Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Le powerline francais

Thanks to Xavier Mongaboure for clarifying some details about the powerline technology and plans for Spidcom Technologies, a Paris-based startup I first heard about last week. It turns out Spidcom has a proprietary 200 Mbit/s powerline technology as well as plans to roll products based on the HomePlug AV standard which sports a similar data rate.

Spidcom's proprietary powerline technology uses the traditional 2-30 MHz frequency range, but it divides this spectrum into seven independent sub-bands of 4 MHz each to help it adapt to the harsh realities of the medium. The approach is protected by several patents.

The powerline approach has been deployed since 2005. Partner Shenzhen Mopnet introduced products based on it at CES this year focusing on delivering Ethernet over coax.

Going forward, Spidcom believes HomePlug AV will be the standard for in-home powerline networking. It has been a member of the HomePlug group since 2003 and plans to roll out products based on the AV spec, probably in 2008.

At that point, it will position its proprietary technology as a solution for coax nets, much as PulseLink, Tzero and now the WiMedia Alliance are doing for their UWB technology. Spidcom will help customers using its proprietary technology for in-home nets migrate to its upcoming AV chips.

Sounds to me like the business realities of this plan—repositioning a product line and competing against two other consortia for coax design wins--may be as harsh as the interference over powerline. Here's wishing luck to the brave French Resistance.

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