USB Meets AC Power Outlet

Icron Technologies Corporation is the first in the world to offer USB 2.0 communication over AC power lines by combining Icron's ExtremeUSB with Panasonic's HD-PLC (high definition power line communication). HD-PLC allows high speed bandwidth communication, up to 190Mbps, over standard power lines in the home or office and comes in the form of a router-like device that plugs directly into AC power outlets. ExtremeUSB is a patented technology by Icron that allows USB devices to be operated from a longer range. Using two hubs, one would connect to the computer and the other would serve as a USB relay station. The two hubs can communicate via radio frequencies (wireless), UTP category 5 (ethernet), fiber, and now AC power lines. The integrated USB-HDPLC solution allows remote connection of such USB devices as keyboards, printers, web cameras, flash drives, and hard drives without extra wiring.

"'We are excited to once again be able to showcase the flexibility of our ExtremeUSB technology. With the help of Panasonic’s leading edge HD-PLC devices, we have been able to quickly implement our platform to extend USB 2.0 over standard power lines.' stated Robert Eisses, President and CEO of Icron Technologies."

"With power line technology poised to be a major catalyst for converged home network solutions, we are pleased to be working with Panasonic to add USB 2.0 to that picture."
Icron and Panasonic will demonstrate their prototype, a USB 2.0 four-port hub and dongle set, at the Computex Show in Taipei this week. The prototype will allow for standard plug and play of USB devices, which means that no additional software drivers are required to run on Windows, Mac-OS, and Linux systems. Although the idea is interesting, it doesn't seem to be as convenient as the current ExtremeUSB solution, which already allows for wireless USB communication via 802.11 radio frequencies. Of course, wireless tends to be slower in general, so maybe that's what Icron and Panasonic had in mind.