by May 1, 2000 0 comments

You connect to the Internet
over telephone, or over network cables. Nothing new in that. What about
accessing the Net through your electric socket? Shocking? Read on.

So far, the Net has been very
much a computers-only service. That is, you need to have a computer for Net
access, or looking at it from the other side, the Net could reach only
computers. As we saw earlier, cell phones and other wireless devices are now
trying to enter this space. But they aren’t the only ones in the queue. A
whole lot of gadgets and appliances would like to connect and communicate
over the Net.

Let’s look at some standard
examples. What about your microwave downloading settings for that new dish
you want to try out, from the Website you downloaded the menu from? Or on
the same token, what about your washing machine downloading the settings for
that expensive dress, right from the online shop where the dress was bought?
Makes life simple. Right?

Again the bright sparks are
at work, Internet-enabling all sorts of gadgets and devices. That’s the
easy part. Now comes the question. How do you connect up all the appliances
in your home–refrigerator, washing machine, food processor, microwave,
computers, radio, TV…–to the Net? Face it, we’re talking of a
full-fledged network at your home. Obviously, you can’t use individual
telephone dialups for each piece of equipment. So, you need a network. There
are two major options for doing this. One camp argues that home networking
is best done with telephone cables. This is along more or less familiar
routes. The other argues that you should use already existing connections–the
electrical outlets–for home networking. Companies are already at work,
developing standards and technologies for routing the Net over electricity
lines and through your electric plugs. Wait a year, or even less, to see the
early results of their efforts. 

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