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The future of home networking

OMEGA Open Event in Rennes                                          


Milon Gupta

The second OMEGA Open Event in Rennes, France, presented from 24th to 25th February 2010 presented leading-edge technologies which will shape the future of home networking. About 100 international experts witnessed the first public demonstration of OMEGA’s solutions, which will enable data transmission speeds up to one gigabit per second and the integration of heterogeneous communication technologies in the home. 

The Open Event presented the state-of-the-art and the future of home networking technologies and made the participants familiar with OMEGA's concepts and technological solutions. For the first time, OMEGA performed live demonstrations of its leading-edge research results.  

The Open Event covered four main topics: Radio, Power Line Communication (PLC), Wireless Optics, and Inter-MAC. The event consisted of two parts: a tutorial part on the first day and a workshop including presentations and technical demonstrations on the second day. The technical demonstrations included implementations of OMEGA solutions for Inter-MAC and Optical Wireless (Infrared Communications and Visible-Light Communications). In addition, the event was complemented by video and poster sessions. 


The tutorial part was specifically designed for Ph.D. students and other participants interested in the home networking technologies and concepts explored in the OMEGA project. In this context it was one of the goals of the event to build e-skills among graduate students. Thus, the OMEGA Open Event was part of the first European e-Skills Week 2010, an awareness campaign by the European Commission made to promote e-skills particularly among students, young professionals, and SMEs. 

The first tutorial by Jean-Philippe Javaudin and Martial Bellec from Orange Labs, who lead the OMEGA project, presented the vision, challenges and use cases of the digital home network. OMEGA’s vision is to develop a home network which is capable of delivering up to one gigabit per second over wired and wireless technologies anytime, anywhere, and on any device. The presenters showed examples of how such an easily configurable home network enables the end-user to enjoy seamless service access. 

The second tutorial was held by Vincenzo Suraci from the University of Rome. He explained OMEGA’s Inter-MAC concept, outlining the underlying architecture and the challenges to be addressed. Inter-MAC is an additional sub-layer between layers 2 (LLC/MAC) and 3 (IP). It adds features such as auto-configuration, QoS, redundancy, security etc. to the OMEGA network. He particularly described the challenges in forwarding high-rate packet streams in future home networks and solutions to this challenge using Inter-MAC as an additional sub-layer. 

In the third tutorial Pierre Jaffré from Orange Labs and Rafael Gonzalez from Telefonica I+D presented an introduction to the architecture of OMEGA’s gigabit home network. They first provided a functional description of the data, control and management planes and then presented the OMEGA security approach before finally explaining the potential of the OMEGA framework to support self care and customer care utilities as well as resource management. 


The workshop consisted of three topical sessions. The first session provided an overview on the UPnP-QoS standard for home networks. The standard defines a framework for the quality of service (QoS) of Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). Jelle Nellis from IBBT explained how UPnP-QoS works and which benefits it offers for home networking. Marco Castrucci from the University of Rome pointed out the advantages that can be achieved through the integration of UPnP-QoS and the Inter-MAC layer. 

The second session was dedicated to standardisation. Jed Hurwitz, CTO of Gigle Networks, presented his company’s solution, referring to several issues relevant for standardisation. Michael Bahr from Siemens presented the current status of OMEGA’s standardisation activities, pointing out the importance of standardisation for innovative solutions like the one developed within the OMEGA project. 

Finally, in the third session, the focus was on connectivity in the future sustainable home. Kenjiro Nishikawa from NTT in Japan presented the state of the art in ultra high-speed radio communication systems and their applications, pointing out the opportunities and challenges of different emerging communication technologies relevant for sustainable home networking. Andreas Foglar from Lantiq and Marie-Hélène Hamon from Orange Labs presented OMEGA’s technical approach towards the sustainable home. 


The highlight of the event were certainly the four demonstrations of OMEGA solutions. The first demonstrator showed how the project implemented Inter-MAC on top of Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Power-Line Communication (PLC). The second implementation demonstrated video streaming via Visible-Light Communications (VLC), where data can be communicated via an ordinary LED lamp.
OMEGA's Inter-Mac demonstrator

The live demos were complemented by videos showing OMEGA's implementation of infra-red and 60 GHz radio communication. In addition, the participants had the opportunity to view posters on OMEGA’s results in the foyer and discuss with the Omega partners technical subjects like connectivity via radio, powerline, and wireless optics as well as techno-economic aspects. 

The final results of OMEGA will be presented at the third Open Event which will be held in Rennes in December 2010 or January 2011. 

Further information about the Open Event 2010, including downloadable presentation slides are available at

About OMEGA: OMEGA is an Integrating Project in the ICT area which receives funding by the European Commission under the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). The project is running for three years from January 2008 to December 2010.

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