It is a good idea to buy Wi-Fi products certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance if you want to ensure the interoperability between products of different vendors.
Similarly, you want to look for HomePlug-certified products when shopping for power-line network devices.
Power-line devices are those that enable the electrical wiring of your home to transmit data signals, hence allowing for extending the network to different parts of the property without running network cables.
Most of these devices are based on the HomePlug AV standard, but products from different vendors are not guaranteed to work with one another until they are tested and certified by HomePlug Powerline Alliance, the group that promotes the adoption of power-line networking technology. This is similar to the Wi-Fi Alliance with Wi-Fi products.
The updated standard for power-line technology, also known as IEEE 1901, was recently ratified, marking a major milestone for power-line networking, as it helps unify and stabilize the industry. The HomePlug Powerline Alliance announced Monday that it has now enhanced the HomePlug AV certification program to include products based on the ratified IEEE 1901 specification.
The newly ratified standard is designed to accommodate a wide range of major applications for power-line communications, including in-home broadband networks for data, audio, and video distribution, Smart Energy and Smart Grid, and plug-in electrical vehicles.
According to the group, IEEE 1901 is fully interoperable with the HomePlug AV broadband specification as well as the forthcoming HomePlug AV2 broadband specification, which is due for completion in the second quarter of 2011.
Currently, about 60 million HomePlug devices are in use worldwide, accounting for the majority of installed power-line products.