ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Lucent Technologies Microelectronics Group here claimed its new HW3130 chip reduces high-speed home networking electronics costs by more than 50%.
It was one of three new semiconductor product offerings in Lucent's Home Wire family of home phoneline networking products introduced today.
Home phoneline networking enables consumers to simultaneously share Internet access on multiple PCs, transfer files and share peripherals such as printers, using the existing in-home phone line.
Lucent's HW3130, targeted for use in PCs, integrates 10-megabits-per-second home phoneline networking, 56 -Kbits/s modem, and 10-and 100-Mbits/s Ethernet local area network functions on a single chip. This tightly integrated solution provides a 50% saving in the electronics costs of the system, Lucent said.
Lucent designed the product as a communications system and was able to share overlapping technologies for home networking, modem and Ethernet functions.
By integrating the modem functionality, Lucent has eliminated the need for a dedicated digital signal processor chip to perform the specialized telephone line signal processing functions. Lucent also provides an interface to its WildWire DSL modems for easy system-level integration of high-speed DSL and home networking services.
"Wrapping a high-speed home network and Internet connectivity into one piece of silicon brings the end consumer significant cost savings," said Mike Wolf, an analyst with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based In-Stat Group.
"Through the increased integration in silicon of Lucent's Home Wire offering, consumers will be able to get lower-cost, higher-speed home networking and modem equipment, which should ultimately help to drive this market forward. Additionally, the availability of different interfaces and form factors will also increase the penetration of home networking connectivity into other non-PC devices such as set-top boxes and residential gateways."
Another new chip, the HW3000, equips PCs, high-speed cable or digital subscriber line modems, set-top boxes and other communications equipment with 10-Mbits/s home networking capability, directly on the product motherboard for size and cost reduction. Lucent is also introducing the HW3100 chip that performs 10-Mbits/s home networking and modem functions.
"This new chip family ushers in a new era, where home networking will be as commonplace as your dial-up modem is today," said Dave Favreau, home networking product line director with Lucent's Microelectronics Group. "The best part is that the consumer doesn't have to think twice about how to combine home networking and Internet access. We've already done it for them."
Nearly every major PC manufacturer and consumer electronics manufacturer has released, or is planning to release, a home networking product in the year 2000, according to Cahners In-Stat Group. The home networking market is growing faster than 100% per year and is expected to reach $281 million in end user sales by the end of 2000, according to Cahners In-Stat Group.
A laptop PC equipped with Lucent's Home Wire solution gives telecommuters and mobile professionals home networking, modem and LAN capability using a single PC-card. In the office, users can interface to the 10/100-Mbits/s Ethernet network. Remotely or at home, the integrated modem allows allows use of the same PC network card that provides their 10-Mbits/s phone line networking capability.
Lucent's products meet the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) 2.0 specification, co-authored by Lucent, which is for 10-Mbit/s home networking technology. HomePNA is an incorporated, non-profit association of more than 120 companies working together to help ensure adoption of a single, unified phoneline networking industry standard and to rapidly bring to market a range of interoperable home networking solutions. Lucent's products are completely backwards compatible to the 1-Mbit/s HomePNA 1.0 specification.
The Lucent offering integrating home networking, modem and LAN functions consists of the HW3130 HomePNA/LAN controller chip and the HW2000 analog front-end chip. The HW3130 integrates a Peripheral Component Interconnect/Cardbus system interface along with an HomePNA 2.0 digital signalprocessor, a 56-K modem, an Ethernet media access controller (MAC), a HomePNA 1-Mbit/s core, and buffer memory. The HW3130 also provides the interfaces to an external 10/100-Mbits/s LAN transceiver.
The HW2000 provides the phoneline interface functionality and includes analog filter circuits to ensure compatibility with existing phone line services. Lucent's HW3000 chip provides a lower cost, smaller footprint solution by eliminating the PCI interface, LAN controller, and modem functions, thereby interfacing directly to an external LAN controller or embedded system microprocessor.
All of these products are scheduled to be available to manufacturers in next year's first quarter.
Lucent's HW3130/HW2000 Peripheral Component Interconnect chip set solution is priced at $14.95 in quantities of 100,000 units. The HW3000/HW2000 chip set, which is for PCs, cable and DSL modems, set-top boxes, residential gateways and PC peripheral devices such as printers, is priced at $11.95 in similar volumes.