devolo networks PCs via household electrical
devolo AG based in Aachen, Germany, will present the cost-effective, and highly reliable HomePlug adapter MicroLink dLAN (“direct local area network”) for electrical power sockets at the CeBIT trade fair in Hannover, Germany in March. This device makes it possible to connect any number of PCs quickly and easily via the household power circuit.
Anybody wishing to interconnect several computers at home or in the office or, for example, to share a DSL broadband Internet connection, can do this without the inconvenience of laying network cables. This is because HomePlug technology uses the existing in-house electricity circuit to transfer data. “No need of drilling or dust and dirt—standard household power sockets serve to extend network and Internet connections such as high-speed DSL into every room”, says Heiko Harbers, CEO of devolo AG. And unlike wireless networks there are no disturbances to data transfer caused by thick walls or concrete floors.
HomePlug offers a maximum data transfer rate of 14 Mbps and synchronous up- and download speeds so comparing favourably with standard Ethernet solutions and even exceeding the performance of the current wireless standard WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) for use in the home. Depending on the quality of the circuit, bandwidths of at least 5 to 7 Mbps are reliably available and so provide ample performance for extending a DSL connection throughout the house. The modulation of multiple frequencies in power lines is a tried-and-tested process for data transfer, best known from baby phones common for over 20 years now. This technology is now being used to distribute Internet and network access throughout buildings, at home, or in the office.
The MicroLink dLAN achieves ranges of up to 200 metres (depending on the attenuation factor of the electrical installation) and can interconnect any number of computers. No additional equipment is necessary as, for example, the phase coupling is achieved by “cross talk”. There is, however, no comparison between HomePlug and the powerline internet-access technology developed by the electricity companies.
Installing MicroLink dLAN is extremely simple: Internet access at home or in the office is provided by the standard telephone connection. The DSL modem is connected to an available power socket using the MicroLink dLAN adapter and immediately any other household power socket can be used for networking. A further MicroLink dLAN adapter then uses a nearby power socket to connect the PC to the network either via Ethernet or USB cable, depending on the model.
Thanks to automatic frequency switching, the data transfer is not noticeably disturbed by active household appliances such as washing machines, microwave ovens or refrigerators, or other sources of interference in the electricity supply. “The electromagnetic emissions that family members or employees are exposed to are just a fraction of those from wireless LAN radio-based technology”, emphasised Harbers. Unlike wireless networks that are susceptible to interception by unauthorised persons, the household electricity meter acts to block out unwanted access from the outside. MicroLink dLAN features additional security via powerful DES encryption.
devolo AG is now shipping its HomePlug adapters with recommended retail prices of 99,90 Euro for the USB version and 129,90 Euro for the Ethernet device. These devices are compatible with the HomePlug standard 1.0, approved last year by the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. This organisation consists of over 100 members worldwide including such companies as Compaq, Intel, Motorola, AMD, Cisco Systems, 3Com, Panasonic and Texas Instruments. The US market research company Cahners In-Stat/MDR foresees a massive worldwide growth in HomePlug technology. The revenue forecasts predict a growth from $ 190 million in 2002 to $ 706 million in 2006. Revenues from HomePlug components in 2001 were under $ 18 million.
“We expect the DSL boom in Europe to drive a growing demand for cost-effective and easy-to-install home networks”, expressed devolo’s CEO optimistically. HomePlug technology makes web surfing, chat or e-mails available throughout the entire household. Even outside the building, for example on the terrace or in the garden: the new devolo solution quickly makes Internet access a reality. Harbers: “A simple electrical extension cable is all you need to connect the MicroLink dLAN adapter and a PC”.
Further information about MicroLink dLAN is available on our web site www.devolo.de. We are also pleased to supply a CD-ROM with background information, frequently asked questions, technical specifications and photos. Just a quick call or an e-mail will do.