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Differences between Wi-Fi and HPNA_338

Here, Phifer explains the difference between Wi-Fi and HPNA_338.

What is the difference between Wi-Fi and HPNA_338 wireless connection?
Wi-Fi is the brand applied to products that implement IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN standards and pass certification tests conducted by the Wi-Fi Alliance. 802.11 sends data over radio waves in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. An 802.11g WLANs operates at speeds up to 54 Mbps, reaching as far as a few hundred feet per access point, passing through walls, doors, floors, and other objects between transmitter and receiver.

HPNA standards for Home Phoneline Networking Association is an organization that certifies products which implement ITU Recommendation G.989.1, a document that describes how to transmit data over existing telephone wires within the walls of your home. Devices based on HPNA 3.0 can reach speeds up to 128 Mbps, but can only reach other devices that are physically connected to the same "copper wire."

HPNA is not a wireless technology per se -- it just reuses wires that are already there. Wi-Fi is a true wireless technology because it connects mobile devices over the air. Also, HPNA is only intended for residential use inside homes. Wi-Fi is widely deployed in residential, commercial, and private business facilities. It can make sense to combine these technologies -- for example, using HPNA to connect your broadband router to your Wi-Fi AP, then using Wi-Fi to connect laptops to that AP.

This was last published in August 2006

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