CEBIT: Power line networks speed up to 400Mbs

DS2 and Devolo are showing power line networks supporting speeds that are twice the maximum capacity of the current technology

At the Cebit trade show, DS2 and Devolo are showing faster power line networks, supporting speeds of up to 400M bps (bits per second) -- twice the maximum capacity that the technology provides today.

The higher speeds are needed if home networks are to keep up with ever-increasing broadband speeds, according to Ramon Garcia, business development manager at Spanish chip maker DS2.

Users will see around 200M bps in capacity at the application layer.

Products demonstrated at the German show, however, are only prototypes. The new technology won't show up in stores until the end of next year, at the earliest.

Two camps are currently racing towards the finish line. German company Devolo is a member of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, which is working with IEEE to develop a standard. DS2 is working on its own technology.

"We will start shipping a chipset during the second half of next year, which means products will be ready for Christmas or in the beginning of 2010," said Garcia.

Devolo also hopes to have products ready for the end of 2009.

"We need another two to three years to develop the technology," said Werner Fehn, director of product management at Devolo.

The HomePlug Powerline Alliance has about 70 members. D2's chipsets are used by carriers and products manufacturers, including British Telecom, Telefonica, D-Link and Netgear.

Both sides will have to compete for the home market with wireless networks, based on the 802.11-family.

"The main advantage with power line is better coverage, you have electrical wires to every room, but that's not always the case with wireless," said Fehn.

It's also better at handling video.

"Power line networks have a lower latency, which is very important for real-time streaming," said Garcia.

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