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HomePlug Alliance Readies AV Spec

The high-speed HomePlug AV spec is on target to be ratified at the end of March, and the group behind it plans to make HomePlug AV the baseline technology for the group’s HomePlug Broadband-over-Power Line (BPL) specification.

The group, the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, said its spec offers 200Mbps-class networking, and — unlike wireless networking — was developed from the ground up to handle higher bandwidth content such as video, said HomePlug’s president Oleg Logvinov, who is also president and CEO of chipmaker Arkados. HomePlug AV combines technologies from several companies, including Arkados, Conexant Systems, Intellon and Sharp.

Although no specific announcements were made, it is expected that production of HomePlug AV chipsets will begin within months of the specification’s ratification, with add-on products possibly hitting the market at the end of the year. Pete Griffin, corporate technology director for RadioShack, said his company is strongly behind the powerline technologies. “We know something about making new technologies work,” he said.

Members of the alliance also said it has selected the MAC and PHY technology for HomePlug AV to be the baseline technology for HomePlug BPL, which will have several advantages, including compatibility with HomePlug 1.0 and A/V devices and the ability to leverage economies of scale as the same ICs will likely support both HomePlug AV and BPL.

The group said that a BPL working group has been established and that a target of December 2005 has been established for BPL specifications.

The alliance said that more more than 2 million HomePlug 1.0 ICs have been sold and that the market is now moving from adapters to embedded products.