Monday, April 18, 2011

Atheros Aims HomePlug Green PHY at "Internet of Things"

Atheros Communications is backing the new HomePlug Green PHY for powerline communications as a pathway for the "Internet of Things" and key tool in building Smart Grid energy solutions for the home.

HomePlug Green PHY (HPGP) is a subset standard of the widely deployed HomePlug AV powerline standard. The Green PHY specification enables a low-power, low-energy and robust connectivity solution, while supporting data rates up to 10 Mbps for scalable IP connectivity. Green PHY products will be fully interoperable with those based on the HomePlug AV and IEEE 1901 standards.

Atheros is now introducing the first HomePlug Green PHY (HPGP) emulation development kit, which consists of a hardware platform based on existing HomePlug AV silicon, adapted to support serial peripheral interface (SPI) ports enabling connectivity to a vast family of low-cost and low-energy microcontrollers (MCUs), as well as an emulation firmware and software driver with application programming interfaces (APIs) to support future Atheros Green PHY products.

Atheros said this PL-14 HPGP development kit is the first in a series of wireless and wireline products aimed at the Internet of Things. Target applications for this new portfolio include smart grid, smart home, security, building automation, remote health and wellness monitoring, and other machine-to-machine (M2M) applications.

The PL-14 development kit also supports the robust OFDM (ROBO) modes that will be used in forthcoming PHY solutions. This feature enables customers to evaluate the true capabilities and range of Green PHY technology at signaling rates of 4, 5 and 10 Mbps.

In 2009, Atheros acquired Intellon, a developer powerline communications (PLC) solutions for home networking, networked entertainment, broadband-over-powerline (BPL) access, Ethernet-over- Coax (EoC) and smart grid management applications.