As we unveiled in our news section earlier today, Corinex has used CES to debut a pseudo-wireless Internet product geared specifically toward gamers. We say “pseudo” because the new product, called GameNet, doesn’t use any Cat-5 cables or routers to connect consoles to the Internet. But it doesn’t use a WiFi connection, either. So how do Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii gamers use GameNet to play games online? By plugging GameNet into an electrical outlet. The thing is, that’s it. All you do is plug it in. And you still get a 200 Mbps connection.
GameNet does this by using a system of two (or more) adapters that plug in to any run-of-the-mill electrical outlet in your house. With one adapter plugged into your modem and a nearby electrical outlet, the other adapter(s) can be plugged into any other outlet in your house and, using the house’s existing electrical wiring, create a fast, stable connection between the Internet and any Ethernet-enabled console (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii or original Xbox). GameNet can even connect multiple consoles together during LAN parties.
Although the technology itself isn’t new, we were fascinated to see it applied to the world of online gaming. After all, we do like our online games, right, Xbox Live and PlayStation Network members? So, we took some time at CES to chat with Brian Donnelly, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Corinex, to learn more about the company’s GameNet product and how it actually works.
So how exactly does this work? I imagine many gamers didn’t even know this technology existed.
Brian Donnelly: Corinex’s technology uses the electrical wiring in the home to transmit the signal. Essentially, our signal “rides on top of” the power in your home. There is an average of 25-40 power outlets in the home, and they are all connected, therefore we can place our adapters at any outlet in the home.
A more technical way of putting this is we modulate our signal to operate in the 2 MHz to 30 MHz frequency band (2,000,000 Hertz to 30,000,000 Hertz), this is superimposed on the standard 60 Hertz power signal in your home.
This seems like a radically new system. How long have you been working on this technology and/or product?
The technology is not actually that new, as it’s been around since the late 1990s. What is new, however, is the blazing speed of 200 Mbps (Megabits per second), the fact we can operate across the whole home (early systems didn’t work in every outlet), and that we have no latency, which means gaming is ultra fast — without any “stuttering” on the screen.
How much testing have you done to ensure GameNet works with both old and new homes (e.g. old vs. new wiring)? What other types of connections (WiFi, traditional wired) has this been tested against, and how consistent is its performance?
The performance can vary slightly from home to home, [but] because we have such a fast connection (“pipe”), we always have sufficient speed (or bandwidth) to work in every scenario, typically more than 60 Mbps in every scenario. As a comparison, Wireless G offers at BEST 10Mbps, and even less in areas far from their access point.
We’ve been selling our technology since 2000, although the speeds were a fraction of what they are today. We have sold hundreds of thousands of adapters and have a very low return rate.
Some Xbox LIVE gamers have had issues with their routers not being “open” enough to support a stable connection (or any connection at all). How have you made the GameNet hardware both secure and open while still giving it a simple two-minute configuration process?
You do not have to alter your router at all to use our devices. If the Internet “passes through” the router, that is sufficient for our adapters. Essentially, think of our devices as being like a big long piece of Cat-5 ethernet cabling. We can do anything Cat-5 can do, and we have the limitations that Cat-5 does as well (except you can plug and move our devices anywhere around the home of course!).
You say the GameNet works for LAN parties and events…that’s quite intriguing. Explain the logistics of that: would each person need a broadband modem/router, or would gamers simply plug into a live Ethernet jack in the wall?
The latter. As an example, if two friends each had an Xbox 360 and wanted to play an eight-player game with their friends, they can easily hook up their Xboxes with our devices, even if the Xboxes (and associated TV’s) were in different homes.
The PlayStation 3 and Wii both have Internet browsing capabilities. Does GameNet support those functions as well, or does it strictly enable multiplayer gaming?
Yes, we support these applications. Anything game consoles can do on the Internet, including gaming, instant messaging, browsing, etc., are fully supported.
Thanks to Corinex and Donnelly for talking the time to answer our questions during the busy-ness of CES.