Gigle Semiconductor said today that consumer device maker Belkin is using its chip in an adapter that allows for home networking of up to 1Gbps using a home’s power line infrastructure. Such speeds are a huge boost for power line networking. A consumer buys the adapter, plugs it into an electrical outlet, and then can plug any Ethernet-enabled appliance into the adapter and connect it to the home network. The broadband access is delivered via the electrical network in the home.
The Belkin Gigabit Powerline Networking Adapters cost $149.99, which is about as much as a plain old HomePlug product, but using Gigle’s chip allows Belkin to provide several times the networking speed for the same price. Gigle competes against Intellon (s inln), which also makes HomePlug-compliant networking chips. Michael Wilson, a co-founder and VP of corporate business development with Gigle, said HomePlug offers about 90Mbps and adapters built with Gigle’s chips will achieve about 380Mbps.
Gigle, which was founded in 2005, has designed a chip that can deliver data over a HomePlug-compliant channel and a separate channel the company calls Media Stream that works over power lines and a coaxial cable. This is good news for consumers who want to boost their regular HomePlug setup (as of January, 25 million HomePlug certified products have been shipped), but it also may help Gigle win business from service providers that want to be able to build out reliable IP networks inside homes using whatever variety of wiring they happen to find. As more of our entertainment is delivered via IP, consumers and service providers are struggling with different ways to make sure it can be delivered reliably around the home. There are wireless solutions, such as Wi-Fi, WHDI and Wireless HD, and wired solutions, such as HomePlug, MoCA, HomePNA, and the up and coming G.hn standard championed by the HomeGrid Forum.
Gigle is a member of the HomePlug Alliance and the HomeGrid Forum. Wilson said the HomePlug Alliance is aiming to develop products that can provide even faster networking needed by consumers, but Gigle is also trying to work with companies backing the emerging G.hn standard pushed by the HomeGrid Forum. Despite the fast networking it delivers across a variety of wires, G.hn isn’t backward compatible with existing networking standards, which may limit its adoption. Gigle is betting that its HomePlug-certified products, plus its Media Stream channel, can act as a unifying technology in the meantime since it works over power lines and coax and delivers faster speeds than both HomePlug and MoCA. Service providers are trialing the technology, but Wilson couldn’t name any service provider customers. Gigle has raised a total of $31 million in funding from Accel Ventures, Pond Ventures and others.