Intellon Corporation (Intellon) has introduced new INT6400 HomePlug AV-based powerline chipset. The chipset includes INT6400 medium access controller and physical layer (MAC/PHY) baseband IC and the INT1400 analog front end (AFE) IC with the integrated line driver. The company has also introduced new RD6400-ETH reference design, built around the INT6400 chipset. These new ICs will allow the smallest, highest performing and lowest power HomePlug AV-based products yet deployed.

The reference design has many advantages over competitive solutions and its INT6300-based predecessor. Compared to INT6300-based solutions, it features full operating power consumption savings of up to 22 percent for 100 VAC applications. An “idle” mode (not available with the INT6300) delivers power savings of 41% (on 100V AC lines), 39% (on 120V AC lines) and 29% (on 240V AC lines). Even more impressive power reductions occur in adapter standby mode with 57% (100VAC), 55% (120VAC) and 40% (240VAC) power savings.

Lower power usage translates into reduced costs because heat sinks can be down-sized or cut-out altogether. Further cost-reductions of the BOM (either eliminating or using less-costly components) will make embedded powerline communications more feasible in all types of devices for consumer electronics, flat panel display, service provider and smart grid applications.

“This new chipset and reference design set the stage for better throughput, lower typical operating power, reduced size and reduced costs of powerline-enabled electronics,” said Rick Furtney, president and chief operating officer of Intellon. “These improvements address the needs of our service provider and consumer electronics customers who want to deploy smaller, greener and less costly HomePlug connectivity solutions that have the speed and reliability to move multiple streams of standard and high definition video to multiple rooms throughout a home.”

INT6400 MAC/PHY Baseband:

The INT6400 MAC/PHY IC, fabricated using 65 nanometer technology, is a HomePlug AV (200 Mbps PHY-rate)-compliant powerline transceiver optimized for multimedia streaming applications. The IC is more highly integrated than its predecessor and also features a 300MHz ARM core. The 65nm process technology yields less power consumption, enhancing lower power operation. Its higher integration reduces the number and cost of external devices in the BOM; SDRAM components are cut from two to one and a lower-cost Flash further reduces BOM cost.

The IC combines its advanced digital processing with state-of-the-art Analog/Digital Converters (ADCs) and Digital/Analog Converters (DACs). The faster ARM9 core provides additional processor overhead and the IC includes interfaces for Ethernet MII, external SDRAM and an external SPI Flash device.

It features Windowed OFDM with noise mitigation based on patented line synchronization techniques to improve data integrity in noisy conditions. It also features dynamic channel adaptation and channel estimation which maximizes throughput over harsh channel conditions. It has integrated Quality of Service (QoS) enhancements that include contention-free access, four-level priority-based contention access and multi-segment bursting. It also supports IGMP and MLD-managed multicast sessions.

The INT6400 features a reduced footprint, 22% smaller than the INT6300 and with 60 less package contacts, reducing design complexity and size.

INT1400 AFE with Line Driver:

The INT1400 is a companion amplifier IC that interfaces between the INT6400 MAC/PHY and the power line filtering and coupling network, providing amplification and signal conditioning in both transmit (Tx) and receive (Rx) directions. The IC includes a Tx low pass filter (LPF), Tx and Rx programmable-gain amplifiers (PGAs) along with a line driver. Amplifier programmability enables important signal optimization functionalities.

The IC delivers low distortion voltage and high gain that is ideal for “anywire” applications powerline, coax or twisted pair.

INT6400 Packaging, Availability, HomePlug Compliance:

The mixed signal INT6400 MAC/PHY is fabricated on 65nm technology and packaged in a 15x15mm 196-contact LBGA. The INT1400 AFE is fabricated on an advanced silicon germanium (SiGe) process technology and packaged in a 5x5mm 32-lead QFN. Both chips are Green Standard (ROHS) compliant and available now in volume. The RD6400-ETH is available now and has already passed HomePlug AV C&I Phase 2 Compliance testing.