New Atheros Powerline Technology Uses Ground Wire Too

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Tim Higgins

Atheros recently announced new powerline, Hy-Fi and 802.11n products and technologies, including an innovative powerline transmission technique.

The company’s new "SmartLink" powerline technology for powerline products based on its Atheros AR7400 500 Mbps chipset uses all three power outlet wires—line, neutral and ground.

Atheros likens SmartLink to antenna diversity used in 802.11 Wi-Fi devices and said it "improves performance by up to 50 percent at previously hard-to-reach outlets in the home".

It works by "using real-time information to send packets over the best powerline path (line-neutral or line-ground), dynamically adapting to changing conditions on a per-packet basis using a smart algorithm".

SmartLink is fully interoperable with existing HomePlug AV/IEEE1901 devices.

A new PL-19 Gigabit Ethernet Wall Adapter reference design was also introduced using the new technology. Availability was not given.

Atheros also announced the APH126 Hy-Fi reference design using its AR7400 powerline, AR9344 dual-band 802.11n and AR8327 five-port Gigabit Ethernet switch devices.

The design is said to use "advanced hybrid networking algorithms for intelligent path selection, load balancing and smooth path switching" to support multiple simultaneous HD streams over multiple networking media.

The APH126 is expected to be available in 3Q2011.

Finally, Atheros also announced its AR9374 single-chip dual-band 802.11n MIMO device with integrated CPU, memory, efficient power amplifiers (EPAs), low noise amplifiers (LNAs). The device is aimed at Consumer Electronics manufacturers for adding wireless connectivity to connected TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, digital media adapters, home network-attached-storage, speakers, game consoles and wireless audio products.

The AR9374 is sampling now.

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