Friday, February 02, 2007

Dead Tech: HomeRF

I seem to have a thing for technologies that failed in the marketplace, and today (while searching for information on Siemens Gigaset M34 USB/DECT dongle) I came across HomeRF - a failed competitor to WiFi. Back in the late 90's I didn't take much notice of wireless networking, mostly because I couldn't afford it, but also because I had no real use for it. So I missed the battle between HomeRF and WiFi (and there might have been something else called HiperLAN fighting it out as well).

HomeRF had some interesting features that differentiated it from WiFi. HomeRF had DECT built in, with a certain portion of HomeRF's bandwidth dedicated to voice. Another portion of bandwidth was allocated to audio/video streaming (apparently with up to 8 dedicated channels for A/V streaming). It was a technology that was mostly aiming for the home, as opposed to more expensive WiFi, which was supposedly designed for the office. It was also (allegedly) more secure and robust than WiFi by using frequency hopping. It's original incarnation was at the 1 Mbs point, with a 10 Mbs version 2 (versions 2.5 and 3 were announced, but never came to fruition).

HomeRF died at the end of 2002 when the consortium of companies behind HomeRF shut down it's working group. At one point, there were 100 member companies, but oddly, there was only ever one chipset manufacturer (Proxim). Most of the companies involved were also involved with WiFi, so it was fairly easy for them to jump ship.

HomeRF Archive

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