Silicon Valley start-up Epigram rolled out technology to speed up home networks at the Comdex show in Las Vegas today, promising 10Mbps high speed networking throughout the home using existing phone lines.
The company said its 10Mbps Lan technology provides consumers and small businesses with a concurrent 'digital dial tone' with their service.
Epigram products include a semiconductor chip embedded in PCs, printers and digital home electronic products. Epigram will provide chips to PC makers, home electronic and network product manufacturers as well as by licensing the technology to semiconductor companies.
"We'd like to spread this 10Mbps technology to the four corners of the market at $99 or less per PC card," said Jeff Thermond, Epigram president and CEO.
Epigram's Insideline technology coexists on the same wire pair as voice telephone services. The first product based on Insideline is the iLine 10, a two device set: the EPI41100 Discovery (Integrated Analogue Front End) and the EP141210 Odyssey (10Mbps Insideline Controller.)
The Discovery device provides the physical layer and transceiver functions required for a 10Mbps home network node. The device provides a digital sampled sata stream to and from the Odyssey. The Odyssey controller provides host bus interface functions along with a 10Mbps Insideline MAC and Digital PHY. Several host interface bus options are available such as PCI 2.2, 32 bit Cardbus and a general purpose controller bus interface for embedded applications.
According to US research firm Forrester Research, "the home network and related markets will reach one billion dollars in the next two years." In the US, already 14 million families have two or more PCs and the number is increasing.
Several recently announced partners including 3Com, Netgear and Texas Instruments also demonstrated the 10Mbps technology during the show. In addition, Compaq, Intel, Lucent Technologies and Epigram started the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) in June 1998 to determine standards and ensure interoperability between various equipment manufacturers. Epigram's chipsets will be interoperable and backward compatible with the HomePNA 1.0 specification.
Founded in 1996, Epigram plans to deliver the first semiconductor chip during the first quarter of 1999.
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