The Last Five Meters (1999)

By Gary H. Arlen, Arlen Communications Inc.

Home area networks (HANs) - formerly characterized as "home automation"- are finally becoming viable because of increasing functionality and usage of electronics and communications devices. Although households with multiple PCs have become a driving force for HANs (to share peripherals and/or Internet access), many other factors are affecting the development of home networks.

The last five (or maybe ten) meters in a house may become as big a challenge as the "last mile," which has impacted cable providers for decades. Five factors affect the deployment of HANs:

• lnteroperability • lnterconnectivity • Interface • Service/Support • Price

Cable operators will find them-selves on the front lines in dealing with these factors if/when consumers adopt HANs.

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