went and checked out a guy who had a small town MESHed with 802.11 using software and access points he built himself for around 500.00 or less. He had almost 100 customers working nice, some even through moderate tree coverage. I will say that what he was doing worked better than our Canopy setup...which has tens of thousands of dollars tied up in equipment. And the advantage to this is, if the customers are close enough, you don't have to have a subscriber module at the customer's house that cost 400.00 a piece.

I say the only people making money with Motorola Canopy are the few WISPs in fantastic locations...and Motorola!


Re: Future will be the 1st to non-line of sight (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 9 years ago | (#13312233)

A rule of thumb: carrier frequency should be an order of magnitude larger than the bandwidth. If your data rate is 9600 bps, you could get away with using high-frequency radio waves that do the "curve over the horizon" thing very well. Broadband it isn't. If your data rate is closer to 1 mega-bit per second, you're talking 10 mhz carier and you're going to piss off a lot of necessary services. (would still make it over the horizon) But you'd only have one subscriber per footprint at a data rate exceeded by most cable services by factors of 2 or 3.

Ok so for a small town under a single footprint (say 1000 customers ) with cable-comparable access, minimum carrier frequency is 3*10^(3+6)~ 3 ghz. (and remember that the sidebands are going to interfere with quite a few services.)

Big footprints aren't good for wireless. small "cells" are the best option, using the wireless link for the *last* mile allows say.. mobile phones.. to be useful and also plentiful.

Frequencies that are only effective "line-of-sight" are very useful for avoiding interfering with other services. In addition wavelengths are very short so footprint shaping via directional antennas becomes an option. An array of directional cells on a single tower has more capacity for instance than a single omnidirectional cell tower.

Re: Future will be the 1st to non-line of sight (1)

usurper_ii (306966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13312466)

True, but if you are limited to line of sight, and, due to the geographical location, you can only get three customers off of an access point, it isn't financially viable to offer service. You have a lot of expenses involved with this. The backend, tower rent, back hauls, routing equipment, it all adds up quick. The only way it is going to be profitable is to sign up more people off of that expensive access point. And you can't do that with line of sight technology, unless, as noted, you just happen to end up in a fantastic location (e.g. you live on a mountain slope with few trees, put the access points at the top of the mountain, and sign up 100 customers who all just happen to be line of sight down below).

I have a friend who used to work with me. He left and formed his own wireless Net company using 900 Mhz, which is the best option for commercial near-line-of-sight equipment there is on the market right now in the unlicensed spectrum. Last week he had an access point, two backhauls, and some routing equipment hit by lightening. He lost approx. 4000.00 worth of equipment. Luckily, he said, he only had three customers going off of that access point. 4000.00 to get 3 customers? True he hasn't been going that long, and maybe could get more, but what he is experiencing is what I have seen as well...with the limited coverage area of line of sight technology, you can't build a customer base big enough to pay for the equipment (with a few exceptions, of course). It looks like 900 Mhz is working about two miles through light tree coverage (and by light, I mean two or three rows of trees between the access point and the SM. Throw a hill or a building in the way, and you can forget about it).

I'm not going to sit here and say that nobody is making money on wireless Internet. What I am going to say is that the people that are making the REAL money out of it is the companies selling all the equipment that half-ass works in the real world. And buddy, Motorola has made a mint off of its expensive Canopy equipment.


Re: Future will be the 1st to non-line of sight (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 9 years ago | (#13313318)

Ok I see your point, Mine was that it is a tradeoff between line-of-sight and bandwidth. The same solution that works for Aspen, CO [] is not appropriate for downtown Manhattan []

Implicit was my assumption that any system capable of servicing a profitable number of users at a data rate comparable to existing landline systems will require a carrier frequency that is line of sight anyway but that there are some benefits to that tradeoff that aren't readily apparant. One is antenna size, especially for directional antennas.

Marry? (5, Funny)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310780)

Rumor is that wireless is already pregnant.

Motorola to Marry BPL and Wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13311719)

Congrats to the happy trio!

And baby makes four!

Key Word? (1)

hvass_cy (907344) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310784)

Consumer, now that got my attention. One wonders whether this will be or is yet another hyped pipe dream only to be left swirling down the big stinky vortex of lost wossnames.

HF Spectrum Pollution (2, Insightful)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310787)

Although homeplug is known to notch all the ham bands fairly well, it's still disturbing to many other HF spectrum users, such as SW listeners. MV lines are simply not designed to carry RF. Another issue...packet sniffing anyone?

Re:HF Spectrum Pollution (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310812)

With the amount of wireless data currently floating around, why are you more concerned about sniffing this kind of interference?

The question has never been is my data private, its always been are they interested in what I have to say.

Re:HF Spectrum Pollution (2, Funny)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310818)

Although homeplug is known to notch all the ham bands fairly well, it's still disturbing to many other HF spectrum users, such as SW listeners. MV lines are simply not designed to carry RF. Another issue...packet sniffing anyone?

Sorry man, I can't tell WTF you're talking about. Maybe some more acronyms would help.

Re:HF Spectrum Pollution (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310827)

  1. HF = high frequency, typically between 1-30 MHZ
  2. SW = shortwave broadcast, on various segements between 1-30 MHZ
  3. RF = radio frequency
  4. MV = medium voltage, the lines around neighborhoods terminating with 'can' transformers which feed homes
This'll teach me to to post before I get some coffee in me...

Re:HF Spectrum Pollution (1)

wpiman (739077) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310888)

My favority has to be acronyms of acronyms...

AAL- ATM (Asynchronous transfer mode) adaptation layer
VHDL- VHSIC (very high speed integrate circuit) Hardware description language

Got any others?

Re:HF Spectrum Pollution (2, Funny)

_Stryker (15742) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311044)

GNU - GNU's (GNU's (GNU's (GNU's (...) Not Unix) Not Unix) Not Unix) Not Unix

This is terrible (1)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 9 years ago | (#13312547)

Sending signals over unshielded cables is always a bad idea. But sending them over something as unsuitable as power lines, with their horrendous impedance mismatches, is a crime against nature. The level of man-made radio noise on this planet will rise to unprecedented levels.

Too Expensive (3, Insightful)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310795)

Their Canopy components would need to get a lot cheaper for this to be affordable for residential broadband. Subscribers modules retail for over $500 now. Typical broadband cable modem or DSL modem costs around $100.

Re:Too Expensive (3, Informative)

sidney (95068) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311007)

You can get them for $280 each in lots of 25 [] which could put the price in the range for an ISP to offer at cost with a one year contract lock in (making their profit on the ISP service). And as with all electronics, the price will only get cheaper as the technology advances and as the production volume goes up if and when this becomes a popular consumer technology.

Re:Too Expensive (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311250)

Also, with the FCC doing whatever the DSL and Cable incumbents say, longer-distance wireless is possibly the only place we'll get competition.

Re:Too Expensive (2, Informative)

ar32h (45035) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311378)

Funny, the ISP where I work sells them for $300 each, no contract. We sell them so fast that we are always running out of stock.

The $300 is high enough that people feel committed to the service (we don't need contract lock-in to keep customers) and is low enough that most of our customers can afford it. They can always take their SM to one of our competitors if they don't like our service.

Re:Too Expensive (1)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311929)

It may be that your company is selling them below cost to get the customer as a subscriber. Ecomm Wireless shows a price of $595.00 for a 5.8GHz SM. If this is going to compete with cable and DSL they need to provide a less than $50 month service with at least 1.5Meg bandwidth. Sprint (our local ILEC) is dropping the price of their DSL product because they can't compete on performance (5 Megs download speed) with the cable company. 1.5Meg DSL now costs only $34.95. Both the the phone company and the cable company here will do a zero cost install and even give a low introductory rate for several months to get customers. Then of course theres the installation on the equipment both indoors and out.

Don't get me wrong I think wireless is great way to get broadband to places that conventional technology can't reach. However all the WISPs in my area focus on businesses at $100 per month or more. CLEC have the same problem, costs are so high they can't sell to residential customers.

Re:Too Expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13312167)

real world price is $215 per SM. Any more and the ISP is getting ripped off.

Re:Too Expensive (1)

terranman2 (641664) | more than 9 years ago | (#13312351)

As a contractor for Charter doing home broadband installs, i have to say i hate the zero cost installs...makes for long work days...too many people ordering broadband, i worked 13 hours yesterday, doing nothing but broadband installs

Re: Not to mention access points (1)

usurper_ii (306966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311734)

As I mentioned in an above post, unless the houses are in a great location, you would have to have a large number of access points to reach these SMs mounted on posts.

Even with 900 Mhz, you still have line of sight issues unless you are very close to the access point. Putting the SM on a telephone post helps the problem, but it does not solve the problem because in many cases the trees are still higher than the pole. The only real-world solution is more access points, that would have to mounted very high, and in ***great locations***.

These access points are what 1000.00? 1500.00? And you still have to feed these with either some type of backhaul equipment or backend Internet connection. Motorola backhaul equipment is more expensive than the access points. And how many customers would you have to sign up to pay for business DSL, ISDN or T1 at feed a large number Access points geographically spread out?

I think the Motorola over power lines thing looks good, but it is actually a lot of smoke and mirrors.


Humm (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310805)

One hopes they're using a wireless technology immune to the racket broadcast by their power lines.

Re:Humm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13311284)

Sounds like Motorola has a bad case of "All Your Spectrum Belongs to Us".

I can just see them coming back to the FCC (in the US) looking for more spectrum because they want to run high(er) power in the spectrum that they are already using.

And, if it's not Motorola, but one of their less scrupulous competitors, I foresee a Battle Royale between the current Part 15 users, and this stuff.

What's really hilarious is that the Part 15 crap is supposed to be a *secondary* or *tertiary* user, that's not supposed to interfere with the primary (and secondary) user(s). But, they never seem to understand that.

As a ham, I'm really tempted to add a few more loop yagis and see if I can run a 25MHz wide F5
television link, just to keep people on their toes.

Re:Humm (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 9 years ago | (#13318412)

If I were a HAM, I'd actively interfere with the BPL, and wave my copy of the CFR in their face if they asked me to stop.

Licensed use > part 15 use

ping time? (1)

dammy (131759) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310820)

Anything to give me more choices for broadband is a good thing. Question is, what's the ping time going to be? Gotta be able to kill those damn Hibbies.

Here come... (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310826)

...all the complaints from the ham operators.

Just to head it off: we know you think it may corrupt your frequency, even though there has been no proof of that in existing BPL deployments. Secondly we don't care because we think that BPL is more important than HAM radio. Yeah yeah I know 9/11, cell comms were down, etc.

Re:Here come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13310863)

im sorry i just hate ham radio operators.

as a hard core geek even i find them obtuse, misanthropic and maladjusted.

this coud be flame bait.
but i have met many british hams working in an electronics shop.

they fucking scare the stuffing out of me.

although i suppose maplins doenst attarct the leet hams but i seen more than enough to ever wnat to meet another one.

heres to you, you assholes!.

and if anyone knows tony from the leeds maplins.

and no, i dont know his callsign...

tell him chek says he is "an old bastard"

Re:Here come... (2, Interesting)

Trip Ericson (864747) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310884)

Um, do you have any idea what you're saying? BPL has been licensed to use frequencies from just above AM radio all the way up into the middle of TV Channel 5. (that's about 2MHz-80MHz) I don't know about you, but I watch TV with an antenna, and I already get tons of impulse/electrical noise on channels 2-6 as it is, not to mention an FM radio station on 88.3 trashes channel 6. It's already been proven that electrical devices that DON'T have BPL in them can cause massive amounts of interference to signals (try turning on a hair dryer or an electric paper shredder while watching the lower channels), and the introduction of BPL will only make this interference worse and constant. In addition, shortwave radio, which the rest of the world still uses, covers from 3MHz-30MHz.

And don't think that just because you have cable it's not going to affect you--cable leaks are well-known and proven to be problematic (see AVSForum.Com and the fiasco involving WBBM-DT on channel 3 in Chicago). Cable leaks allow for not only interference from OTA TV and FM station in the cable line (I've seen it before) but also allow for additional outside electrical noise. Regular electrical noise is one thing, but I've seen that and I've seen two-way interference, and let me tell you that two-way interference isn't fun (walkie-talkies). Instead of having just lines or dots in the picture, the whole picture goes away and the sound becomes that of the two-way.

You would think that since I live in a rural area that I'd be for this, and when I first heard about it, I was. But I think people I know would much rather be able to watch TV than have high-speed internet. (And yes there are a good number of people who still rely on OTA TV here)

Note how I didn't mention ham radio anywhere in there.

Um, HDTV Switchover? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13310917)

Yeah, I realize the date keeps getting pushed back, but you're more than likely going to go dark in the traditional TV spectrum when the HD "revolution" is forced down your throat... eh?

Re:Um, HDTV Switchover? (1)

Trip Ericson (864747) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311123)

True, channels 2-6 aren't favorable and so far it looks like most sane TV stations are abandoning it (not my local PBS though...). I'm hoping that the FCC will drop channels 2-6 myself and expand the FM radio band into channels 5 and 6 (being that there's a gap between 4 and 5) and find some use for 2-4.

That doesn't change the fact that the switch-over will have no effect on cable viewers who will still suffer with signal leak. Realize that while OTA TV is required to go digital, cable is only required to provide those signals--even if they're downconverted to analog.

Re:Here come... (4, Informative)

finkployd (12902) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311070)

Ignorant and arrogant, just what I have come to expect from people who irrationally hate amateur radio for no real reason and are uninformed enough to understand the first thing about BPL other than what marketing drones have told them.

(1) The Amercian Radio Relay League (primary amateur radio group) supports this. []

(2) There has been SIGNIFICANT proof in almost every BPL trial that it corrupts the HF space. Thus the complaints registered to the FCC by the military, air traffic people, civil air patrol, coast guard, and amateur radio operators. The ham guys just happen to be the loudest on the net, the others carry much more weight and they don't like it either. Many BPL trials have failed for this reason.

we think that BPL is more important than HAM radio.

Yes, ignorant people who are mislead into thinking that BPL will somehow provide inexpensive broadband (it will not, it has proven to be more expensive than cable and dsl) to rural areas (again, harder to do than cable and dsl). Suprisingly, these people are not interested in technical arguments about frequencies and RF radiation becasue they don't understand the concepts.

So to recap, (1) Motorola's BPL technology mostly solves the technical problems that just about ALL HF spectrum operators have complained about, and has the support of amateur radio, and (2) it is still broadband "fools gold", but there are plenty of fools out there.


Re:Here come... (2, Insightful)

kg4gyt (799019) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311251)

There have been huge problems with that in the deployments, its even messed up local emergency radios.

On top of that, it has been shown [] that BPL is messed up by radio transmitters (to the point where its unusable), and because radio operators have rights to that part of the spectrum, and BPL bleeds over, that interference is not going anywhere.

Re:Here come... (1)

n9fzx (128488) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311275)

Here comes.... all the complaints about Ham Radio from the whiny types who couldn't pass the morse code exam...

Netcraft confirms it... Ham Radio is dying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13311851)

I'm sorry, guys, but your precious hobby isn't anywhere near as important as you seem to think it is. Providing data communications for a much broader spectrum of the public is a far more viable use of the spectrum than you telling someone in Tierra Del Fuego the details of your rig, and vice-versa.

If ham radio is such a vital field of endeavor, how come EVERY ham I know is an 80-something crusty old putz who "built my first crystal set from a Quaker Oats box and wire I unwound from the motor out of an old washing machine . Back then, Nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. You'd say "Give me five...zzzzzzz" Huh? What? What was I saying? Damnit, stop stepping on my oxygen tube!! You damned kids..."

Face it, guys. no one cares about those new-fangled wireless doohickeys any more. At least not for voice.

not really 200mbps (3, Insightful)

jleq (766550) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310853)

They advertise 200mbps at the speed now, kind of how when cable internet was first emerging it was advertised at 45mbps (which it is capable of under good conditions assuming you don't have a cap). However, we all know there is going to be a cap of some kind. Plus, due to potential RF interference issues, I wouldn't be surprised if BPL gets shot down by the amateur radio crowd.

I'm a big fan of the idea of faster internet access available to everybody. Especially those who live in rural areas. Nonetheless, given the success of power line networking up to this point, I'd say it's best to leave communications and power seperate.

Re:not really 200mbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13311087)

children living near powerlines get cancer do get cancer.
i dont know of any reasearch that eastablishes whether this is mere coincidence.

let us assume it might hold a shred of truth:

i think interfernce on ham frequencies is the least of our worries. [ i also hate ham operators so i might tolerate cancer if it pisses them off.]
if more energy bleeds out from those lines, might cancer incidence increase?

Re:not really 200mbps (1)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311681)

Cable internet has a very, very high theoretical speed- if the cable co wants, they can keep opening up channels to give more speed to an area. I don't know if 200mbps is the theoretical limit for BPL to be split among the various subscribers, of it is really a per-subscriber limit.

As far as interference goes, if it causes problems, hams will let them know. BPL operates under part 15, so it can't cause interference to other licensed services (ham, etc). There are several instances of hams filing compliants of BPL interfering with their part of the spectrum- and the FCC always finds in their favor.

In 2020... (1)

seramar (655396) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310887)

Oh crap, my power went out... better call the electric company on my VoIP line and let them know! Oh crap, my internet's down too!!

Re:In 2020... (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311037)

  Oh crap, my power went out... better call the electric company on my VoIP line and let them know! Oh crap, my internet's down too!!

Did Netcraft report that cell phones are

Stupid Idea (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13310895)

This will mess up important radio broadcasts for HAM's and emergency services.
Also don't believe it will be free, water isn't free anymore, and wharever speed it is theoretically capable of it will be capped mercillessly as they milk us peons for every last penny (dime).

Re:Stupid Idea (2, Informative)

KB3JUV (898173) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310915)

Even though I don't like the idea of BPL, ARRL already said that Motorola's technology for BPL was 10 times better then the competitors. They say you can't even tell of any interference.

Re:Stupid Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13311804)

"This will mess up important radio broadcasts for HAM's"

Learn how to use an apostrophe, stupid.

Dupe!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13310903)

ARRL supports it! (4, Interesting)

dtmos (447842) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310904)

The Motorola BPL system, the Powerline LV Solution [] , entirely avoids transmitting data over medium-voltage (MV) lines (the ones commonly seen along roads). It uses the Motorola Canopy wireless system for this link. The Powerline LV Solution only sends data over the neighborhood low-voltage (LV) lines, after the transformer, using HomePlug. This greatly reduces the potential for interference. Further, the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL [] ), the organization of amateur radio operators in the U.S., was consulted during its development, had its interference issues addressed, and supports the Motorola Powerline LV Solution [] .

Re:ARRL -well, least worst of a bad lot, they say (2, Insightful)

ankhank (756164) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311177)

ARRL says this "should reduce the probability of interference to radio amateurs down to a level where it is reasonable to address the remaining interference on a case-by-case basis" if it's done right, that in theory it's "better engineering."

Comes down to, we who are ARRL members get to try to police another technological marvel and wonder against the companies that build things a little cheaper and a little worse than they promise.

I'm pretty dubious. Engineers, they can do things better, usually, than they're allowed to. Lawyers and Board of Directors members and top management, I suspect, are already doing business as competently and honestly as they possibly can, given the limitations of their roles.

Which is Enron, WorldCom, and the like.

The corporation -- remember, it's treated as a "legal "person" in our legal system -- is a "person" who lacks the requisite intellectual honesty to deal in a trustworthy way with physics, electronics, or even simple honest math.

No conscience, no brain, just a very sophisticated jellyfish with very long tentacles.

Nah Gah Happan. (1)

Blrfl (46596) | more than 9 years ago | (#13310950)

Cue loud bitching and lawsuits by the incumbent phone companies in 5... 4... 3... 2...

Just another competing technology (1)

gearmonger (672422) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311136)

There are loads of alternate delivery mechanisms for the last-mile Internet service problem, and this is just one more. Granted, it sounds compelling, but between now and when it might get implemented, utilities and ISPs will be seduced/distracted by half a dozen newer/better/prettier/cheaper alternatives offered by various technology companies.

I've been using Current's BPL service for about a year now and it's been pretty decent. Except for fluctuating access speeds (range from 500kbps to 2.5mbps down), it's been fairly reliable and cheaper than RoadRunner.

Reviewed Canopy for work a year ago (2, Informative)

mdouglas (139166) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311219)

I evaluated the Canopy system about a year ago for a project at work. Motorola is a great RF company but they don't know IP networking very well. Some of the things I noticed were:

-administration via telnet & http, no ssh or https
-no way to filter administrative connections based on source IP address
-administrative access is based on a locally defined username & password on each access point and subscriber module. they can't authenticate admin sessions from a radius or tacacs server
-the encryption suite is proprietary. while they do use AES as the encryption algorithm, the overall protocol is not based on IPSec, WPA, WEP, or any other standard
-subscriber modules use a manufacturers default encryption key to authenticate to the access point. a key management server must be implemented use a different key.

I don't know if any of that has been fixed in the past year or not. I have no clue how they got this device FIPS 140-2 certified. Unsurprisingly the security through obscurity worshipping government agencies I deal with are completely ga-ga over the Canopy. They are in love with the idea that the Canopy runs on a non 802.11 a/b/g frequency (because obviously no bad hackers will ever find it).

Same thing here, at Schaumburg to evaluate Canopy (2, Interesting)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311587)

I agree totally, I was up in Schaumburg a year ago to evaluate Canopy (I work for a VAR of theirs). I found the product to be balky, overly sensnsitive to multipath interference, using an antiquated modulation scheme and requiring rather large reflector antennas to get the signal more than a few miles. The technology is there. I also work with similar products from other manufacturers who can give a good 10-20 mile radio shot up to 155 Mbps. Motorola has been doing it's best to come up with more marketing and applications uses for Canopy. In the building, talking to their folks you can feel their desperation.

Re:Reviewed Canopy for work a year ago (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 9 years ago | (#13312207)

I've been using Canopy since mid 2002.

Now you can only upgrade the firmware if you run the right flavor of linux or windows since they won't tell you how to upgrade units without the new CUNT (which kills units but they are only $300+ each so who cares.

telnet uid is "root" and you can't change it and you can overload its http and telnet by lots of attempts.

They send 64 byte blocks using DES which means once you find the right key, the rest are trivial. The have known about this for at least a year but think the AES is and upgrade which costs far more.

They require a broken 3rd party program to maintain lock-downs to mac addressee and that doesn't work like they would want since the program can't pass even a cursory security check.

There is no way it can be FIPS 140-2 certified. Its got too many weak keys at least in DES mode and I'm guessing that AES has the same weak keys.

Re:Reviewed Canopy for work a year ago (3, Insightful)

ar32h (45035) | more than 9 years ago | (#13313867)

First off, some of your canopy info pages have proven helpful to me in the past, thank you.

I've run CNUT on Windows and Ubuntu (they only "support" Windows and RHEL.)
I just finished updating a few thousand units using CNUT on Ubuntu. 0 units bricked or requiring end user intervention to recover. Motorola has been very good about replacing the few units that have died on us.

You can still upgrade the units without CNUT, the CNUT .pkg files are just ZIP files with all the firmware images and a manifest. Following the old instructions worked well the one time I tried it for the sake of curiosity.

CNUT is just a Java front-end to a bunch of perl scripts that script the original update process. They even packaged up their perl bits in a tidy little module. You should be able to make CNUT run wherever Java and perl run.

I would not run any Canopy Firmware older than 6.1, and you should have a really good reason to not be running 7.0.7 or 7.2.9.

You should not have the management interface on a routed subnet. If you are that paranoid, turn on VLAN support and change the management VLAN. The management interface and daemons have a number of little quirks. None of them have caused any problems for us since we a) use private IP space for management and b) keep the management interface on a management VLAN.

The AES unit uses a more powerful FPGA which costs a bit more. Granted that is probably not enough to account for the price difference.

You can control some (SNMP) administrative access by subnet. It is

They provide a access control server that is a bit crude, but it has good API docs and does what we want it to, which is control access and limit bandwidth.

I'd like to see a RADIUS client as much as the next guy, but BAM works fine and has a well documented database schema and SOAP interface.

If you are truly paranoid, get the AES unit and use the reset plug to disable the management interface and turn it into a dumb bridge.

It is trivial to access a Canopy network if the network was thrown up in 15 minutes.
It can also be virtually impossible to access if the designer has implemented a VLAN and subnet segregated network, is using BAM, turns off AP Eval, etc.

In the end, I agree that their RF side is good and the code side could use some work. In practice, their code quirks are avoided anyway by using good practices elsewhere.

The Canopy radios are neat little software radios (the only difference between them is the size of the onboard antenna and software load.) I can't wait for someone to figure out how to reprogram them for some other purpose (802.11 or TV tuner or something.)

BPL Messed Up By Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13311281)

Everyone always blames the HAMs for trying to block BPL from coming, but even if the infastructure is built, the interference from HAMs, CB, and HF Police could make parts of the system dead [] anyway.

Interference? (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311346)

They haven't solved the horrible interference problems [] caused by BPL yet, have they?

reuse makes sense, but has it's downsides. (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311419)

powerlines area great idea fulfilling the holy grail of reuse of resources, but when a tornado or thunderstorm blows through an area, it can wipe out a good portion of internet service for days vs. underground cable or satellite. Also, reuse has a downside usually, a single point of failure usually presents itself, which doesn't fall within the original philosophy of the internet.

Re:reuse makes sense, but has it's downsides. (1)

cornface (900179) | more than 9 years ago | (#13312644)

If your internet connection is so critical that you have emergency backup power to keep your equipment running for days, then you probably have redundant connections to the internet, no?

Apologies if I'm missing something.

Selling the Sizzle (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311707)

"Wireless" is exactly the biggest problem with BPL: its RF radiation noise interferes with other equipment nearby. It might even have health effects, with high electric field fluxes, as have been reported in trials. I guess Motorola is enterprising in making a virtue of necessity, but they should also advertise the "free tanning spas" they'd install throughout our towns, if only appreciable by bees and Martians.

Field trials.. PLEASE ! (1)

cosmic_0x526179 (209008) | more than 9 years ago | (#13311984)

Will someone from Intellon PLEASE call Central Florida Electric Coop (like we're only 60 miles away up here) and get them to run field trials of this. There are many places out here in the woods where Helllsouth is thumbing their collective nose at customers screaming for DSL. If the coop sees a good reason to server their members (not just customers, we are all members of the coop) I think this could be a great thing. Just as long as the hardware can survive a typical season of Florida lightning storms lol.

peculiar how few comments for this important topic (1)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#13312249)

If this pans out, and a major company is saying it will, then this is a BIG deal.

Funny, though, on what is supposedly the primary technophile site in the world, how few comments there are here.

And funny how many of the comments are negative.

And the naysaying comments are not well thought out or persuasive.


Is everyone here a ham radio person or a lobbyist for the telcos, or what?

Re:peculiar how few comments for this important to (1)

zipoh (643469) | more than 9 years ago | (#13313532)

Seems like this an attempt to overcome "the last mile" problem by some player not the telco or cable company. Like the power company. Maybe the wireless could overcome the last mile as that's what it barely able to do anyway. But most major trafic after that must go fiber anyway. That even they would have to rent.

Tell Me Again (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 9 years ago | (#13312703)

when it's available in my neighborhood and at a price point equal to or less than the $29.95 I'm paying now for 3Mbps DSL (and not getting 3Mbps, but that's another story.)

I like the idea, but last I heard Internet over public powerline was less than a proven concept, let alone a product (not counting the home powerline systems). Particularly at 200Mbps.
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