IEEE 1901 Broadband Power Line Standard for 500 Mbps Communications ApprovedNew standard is enabling technology for Smart Grid, transportation and LAN applicationsPISCATAWAY, N.J., USA, 18 October 2010 -- IEEE, the world’s leading professional association for the advancement of technology, today announced the ratification of the IEEE 1901™ Broadband over Power Line (BPL) standard. Sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society, this globally recognized BPL standard will be a key enabling technology for a wide range of applications including smart energy, transportation and Local Area Networks (LANs) in both the home and the enterprise.Networking products that fully comply with IEEE 1901 will deliver data rates in excess of 500 Mbps in LAN applications. In first-mile/last-mile applications, IEEE 1901-compliant devices will achieve ranges of up to 1500 m. The technology specified by IEEE 1901 uses sophisticated modulation techniques to transmit data over standard AC power lines of any voltage at transmission frequencies of less than 100 MHz.“More than 94 corporations, trade associations and universities contributed to the standard’s evolution through the IEEE 1901 Working Group,” said Jean-Philippe Faure, Chair, IEEE 1901 Working Group, “to create the world’s most innovative, mature and unified BPL standard.”Although IEEE 1901 has been widely recognized as the standard that will enable universal communications in Smart Grid applications, it will also have significant impact in other applications.In the transportation sector, for example, the standard’s data rates and range make it possible to deliver A/V entertainment to the seats of airplanes, trains and other mass transit vehicles. Electric vehicles can download a new entertainment playlist to the A/V system while the car in charging overnight.In the home, PLC will complement wireless LANs by providing a link through walls and other RF impediments as well as over distances beyond the normal range of wireless networks. It will complement wireless networks in hotels and other multistory buildings by carrying multimedia data over the longer distances and allowing wireless to complete the communication link over the last few meters.IEEE 1901 will also benefit utilities, service providers, and consumer electronics companies – anyone with a stake in smart grid technologies – as well as smart-meter providers and home appliance manufacturers“The IEEE 1901 standard will have a significant impact on communications technology in the home, the enterprise and on the factory floor, because it brings power-line networking into parity with wireless networks in terms of speed, and offers the considerable advantage of penetrating walls and other structures that obstruct RF radiation, said Judy Gorman, Managing Director, IEEE Standards Association. “Hybrid wireless/power-line networks successfully address all the remaining problems of wireless LANs and – unlike wired LANs – do not require a dedicated wired infrastructure.”
Features of the AR7400 ChipsetThe Atheros Powerline chipset consists of the AR7400 MAC/PHY transceiver and the AR1500 AFE / line driver. The AR7400 chipset is the world's first solution designed to comply to the IEEE 1901 draft 2.0 standard (now elevated to Sponsor Letter Ballot status), a global, open powerline standard. Just as the IEEE 802.11 standard unified and accelerated the growth of the wireless LAN industry, the IEEE 1901 standard will help to unify and drive the expansion of the powerline networking industry. The 1901 standard utilises a wider operating frequency band (2 MHz to 50 MHz) than the current HomePlug AV standard (2MHz to 30 MHz), thereby increasing PHY performance in IEEE 1901 operation. The AR7400 chipset will comply with the FFT-OFDM provision of 1901 and incorporates the inter-PHY protocol (IPP) co-existence mechanism.The chipset also supports operation up to 75 MHz, utilising all of the practically available spectrum defined in the 100 MHz IEEE 1901 charter, and avoiding the global, high-power FM radio broadcast bands from 76 to 108MHz. This extended frequency range coupled with high density modulation to 4096 QAM, allow AR7400-based powerline products to communicate at more than 500Mbps PHY rates. In coaxial cable applications, the PHY rates can exceed 600Mbps, while providing extended coverage due to the AR1500's lower noise floor and greater output dynamic range.