Intellon Corp. have announced their third generation of chip for use in powerline-enabled devices. Priced at under $10, the lowest current unit price cost, it enable builders of devices to embed Ethernet connectivity using nothing more that the powercord of the device plugged into the wall socket, creating a network around the building.
The HomePlug Alliance is a US-based organisation that promotes the use of power circuits to carry Ethernet signals and their HomePlug 1.0 standard can now carry up to 14Mbps of data theoretically.
The single chip, INT5200, includes a fair bit of functionality; a HomePlug 1.0 physical layer (PHY) and media access control (MAC), three host interfaces including MII, Ethernet 10/100BT MAC, and USB1.1 device, and a complete analogue front-end (AFE) with receive and transmit amplifiers, all in CMOS technology. Backward compatibility has been maintained by using the same pin out as previous versions.
While transferring data using the power cord of devices seems like a panacea, some parties have voiced concerns that such devices cause interference with radio signals, both within and outside the households using them.