Atheros Intros Powerline/Wi-Fi Hybrid Reference Designs

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News Posted: Fri, Oct 22 2010 11:12 AM
Atheros isn't a name that is usually sticks to consumer products; they focus mainly on the internal parts of networking equipment. But the company's newest invention is one worthy of mention by itself. They're delivering the world's first hybrid home network solutions that combine Wi-Fi, HomePlug AV and ethernet. All three add up to provide loads of flexibility and connectivity options, with the end-goal being to bring about an "elegant solution for whole-home network coverage."

The company is aiming to combine Wi-Fi and powerline networking at the core, so that signals passed along over a home's wiring system can then be easily and seamlessly distributed over the air to other portions of the home. The combination of Wi-Fi and powerline also provides a platform that will support future home area networking and smart energy applications. Both standards are expected to play integral roles in connecting homes to the smart grid, and will work seamlessly with smart grid products that use low-power Wi-Fi and HomePlug GreenPHY-enabled devices.

As of now, these are just reference designs, but already they have a hybrid router design, powerline/ethernet adapter reference design and a Wi-Fi/powerline range extender. All of the company's designs are expected to be available in Q4 2010.

Atheros Launches World's First Hybrid Home Network Solutions That Deliver the Best of Wired and Wireless Networks

Combination of Wi-Fi, HomePlug AV and Ethernet Boosts Network Bandwidth and Coverage, Provides Unprecedented Simplicity and Flexibility

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - October 18, 2010) -  Atheros Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHR), a global leader in innovative technologies for wireless and wired communications, today announced a new family of hybrid home networking solutions that combines the industry's most popular consumer networking technologies. Atheros' unique combination of Wi-Fi®, HomePlug® AV powerline and Ethernet technologies not only boosts network bandwidth, but also provides unprecedented simplicity to setup and optimize coverage in every home environment. As a result, consumers will finally have an elegant solution for whole-home network coverage.

Atheros' hybrid portfolio is an unprecedented approach to solving the home networking issues faced by many consumers -- including complicated installation, spotty coverage and inadequate bandwidth for media applications. By leveraging the strengths of multiple networking technologies and adding software intelligence, Atheros is enabling a new class of hybrid networking products that allow consumers to easily build a home network with the performance they need, where they need it.

Key Facts:

    * According to ABI Research, the number of home networks will grow 65 percent globally to nearly 280 million in the next five years. With the influx of Internet-based media and growing demand for whole-home digital content, it is even more important that home networking equipment offers better performance and simple installation -- at a reasonable cost.
    * Now that the IEEE has ratified the 1901 powerline standard, based upon HomePlug AV technology, Atheros' hybrid solutions combine the benefits of the most popular global networking standards: IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi), IEEE 1901 (HomePlug AV) and IEEE 802.3 (Ethernet). The combination of these technologies ensures that networked devices can connect anywhere in the home -- whether using wired or wireless connectivity.
    * Atheros is launching four new reference designs, including a router and three adapters that use various combinations of its XSPAN® wireless LAN, AMP™ powerline and ETHOS® Ethernet technologies. The designs provide networking manufacturers with complete hardware and software solutions for a variety of affordable hybrid products, which consumers can easily mix-and-match to suit the unique characteristics of their home and the bandwidth requirements of their network applications.
    * Atheros' hybrid solutions include software that adds "behind the scenes" intelligence to simplify network setup and management for mainstream consumers. It not only unifies the wired and wireless networks with a single user interface, but also enables push-button pairing and security between the router and all Atheros-based adapters on the network (whether installed now or added in the future).
    * The combination of Wi-Fi and powerline also provides a platform that will support future home area networking and smart energy applications. Both standards are expected to play integral roles in connecting homes to the smart grid, and will work seamlessly with smart grid products that use low-power Wi-Fi and HomePlug GreenPHY-enabled devices.

Product Highlights:

    * Atheros' new reference designs are the industry's first solutions to feature Wi-Fi, HomePlug AV and Ethernet silicon from a single vendor, and are optimized to deliver the best possible wired and wireless experience. The new family of designs includes:
          o Hybrid Router Reference Design -- Designed to be the hub of the digital home, routers based on Atheros' first hybrid solution can unleash more than 500 Mbps of network capacity to wired and wireless devices -- which can deliver reliable access to the Internet and networked media content throughout the home.
          o Powerline/Ethernet Adapter Reference Designs -- Available in single-port and four-port versions, Atheros' PLC adapters are ideal for connecting the home's media center, with broadband access for up to four non-wireless devices (such as televisions, Blu-ray disc players, set-top boxes and storage devices). The plug-and-play adapters offer effortless setup and use the home's existing electrical circuitry to transmit data at up to 200 Mbps.
          o Wi-Fi/Powerline Range Extender Reference Design -- By simply plugging the range extender into an electrical outlet, consumers can extend their wireless network to reach mobile Wi-Fi products in the far corners and other trouble-spots in the home. Like the PLC adapters, range extenders can also connect non-wireless devices that have an Ethernet port.
    * All of Atheros' hybrid reference designs will be available in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company is currently working with its lead customers, who expect to bring retail products to market over the next two quarters.
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If it lives up to its name, then it would be pretty good.

 

 

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Tom Kamkari

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