Meeting the Demands of the Digital Home with High-Speed Multi-Hop Wireless Networks
Meeting the Demands of the Digital Home withHigh-Speed Multi-Hop Wireless Networks
Lakshman Krishnamurthy, Network Architecture Lab, Intel CorporationSteven Conner, Network Architecture Lab, Intel CorporationMark Yarvis, Network Architecture Lab, Intel CorporationJasmeet Chhabra, Network Architecture Lab, Intel CorporationCarl Ellison, Network Architecture Lab, Intel CorporationChuck Brabenac, Communications and Interconnect Technology Lab, Intel CorporationErnest Tsui, Communications and Interconnect Technology Lab, Intel Corporation
In the near future, homes will be equipped with wirelessnetworks that bridge data and consumer electronicsnetworks, interconnecting desktop PCs, mobile laptopsand handhelds, High-Definition TVs (HDTVs), DVD players, camcorders, and other multimedia devices. Thisenvironment introduces new wireless network requirements, including high and dependable bandwidth,low latency, and coverage throughout the home. Multi-hop wireless technology offers unique benefits for creating a high-speed, robust home wireless network.However, to support these demanding usage models,significant wireless networking innovations are requiredacross the physical, MAC, and routing layers, andsolutions need to be found for higher level issues such asQuality of Service (QoS) guarantees, device discovery,and security. In addition, user acceptance of multi-hopwireless networks will require ease of installation. IntelR&D is currently researching self-organizing multi-hopwireless networks for home environments. This paper introduces the technologies and tradeoffs needed tocreate a multi-hop wireless home network, identifying benefits and limitations. In particular, we describe usagescenarios and assumptions that drive the requirements.Finally, we provide an outline of the key technology problems that must be solved and recommend thenecessary next steps to make this vision a reality.
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) technologies are beginning to gain a foothold in the home computer market. Wireless networks allow the home user to sharedata and Internet access without the inconvenience andcost of pulling cables through walls or under floors andwithout unsightly network jacks. Pulling cables andinstalling new network jacks are particularly challengingin existing homes and apartments. In addition, wirelessLANs provide the convenience of untethered computingfor laptops and handhelds from anywhere in or around ahouse.The benefits of wireless need not be limited to computer networking. As the bandwidth of wireless networksincreases, audio/video home entertainment will be thenext target, replacing device-to-device cabling as well as providing distribution throughout the home. Rather thanmaintaining separate networks for different types of devices, as is common with wireless LANs and cordlesstelephones, a unified technology is desirable to reducethe cost and complexity of installation and to allowcross-device communication and functionality. For instance, a consumer should be able to insert a DVD intoa player in the living room and watch it on a TV in the bedroom or on a laptop on the back porch. Such anetwork will need to span the entire home, allowing anytwo devices to communicate. Figure 1 below showstypical devices in a home: entertainment devices,HDTVs, DVD players, game consoles, PCs, and laptops.A multi-hop network that interconnects these clusters isalso shown.
Figure 1: Devices in a typical home clustered invarious rooms