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CommMag2003 - IEEE COMMUNICATIONS 1 A Comparative...

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IEEE: COMMUNICATIONS 1 A Comparative Performance Study of Wireless and Power Line Networks Yu-Ju Lin and Haniph A. Latchman Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Richard E. Newman Computer and Information Science and Engineering Department University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611 and Srinivas Katar Intellon Corporation Ocala, Florida Abstract Local Area Networks based on the IEEE 802.11a/b wireless networking standards and emerging Power Line Communication (PLC) standards are attractive for establishing networks with “No New Wires” for in-home and business applications. This paper presents a theoretical performance comparison of the 802.11 a/b and the Home- Plug 1.0 PLC protocols. The paper also presents comprehensive comparative field test results addressing such issues as coverage, channel stability and reliability as well as the associated implications on the capability of these technologies to provide QoS support for multimedia traffic in typical residential settings. Keywords Network measurements, Power Line Communication, Wireless Network, Home Networking Design, Multi- media Applications, 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, HomePlug 1.0, Quality of Service (QoS) I. I NTRODUCTION Candidate networking technologies for providing convenient and widespread residential and SOHO networking services may be categorized as Wireless Networks , Wired Networks and No New Wires Net- works . An extensive study of various infrastructure options and technologies appropriate for home net- works is given in [1]. Below, we give a short discussion of networks in the above three categories. Wireless Networks such as 802.11x, BlueTooth, and HomeRF can be constructed by installing multiple interconnected wireless access points (WAP) and base stations within target areas. The best benefit of using wireless networks is the freedom to move around while maintaining network connectivity. Blue- Tooth technology is targeted at personal communications and the coverage is expected to be limited. On the other hand, though HomeRF has been on the market for a few years, it is not yet widely accepted. Thus the most interesting and widely accepted wireless networking technologies are the 802.11x family. 802.11b operates in the 2.4 GHz band and provides a maximum data rate of 11 Mbps; 802.11a supports
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IEEE: COMMUNICATIONS 2 speeds of up to 54 Mbps and operates in the 5 GHz band. Standards for the newer IEEE 802.11g, which should provide data rates up to 54 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band, have not been finalized, and equipment was not available for testing. For Wired Networks , a comprehensive Ethernet network can be constructed by installing special UTP- 5 cabling. While the stability and the security of wired networks are guaranteed, installing new wires in existing home or other buildings may be costly, negating the low cost of the network interface cards.
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