HomeGrid Demonstrates New Powerline Test Plan

October 18, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

HomeGrid Forum will demonstrate the value of powerline testing using the new TR-208 test plan this week at Broadband World Forum in London's ExCel Centre. This is the first live demonstration of TR-208 based testing since this technical report was published by the Broadband Forum in August. It shows the distinctive performance characteristics of Powerline products, and allows a 'like for like' comparison with other home networking technologies.

The TR-208 Performance Test Plan for In-premises Powerline Communication Systems is a lab-based plan designed to give accurate, repeatable results over a wide range of conditions. This will allow HomeGrid Forum, and its accredited test houses, to determine the performance of products as part of certification. HomeGrid Forum has a robust and stringent certification program that should give peace of mind to both service providers and retail customers. is becoming universally recognized as a powerful Gigabit home networking technology over any type of home wiring. Broadband powerline communication systems (PLC) are an important element of this as they are available almost everywhere and provide a fast, flexible and reliable communication link between home devices. Testing PLC systems can however be difficult because of the large number of domestic devices in the home which create noise on the powerlines, and the wide variety of topologies and amounts of coupling. TR-208 provides the industry, operators, and test labs with a well-defined test bed specification, and a set of tests that enable a direct performance comparison to be made between different PLC products and technologies, which can be independently verified.

"Having a recognized test plan based on all powerline standards with the backing of the Broadband Forum gives our test results the credibility they need for operators and consumers alike," comments Donna Yasay, President of HomeGrid Forum. "We have seen many test plans being used to compare home networking technologies and the results are very variable, depending very much on the choice of set-up. TR-208 takes all the uncertainty and variability out of the set-up and gives truly comparable lab-verified results."

Using the knowledge gathered by operators, integrators and silicon providers, TR-208 provides set-ups that describe more realistic test scenarios, which are therefore more meaningful to operators. This expertise has been incorporated into TR-208 by the Broadband Forum.

Broadband Forum's CEO Robin Mersh says: "The key to establishing new technologies and ensuring their ability to work with the many other communications protocols in the network is in having strong, universally accepted testing procedures. HomeGrid Forum has actively supported this approach and we are happy to support efforts to define the test plans, set-ups, procedures and test equipment required to achieve quality results."

HomeGrid Forum will also demonstrate the universal PLC splitters (UPLCs) required by TR-208 at Broadband World Forum. These splitters allow the tester to build repeatable scenarios in a lab environment and enable easy manipulation of the channel, including the injection of noise and the modelling of SISO/MIMO effect. The HomeGrid Forum will provide an easy way to procure parts of the test equipment required by TR-208 on its website.