Last updated
Home Radio Frequency Working Group
HomeRF Working Group logo.gif
Formation 1998 (1998)
Extinction 2003 (2003)
Type Industry consortium

HomeRF was a wireless networking specification for home devices. It was developed in 1998 by the Home Radio Frequency Working Group, a consortium of mobile wireless companies that included Proxim Wireless, Intel, Siemens AG, Motorola, Philips and more than 100 other companies. [1]

Proxim Wireless

Proxim Wireless Corporation is a San Jose, California-based company that builds scalable broadband wireless networking systems for communities, enterprises, governments, and service providers. It offers wireless LAN, point-to-multipoint and point-to-point products through a channel network. The company is a product of many mergers and acquisitions over the years.

Intel American semiconductor company

Intel Corporation is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip manufacturer based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel ranked No. 46 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

Motorola, Inc. was an American multinational telecommunications company founded on September 25, 1928, based in Schaumburg, Illinois. After having lost $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009, the company was divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011. Motorola Solutions is generally considered to be the direct successor to Motorola, as the reorganization was structured with Motorola Mobility being spun off. Motorola Mobility was sold to Google in 2012, and acquired by Lenovo in 2014.


The group was disbanded in January 2003 after other wireless networks became accessible to home users and Microsoft began including support for them in its Windows operating systems. As a result, HomeRF fell into obsolescence.

Microsoft U.S.-headquartered technology company

Microsoft Corporation (MS) is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers. As of 2016, it is the world's largest software maker by revenue, and one of the world's most valuable companies. The word "Microsoft" is a portmanteau of "microcomputer" and "software". Microsoft is ranked No. 30 in the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Windows families include Windows NT and Windows Embedded; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Embedded Compact or Windows Server. Defunct Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

Operating system collection of software that manages computer hardware resources

An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs.


Initially called Shared Wireless Access Protocol (SWAP) and later just HomeRF, this open specification allowed PCs, peripherals, cordless phones and other consumer devices to share and communicate voice and data in and around the home without the complication and expense of running new wires. HomeRF combined several wireless technologies in the 2.4 GHz ISM band, including IEEE 802.11 FH (the frequency-hopping version of wireless data networking) and DECT (the most prevalent digital cordless telephony standard in the world) to meet the unique home networking requirements for security, quality of service (QoS) and interference immunity—issues that still plagued Wi-Fi (802.11b and g).[ citation needed ]

The industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio bands are radio bands reserved internationally for the use of radio frequency (RF) energy for industrial, scientific and medical purposes other than telecommunications. Examples of applications in these bands include radio-frequency process heating, microwave ovens, and medical diathermy machines. The powerful emissions of these devices can create electromagnetic interference and disrupt radio communication using the same frequency, so these devices were limited to certain bands of frequencies. In general, communications equipment operating in these bands must tolerate any interference generated by ISM applications, and users have no regulatory protection from ISM device operation.

Quality of service (QoS) is the description or measurement of the overall performance of a service, such as a telephony or computer network or a cloud computing service, particularly the performance seen by the users of the network. To quantitatively measure quality of service, several related aspects of the network service are often considered, such as packet loss, bit rate, throughput, transmission delay, availability, jitter, etc.

Wi-Fi wireless local area network technology based on IEEEs 802.11 standards

Wi-Fi is technology for radio wireless local area networking of devices based on the IEEE 802.11 standards. Wi‑Fi is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, which restricts the use of the term Wi-Fi Certified to products that successfully complete, then after many years of testing the 802.11 committee interoperability certification testing.

HomeRF used frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) in the 2.4 GHz frequency band and in theory could achieve a maximum of 10 Mbit/s throughput; its nodes could travel within a 50-meter range of a wireless access point while remaining connected to the personal area network (PAN). Several standards and working groups focused on wireless networking technology in radio frequency (RF). Other standards include the popular IEEE 802.11 family, IEEE 802.16, and Bluetooth.

Spread spectrum Spreading the frequency domain of a signal

In telecommunication and radio communication, spread-spectrum techniques are methods by which a signal generated with a particular bandwidth is deliberately spread in the frequency domain, resulting in a signal with a wider bandwidth. These techniques are used for a variety of reasons, including the establishment of secure communications, increasing resistance to natural interference, noise and jamming, to prevent detection, and to limit power flux density.

Wireless access point device that allows wireless devices to connect to a wired network using Wi-Fi, or related standards

In computer networking, a wireless access point (WAP), or more generally just access point (AP), is a networking hardware device that allows other Wi-Fi devices to connect to a wired network. The AP usually connects to a router as a standalone device, but it can also be an integral component of the router itself. An AP is differentiated from a hotspot, which is the physical location where Wi-Fi access to a WLAN is available.

Personal area network Computer network centered on an individual persons workspace

A personal area network (PAN) is a computer network for interconnecting devices centered on an individual person's workspace. A PAN provides data transmission among devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets and personal digital assistants. PANs can be used for communication among the personal devices themselves, or for connecting to a higher level network and the Internet where one master device takes up the role as gateway. A PAN may be wireless or carried over wired interfaces such as USB.

Proxim Wireless was the only supplier of HomeRF chipsets, and since Proxim also made end products, other manufacturers complained that they had to buy components from their competitor. The fact that our group didn't address that conflict led to the eventual downfall of HomeRF, which occurred during an economic recession when companies already struggled to justify duplicate engineering and marketing efforts - for HomeRF, 802.11 and Bluetooth. The fact that HomeRF was developed by a consortium and not an official standards body also put it at a disadvantage against Wi-Fi and its IEEE 802.11 standard.[ citation needed ]

AT&T joined the group because HomeRF was designed for high-speed broadband services and the need to support PCs, phones, stereos and televisions; but last-mile deployment occurred more slowly than expected and with slower speeds. So it was natural that the home networking market focused more on multi-PC households sharing Internet connections for email and browsing than on integrating phone and entertainment services into a broadband service bundle. As a result, the original promoter companies gradually started pulling out of the group rather than supporting multiple standards. They included IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, Microsoft, and lastly Intel. That left only companies like Motorola, National Semiconductor, Proxim, and Siemens. Even Proxim started pulling away when negative media surrounding HomeRF started affecting its core data networking business, and that left Siemens to do the work of integrating voice, data and video. Siemens was willing to go it alone with HomeRF technology but was concerned by growing uncertainties in the cordless phone market, including mobile phone as home phone, VoIP over Wi-Fi, and 5 GHz vs. 2.4 GHz. When Siemens eventually got out of the cordless phone market, it was the final nail in the HomeRF coffin.[ citation needed ]

HomeRF received some success because of its low cost and ease of installation. [2] By September 2000, some confusion came from the "home" in the name, leading some to associate HomeRF with home networks, using other technologies such as IEEE 802.11b for businesses. [3] A digital media receiver for audio was marketed under the name "Motorola SimpleFi" that used HomeRF. [4] [5] In March 2001, Intel announced they would not support further development of HomeRF technology for its Anypoint line. [6] The group promoting 802.11 technology, the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) changed their name to the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2002, as the Wi-Fi brand became popular. [7]

The fact that WECA members lobbied the FCC for two years, which was effective in delaying the approval of wideband frequency-hopping, helped 802.11b catch up and gain an insurmountable lead in the market, which was then extended with 802.11g. The use of OFDM in 802.11a and .11g solved many of the RF interference problems of .11b. WPA and 802.11x also improved security over WEP encryption, which was especially important in the corporate world.[ citation needed ]

By January 2003 the Home Radio Frequency Working Group had disbanded. [8] Archives of the HomeRF Working Group are maintained by Palo Wireless and Wayne Caswell. [1] [9]

See also

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  1. 1 2 Wayne Caswell (November 17, 2010). "HomeRF Archives" . Retrieved July 16, 2011.
  2. Ted Coombs; Roderico Deleon (July 24, 2002). Basic Home Networking. Cengage Learning. pp. 12–14. ISBN   978-0-7668-6180-0.
  3. Joanie Wexler (September 25, 2000). "HomeRF vs. 802.11b". Network World Wireless in the Enterprise Newsletter. Network World Fusion. Archived from the original on January 20, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  4. "Motorola Simplefi review". CNet. August 16, 2002. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  5. Bill Howard (March 13, 2002). "Simplefi Your Digital Music". PC Magazine. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  6. "The Ripple Effect: How Intel's Choice to Support 802.11b is Affecting the Home Networking Market". Home Networks Newsletter. 3 (4). April 2001. pp. 9–10.
  7. Eric Griffith (July 17, 2002). "Wi-Fi5, We Hardly Knew Ye". 802.11 Planet. Archived from the original on December 7, 2002. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  8. Clint Boulton (January 8, 2003). "HomeRF Working Group Calls it Quits". Internet News. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  9. Eamon Myers. "HomeRF Resource Center Contents". Archived from the original on June 14, 2001. Retrieved September 14, 2013.

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