nVoy Program and Technology Overview

Benefits to the Home Network
Today, consumers want to always be connected to access entertainment and information anytime, anywhere. A typical home environment contains many end devices, including Set Top Boxes (STBs), Smart TVs, desktop computers, laptops, peripherals, tablets, smartphones and other consumer devices connected to the home network. In the future, the devices connected to the network will also include home appliances and home-automation products, as well as security and monitoring devices - all providing a rich application and services environment. While no single home networking technology can completely meet providers’ and consumers’ needs for bandwidth and coverage, a hybrid network combining technologies effectively creates a system with an overall increased coverage and capacity.
 
nVoy technology makes hybrid home networking mainstream by certifying devices implementing the IEEE 1905.1 hybrid networking standard. HomePlug Alliance, the industry Alliance comprised of industry leaders at each level of the value chain supports nVoy certification, to ensure a well-prepared launch of a robust certification program for products implementing nVoy networking. The nVoy network interfaces and protocols work with the existing, already deployed HomePlug®, MoCA® or Ethernet and Wi-Fi networks. This brochure describes the benefits and features of nVoy Certified products.

Why nVoy Certified
Consumers now use connected devices across the home, and no single connectivity technology can meet the performance and coverage needs for all areas of every home in every region. Some portions of a home may benefit from using HomePlug, MoCA or Ethernet, while others use Wi-Fi—each has its advantages in certain scenarios. Market drivers for development of nVoy Certified products include:

Hybrid networking was conceived as an idea to provide constant connectivity without blind spots in all possible configurations of homes. Users no longer need to merely access the Internet intermittently and with a single device at home, but need to connect with a wide variety of video and smart devices throughout their homes. Thus the idea of reliable connectivity is now extremely important. And with nVoy enabled devices, users can easily and securely set up their own networks, whether they contain devices that link via wired or wireless connections.

Key Advantages of nVoy Certified Devices

The advantages of utilizing nVoy Certified devices include simple setup, configuration and operation of home networking devices using multiple interfaces for strong coverage and bandwidth.
 
A major advantage of utilizing nVoy Certified devices is that they are backward compatible and interoperable with products already deployed in users’ homes. nVoy enabled products developed using the 1905.1 standard augment rather than replace current equipment already in the home, because they are interoperable with already deployed HomePlug, MoCA, Wi-Fi and Ethernet equipment. This means there is no loss of investment to service providers nor additional expense to consumers from switching technologies.

Key Benefits of nVoy Technology

"Devices incorporating nVoy technology simplify network setup for consumers. For example, setting up a device may be as easy as pushing a button, and the device will use nVoy topology-discovery to locate other devices and configure the network. Proficiency in setting up a network is no longer required.”

-Scot Cuthbertson, Technical Director—MStar Semiconductor (Europe)


Harmonize Networks with nVoy Certified Devices.

Synergy of Wired Performance with Wireless Mobility
The 1905.1 standard harmonizes widely adopted standards including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, HomePlug and MoCA to ensure high speed wired and wireless connectivity throughout the home. nVoy technology is the perfect solution for demanding applications regardless of device type and proximity to the home broadband connection. 

Ease of Use
A common complaint of both service providers and consumers is the difficulty and time required to install and configure home network systems. Installation often requires services providers  to make onsite home visits to run cables, install software and configure devices. Even if self-install kits and remote-troubleshooting help are provided, some technical knowledge is required, and many consumers may not be able to configure a system without onsite help. Devices incorporating nVoy technology are designed for ease of use to alleviate this common frustration. nVoy technology contains common setup methods for adding devices to a network with secure links and automatic configuration of secondary Wi-Fi access points.

Advanced Diagnostics

Locating throughput or performance problems across devices in the home is time-consuming for both service providers and consumers. Service providers also have the expense—and homeowners the inconvenience---of sending staff to the home to resolve an issue. Devices that are nVoy Certified contain built-in advanced diagnostics to help prevent and identify problems. Remote-access capabilities also make it easy for service providers to troubleshoot by gaining access to a customer’s network diagnostic information.

Topology Discovery
nVoy technology includes the ability to automatically discover devices on the network and how they are connected. Furthermore, it can determine the link metrics among devices to identify and resolve bottlenecks and misconfiguration.

Simplified Security Setup
nVoy Certified devices automatically include consistent authentication procedures. Push-button and NFC security configuration helps consumers of all skill levels enable network security.

Automatic Configuration of Wi-Fi Access Points
nVoy technology includes configuration of Wi-Fi extender-access points. This feature makes adding a device to a network or changing configuration easier for both service providers and consumers.

Universal Connectivity and Coverage
For the first time, hybrid home networks can be optimized for true, whole-home connectivity and coverage by incorporating nVoy technology in a wide variety of wired and wireless devices.

Energy Management
nVoy devices with energy management capabilities can optimize power usage across different technologies for “greener” operations. They do this by selecting interfaces for transmission of data to allow other interfaces to be placed in sleep mode. This enables users to save power without sacrificing network performance.

“Home networks typically use a variety of wired and wireless technologies. HomePlug and Wi-Fi devices that provide ubiquitous connectivity can team with wired technologies such as MoCA and Ethernet that may have higher data rates. The additional capabilities in nVoy based devices will add improved network discovery, diagnostics, ease of setup, configuration and security. All this together provides an all-star team of hybrid home networking capabilities.”
-Stephen Palm, Senior Technical Director—Broadcom


nVoy technology lays a solid foundation for higher layer applications
Above the nVoy framework, vendors can choose to implement applications that are not contained in nVoy Certification.

Aggregated Throughput

Applications could implement throughput aggregation to combine throughput from multiple interfaces simultaneously. For example, HomePlug and Wi-Fi connections could both be used to increase networking performance when there are multiple streams for demanding consumer applications such as IPTV and online gaming.

Load Balancing

Applications above nVoy framework could enable load balancing capability, allowing traffic sources to select different paths on a hybrid network to intelligently distribute demanding applications, such as high definition video, over different paths. This can increase a hybrid network’s reliability by limiting congestion and alleviating network glitches by switching paths if one becomes impaired.

Fallback
Fallback applications above nVoy enabled framework could optimize the hybrid network by making an alternative route available when a link is down or congested, resulting in increased performance and network reliability.

“nVoy hybrid networks can harmonize a home’s broadband entertainment network with its energy management and control systems to enable the Internet of Everything. By synthesizing the most widely adopted wired and wireless technologies, nVoy enabled products will bring a new level of interoperability to devices in the connected home."
-Todd Antes, VP of Product Management—Qualcomm Atheros


Technical Overview

Introduction
IEEE 1905.1 technology works by defining an abstraction layer (typically software) that acts as a common interface for the physical networking technologies of HomePlug, MoCA, Wi-Fi and Ethernet. The abstraction layer is an intermediary sublayer between the logical link control (LLC) layer two (L2) sublayer and underlying network technology MAC sublayer(s).

1905.1 standard provides a common data and control service access point (SAP) and acts as an interface receiving packets of information arriving from either upper layer protocols or the underlying physical network technologies.
 
The 1905.1 technology abstraction layer does not require any changes to the underlying network technologies it works with, and is backwards compatible with existing home network technologies already in use.

Building a Network
A nVoy network consisting of nVoy enabled devices communicate via Control Message Data Units (CMDUs) which are exchanged at Layer 2 between 1905.1 abstraction layers. CMDUs are received by a device’s neighboring 1905.1 abstraction layers, and some received CMDUs are relayed to other 1905.1 abstraction layers in order to propagate certain information to all nodes on the network.
 
The 1905.1 technology topology discovery protocol utilizes three procedures: a multicast discovery procedure to perform discovery of all devices immediately adjacent, a unicast topology query/response procedure to obtain finer topology details from a node and a relayed multicast topology notification procedure for updates to the network that are propagated to all nodes. The discovery procedure enables each 1905.1 management entity, an entity responsible for generating and processing 1905.1 interabstraction layer messages to identify neighbors amongst devices. The topology query/response procedure enables a 1905.1 management entity to receive information about nVoy devices and its neighbors. The topology notification procedure enables every 1905.1 management entity to be notified that the topology at another nVoy enabled device has changed. Thus, the 1905.1 topology discovery protocol saves users setup and configuration time, and resolves potential device conflicts which would otherwise require troubleshooting.

Security
nVoy technology security setup options easily allow devices to securely join a nVoy enabled network, whether devices are linked wired or wirelessly. They include: the push-button configuration method, where a user pushes a button on one nVoy enabled device and then on a second device within a certain time frame, causing the devices to join the same network over a secured link encrypted with a shared key; and the near-field communication network key method, where a user touches a device’s NFC interface with a second NFC device enabled to carry the 1905.1 network key, forwarding the key on to the other device.

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