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HomePlug Green PHY chip saves power

Posted: 04 Jan 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HomePlug  Green  PHY  embedded  energy 

Qualcomm Atheros Inc. debuts a HomePlug Green PHY single-chip silicon solution targeting embedded automation and smart energy applications in buildings and homes.

The QCA7000 is a single-chip solution with a power saving mechanism that can reduce the consumption of a power line communications (PLC) device compared to a HomePlug AV solution. HomePlug Green PHY also increases reach by offering coverage with the use of ROBO modes for data transmission, and it operates at the HomePlug band to avoid noise commonly found in the home at lower frequency bands.

The QCA7000 claims to minimise BOM as it integrates the power management unit, analogue front-end and memory in an 8mm x 8mm QFN package. The chip is powered by a single-voltage rail to allow for reduced system cost and easy integration into customer designs. To support embedded applications, SPI and UART host interfaces are available on the chip to allow direct connectivity to low-cost, low-power MCUs commonly found in the smart energy ecosystem. To reduce customers' system cost, a GPIO bus and an optional Flash interface are available to support simple hostless applications like smart plugs and monitoring sensors.

HomePlug Green PHY is a standard for powerline communications that is interoperable with the IEEE 1901/HomePlug AV powerline networking protocol. HomePlug Green PHY swaps the greater-than-200Mbps rate of the HomePlug AV protocol for low-energy, low-cost extended home coverage. This trade-off can equate to more than 80 per cent power reduction in a given application while providing up to 10Mbps data rate to meet today's smart energy needs, providing scalability to protect investments for future requirements. HomePlug Green PHY is IP-based technology that allows handling of IP protocols, such as smart energy profile (SEP) 2.0, without translation layers and can natively support MAC layer bridging to Wi-Fi, Ethernet and cellular technologies, providing endless extensibility to the powerline network.

Samples of the QCA7000 chip are available now, with volume production scheduled for early 2012.

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