Alliance builds phone-based home network without Microsoft

Network hardware and software firms are joining to find a best-fit method of bringing networking into the home, and without the approval of Microsoft.

The Home Phoneline Networking Alliance -- made up of IBM, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, AMD, AT&T, Lucent, 3Com, and Rockwell -- is working on a new networking standard that uses standard telephone lines to link computers within the home and to the outside world.

Products are expected to emerge at the end of the year and will be based on Tut Systems' HomeRun technology, a 1.3Mbps Ethernet-compatible network that uses the standard telephone cable.

All is not plain sailing, however, and the HomePNA lost a valuable member when Microsoft quit last week.

Earlier this year, Microsoft allied with AT&T and venture capitalists Itochu to create a $15million investment in Tut Systems and at the time expressed a desire to work with Tut Systems' other partners. It is not known why Microsoft have now pulled out of the HomePNA group.