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ST, Arkados co-develop 'first' HomePlug AV SoC

Posted: 04 Nov 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HomePlug SoC? HDTV? modem powerline?

Arkados and STMicroelectronics have partnered to develop and manufacture a 200Mbit/s HomePlug AV wideband powerline modem SoC.

Planned for availability mid-next year, the first HomePlug AV SoC is designed to power applications ranging from simple Ethernet-to-powerline bridges to full-featured products as wide ranging as HDTV distribution, digital STBs, IPTV, whole-house audio, networked digital picture frames, surveillance systems, as well as also industrial and commercial applications, especially targeting the Smart Grid and Green Energy segments. Components of these systems use powerline communications technology to establish robust and secure connections using the existing electrical wires in a home or building.

The HomePlug AV-based SoC will boast an integrated analog front end, a wide variety of built-in interfaces and a powerful ARM processor. The SoC will offer processing in 65nm geometry, providing savings in both cost and power consumption, while also offering full interoperability with the existing base of nearly 20 million HomePlug 1.0 chips, a feature currently not available in competing HomePlug AV devices.

The next-generation chip will include support for the Inter PHY Communication Protocol (IPP), currently being defined by the IEEE P1901 Working Group; the chip could also be the first to market compatible with the expected IEEE 1901 industry standard for high-speed powerline communications.

"ST's investment into the design and development of this chip is a validation of both Arkados' vision and the entire powerline communication market," said Oleg Logvinov, president and CEO of Arkados. "By uniting the best technology and IP blocks from ST, with Arkados' ten-year powerline chip experience and unique application-friendly HomePlug AV implementation, this single device can offer the cost-effective solution that the market needs - both for PHY/MAC-only solutions, and for the more powerful application-processing segments."

"The company believes that HomePlug AV is a market with a very high potential, in addition to recognizing the expertise of Arkados in developing cutting-edge powerline communications designs," said Pietro Menniti, general manager, industrial and power conversion division, ST.

The introduction of this device is timed to take place to meet the market's needs for communications solutions that help to implement Smart Grid and Green Energy applications. The agreement specifies that both ST and Arkados will market a version of the device specifically targeted at "bridging" applications such as Ethernet-to-Powerline adapters, or other applications where only a MAC/PHY implementation is needed. Arkados will continue to focus on marketing the chip for more full-featured connected media applications such as whole-house audio, IPTV, and segments of the smart-grid market.

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