CopperGate Communications announced a new HomePlug AV chipset that will enable 110 Mbps communications in home networks, while separately the HomePlug Powerline Alliance will host another HomePlug interoperability event, featuring three other silicon vendors and sponsored by both Cisco and Motorola.

“Any content, anywhere, anytime” isn’t going to work unless the vast majority of electronic devices can communicate, explaining an increased amount of activity in the last few years surrounding home networking standards.

CopperGate, in fact, is helping to push the unification of several home networking protocols associated with different wire media (powerline, coax and phone line) under the standard, but the industry still needs to take one step at a time to get to that point. 

One of those steps, CopperGate said, is the introduction of its HomePlug AV CG2110 chipset. HomePlug AV is the latest iteration of the HomePlug standard, designed to support higher data rates sufficient for HD video.

CopperGate has already produced silicon for HomePNA. It claims to be the first semiconductor company to support multiple home networking standards (HomePNA for coax and phone line and HomePlug AV for powerline).

The company assumes the chip will be most popular with OEMs who manufacture products for the European market, where service providers are considering HomePlug to distribute IPTV services within homes.

Michael Weissman, CopperGate’s vice president of North American marketing, said: “Our HomePlug AV chipset is the first step in building our powerline business and is especially important as we prepare for the next-generation solutions that are due to arrive in 2010. Experience in HomePlug will help CopperGate become the leader in by adding powerline expertise to our strong coax and phone know-how.”

The new chipset is designed to deliver up to a 200 Mbps physical layer (PHY) bit rate and up to 110 Mbps effective throughput. The chipset is optimized to stream high- and standard-definition TV (HDTV and SDTV), VoIP and other applications that are highly time-sensitive and require low latency.

The chipset will integrate a HomePlug AV media access control (MAC) and PHY transceiver that interfaces with an external integrated analog front end (AFE). The chipset implements OFDM, channel adaptation, FEC and noise mitigation schemes.

The HomePlug Powerline Alliance today announced that three different chipset vendors will collaborate with interoperability and certification testing for the HomePlug AV standard. Three silicon vendors will be participating in the tests: Gigle Semiconductor, Intellon Corp. and SPiDCom Technologies.

In addition to interoperability tests for HomePlug, the participants will also test compliance with the proposed IEEE 1901 standard, which addresses PHY- and MAC-based issues in powerline home networks.

The testbed will be the Laboratoire des Applications Numériques (LAN), an independent laboratory in France, during the week of Oct. 19.

The HomePlug Powerline Alliance said this interop plugfest event marks the first time that broadband, multimedia-class chipsets from multiple vendors are compliant with a global standard.

“Adoption of wired home networking is accelerating rapidly with deployment of broadband consumer applications such as triple-play services and HDTV,” said Tom Herbst, director of engineering for advanced research and development at Cisco Systems. “We see HomePlug powerline networking as a key backbone topology for home area networks and smart grid applications.”

In addition to the “HomePlug AV 1901 Plugfest,” HomePlug also announced new attributes for its powerline networking certification logo program. The new logo attributes will indicate compliance with IEEE 1901 features, as well as certification to HomePlug’s forthcoming “Green PHY” standard. HomePlug GP is a new specification due next year that is tailored to the requirements of utility companies for smart grid applications for home area networks. Products based on HomePlug GP will be interoperable with HomePlug AV and IEEE 1901 products, while dramatically reducing cost and power consumption.

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