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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.

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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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