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  1. Technology
September 21, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Novell Inc has taken a big step forward in its mission to get NEST, the Novell Embedded Systems Technology, into home devices, through a new technology called NEST Powerline, which is designed to use existing electricity power lines to transfer data at speeds up to 1.5Mbps to 2Mbps. The firm has already signed up UtiliCorp United Inc, a Kansas City, Missouri electric and gas company with operations in the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Jamaica as a founding partner in a new consortium called the Smart Energy Network Alliance, which aims to set the standard for home control communications (CI No 2,748). Novell is touting a range of applications for the technology, including remote meter reading; home temperature regulation; and control of facsimile machines. Details of Powerline are sparse. Novell said it will release technical information later on but, in terms of performance, it said that it is similar to the technology developed by Odiham, Hampshire-based Remote Metering Systems Ltd: the latter is claiming speeds of 16Kbps for its technology. All that Novell will say about Powerline is that by taking advantage of previously unused bandwidth on standard electrical wiring… [it gives] consumers high-speed connections to information, appliances and each other – all by simply plugging the NEST-enabled device… into a conventional AC power outlet. Novell said it expects commercial products to start appearing throughout next year. Applications and services jointly developed between Novell and UtiliCorp will be co-branded, although the duo said that the main aim of the partnership is to create a Smart Ener gy Network Interface for the connection, integration, management, control and diagnostics of energy through the power line networks. Although membership of the Alliance is open to all, there will be a fee, the size of which is to be decided at a later date, Novell said.

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