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Powerline Ethernet specialist preps 400Mb/s unit

First public demos next month

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Powerline networking specialist Devolo will next month demo an Ethernet-over-the-mains prototype capable of delivering up to 400Mb/s bandwidth.

Devolo's keeping mum about the details until it shows the kit off at the CeBIT show in Hannover. We suspect the unit essentially comprises two separate 200Mb/s HomePlug AV that sit between the mains power cables and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

By pairing the 200Mb/s adaptors, Devolo essentially doubles the available bandwidth. Just as 200Mb/s powerline Ethernet doesn't deliver that perfect-world throughoput, so the 400Mb/s units only deliver real-world speeds of up to 180Mb/s, Devolo admitted.

But that's still double what at 200Mb/s unit can provide and sufficient, the company claimed, for five HD video streams to be routed over the network simultaneously.

DS2, the Spanish chip maker driving an alternative 200Mb/s powerline specification to HomePlug AV, demo'd a 400Mb/s system of its own back in November 2007. It too combined two of its 200Mb/s units to deliver two parallel data pipes.

At the time, network kit maker Comtrend said it would offer a unit based on DS2's 400Mb/s technology early in 2008. To date, it has yet to do so, so Devolo could well pip it to the post.

Or maybe not. Devolo doesn't expect the prototype to become commercially available until H2 2009, by which time, the technology could well have been compacted into a single, high-bandwidth system.

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