October 31, 2008

STMicroelectronics and Arkados to Bring HomePlug AV SoC to Market

Arkados, a fabless semiconductor company, and STMicroelectronics, a provider of semiconductor solutions, have reached an agreement to develop and manufacture a 200 Mbps HomePlug AV wideband powerline modem system-on-chip.

HomePlug AV system-on-chip (SoC) is designed to power applications ranging from simple ethernet-to-powerline bridges to full-featured products as wide ranging as HDTV distribution, digital set-top boxes, IPTV, whole-house audio, networked digital picture frames, surveillance systems, and also industrial and commercial applications, especially targeting the smart grid and green energy segments. Components of these systems use powerline communications technology to establish secure connections using the existing electrical wires in a home or building.

The HomePlug AV-based SoC will boast an integrated analog front end, a wide variety of built-in interfaces, and a better ARM processor. The SoC will offer processing in 65nm geometry, providing savings in both cost and power consumption, while also offering full interoperability with the existing base of nearly 20 million HomePlug 1.0 chips, a feature currently not available in competing HomePlug AV devices.

The next-generation chip will include support for the Inter PHY Communication Protocol (IPP), currently being defined by the IEEE P1901 Working Group; the chip could also be the first to market compatible with the expected IEEE 1901 industry standard for high-speed powerline communications.

The agreement allows Arkados to complete the design and manufacturing of the state-of-the-art chip without making the costly investment of taping out a new chip. STMicroelectronics is contributing to the investment for the development and manufacturing for the Arkados-designed chip. In return, STMicroelectronics receives the rights to market the chip through its worldwide distribution network.