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Firm pledges first 400Mb/s powerline product early '08

DS2 offering to outstrip HomePlug rival?

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European networking hardware company Comtrend has pledged to begin selling powerline Ethernet adaptors capable of a maximum throughput of 400Mb/s - double the speed of today's offerings - "early next year".

Comtrend's kit uses technology developed by European semiconductor maker DS2 and is compatible with DS2's 200Mb/s chips, the company claimed.

DS2's powerline technology forms the basis for the Universal Powerline Alliance (UPA) standard, an incompatible rival to the US-led HomePlug Alliance (HPA) 200Mb/s standard, HomePlug AV.

The HPA recently toasted its victory at a vote taken by members of the IEEE P1901 working group, a body tasked with developing standard specifications for connecting ISPs to homes over power transmission cables and for linking networked devices within the home over mains wiring.

Comtrend PowerGrid 901
Comtrend's PowerGrid 901: upgrading to 400Mb/s early next year?

The outcome of the P1901 working group poll means HomePlug will form the basis for the in-home part of the standard if it succeeds in winning a confirmation vote to be taken next month.

While the HPA does not have a public roadmap beyond 200Mb/s, DS2 last month upped the ante by announcing it had demo'd a 400Mb/s system. Comtrend today promised to bring that system to market as the PowerGrid 940 Ethernet adaptor.

Like earlier powerline technologies and wireless networking systems such as Wi-Fi, the quoted speed is an all-out raw data transfer rate - and one that assumes perfect transmission conditions. Real-world speeds are likely to be rather lower than 400Mb/s.

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