Monday, June 14, 2010

Atheros Wins $4.5 Million DoE Grant for Smart Grid

Atheros Communications has been awarded a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) to develop powerline chips designed to provide two-way data communications over existing AC wiring, a vital element for Smart Grid applications. The chips -- based on the Green PHY specification now approved and published by the HomePlug Powerline Alliance -- will meet the low-power, high-reliability requirements of the utilities industry and comply with the IEEE 1901 global networking standard.

Atheros will match the initial $4.5 million investment to develop the industry's first HomePlug Green PHY-based chip. The solution will feature dramatically lower power consumption (75% power reduction over current HomePlug AV solutions), robust coverage, and the extended temperature range needed for outdoor meters. With scalable data rates from 250 Kbps to 10 Mbps, the Atheros chip will enable communications across existing electrical wiring including 120/240 VAC or 24 VAC low-voltage wiring to thermostats.

Atheros said its Green PHY-based powerline technology enables two-way data communications among smart meters and in-home systems and appliances (such as air conditioning, water heaters, pool pumps, and washers and dryers) over powerline-based Home Area Networks.

  • In December 2009, Atheros Communications completed its acquisition of Intellon Corporation, adding powerline communications (PLC) solutions for home networking, networked entertainment, broadband-over-powerline (BPL) access, Ethernet-over- Coax (EoC) and smart grid management applications.

  • Intellon, which is based in Orlando, Florida, specializes in powerline communications, providing HomePlug compliant and other powerline integrated circuits for home networking, networked entertainment, BPL access, Ethernet-over-Coax (EoC), smart grid management and other commercial applications. Intellon created and patented the baseline technology for HomePlug 1.0, and is a major contributor to the baseline technology for the 200-Mbps PHY-rate HomePlug AV powerline standard and the draft IEEE P1901 powerline standard. The company has sold more than 34 million HomePlug-based ICs to date.


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