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Entropic Bumps Home Networks to 180 Mbps

Chip-maker Entropic Communications said it boosted the usable data rate of its home-networking technology from 100 megabits per second to 180 mbps -- using a proprietary packet-aggregation technique -- and doubled the number of supported devices on one network from eight to 16.

The new features operate at the media-access-control (MAC) layer, rather than the physical (PHY) layer, Entropic product-line manager Gregory Jones said. So while Entropic has previously claimed that its chips provide up to 270 mbps via the PHY layer, that translates into about 100 mbps of usable bandwidth.

“What Entropic has been able to do is, through packet aggregation, increase the usable MAC rate without making any changes to the PHY,” Jones added.

The company also developed parameterized quality-of-service support for its c.LINK chip sets, allowing service providers to allocate guaranteed bandwidth for premium services (such as for HD-video streams) in home-entertainment networks.

In addition, Entropic will provide a way for operators to obtain diagnostic information from c.LINK devices -- a feature compliant with the DSL Forum’s TR-069 specification.

The features are slated to be available in the third quarter as a firmware download for Entropic’s c.LINK EN2210 chip sets.

The boost in bandwidth and number of devices supported, as well as PQoS, are proprietary extensions to the Multimedia over Coax Alliance specification for home networking. Jones said the company submitted the technologies for consideration as part of the MoCA spec.