SOURCE: Atheros

January 06, 2010 08:00 ET

Atheros Introduces Powerline System Development Kit to Accelerate Innovative Smart Grid Solutions to Market

Development Kit Leverages HomePlug AV/IEEE1901 Solutions to Initiate Atheros' Comprehensive Smart Grid Strategy

SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwire - January 6, 2010) - Atheros Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHR), a global leader in innovative technologies for wireless and wired communications, announced today that it has introduced a powerline communications (PLC) system development kit that will enable its customers to rapidly design compelling smart grid products and applications. The kit is one of the company's first steps toward the market deployment of its comprehensive smart grid strategy targeting the home energy market.

The initial kit is based on the existing HomePlug AV® (HPAV)-compliant INT6400 chipset with support for a UART serial interface, ideal for connecting to a wide variety of CPUs commonly found in smart grid applications. Future versions of the Smart Grid system development kit will include support for the recently announced AR7400 HPAV/IEEE1901-compliant chipset for high performance, broadband applications, as well as future solutions optimized for the new HomePlug Green PHY specification for narrowband, ultra-low-power applications. Smart Grid OEMs can now confidently develop PLC-based products, knowing that their software and hardware investment and expertise can be re-used with future chipset solutions. OEMs will also have the assurance that their end-products are based on global PLC standards -- IEEE1901, HomePlug AV and HomePlug Green PHY.

Atheros is leading the adaptation of PLC technology to smart grid applications. The company has made significant technical contributions to the HomePlug Green PHY (HPGP) specification, which is expected to be released by the HomePlug Alliance in the first quarter of this year. The HPGP specification interoperates with HPAV, is a profile of the new IEEE 1901 draft standard and is tailored for demanding low-power, cost-effective smart grid applications. Prior to completion of its acquisition by Atheros, Intellon was awarded a U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Investment Grant. The grant award provides for the company to modify its existing powerline technology to develop an integrated circuit to specifically meet the data rate, power, cost and reliability requirements for emerging smart grid infrastructure in homes and comply with the HPGP specification.

Powerline solutions bring significant value to the in-home smart grid market by enabling data communications across existing electrical wiring. The information that passes to the home, around the home and from the home over existing wiring (240/120VAC or 24VAC low-voltage wiring to thermostats) enables smart meters, energy usage displays, programmable communicating thermostats, smart appliances, electric vehicles, charging stations and other electrically powered equipment to transmit usage data and receive control signals. This will enable households to monitor, track and control energy usage to minimize monthly energy bills, and utilities to better manage capacity and offer pricing programs based on demand.

"Atheros' system development kit will enable our customers to efficiently add powerline communications to their innovative smart grid products," said Brian McGee, vice president and general manager of Atheros' powerline business unit. "This is a strong first step in our overall strategy of bringing both wired and wireless communication technologies to the smart grid space."

Support for a UART serial interface, the most commonly found interface on processors used in home appliances, programmable thermostats and electricity meters, is critical to enabling the use of powerline communications in smart grid applications. In addition, the development kit features very low power consumption of less than 100mW in sleep mode for embedded applications, well below today's most aggressive European EuP low power requirements. Atheros powerline products are available in commercial (0 to 70C) and industrial (-40 to +85C) operating temperature ranges.

Atheros will be demonstrating the system development kit along with other smart grid devices in Atheros' Powerline exhibition space at the CES 2010 show in Las Vegas January 7-10 (South Hall 4, Booth #35901, Upper Level). The initial system development kit includes a hardware reference design, evaluation board and documentation for the UART configuration command set -- and will be available to lead customers this quarter.

About Atheros Powerline Communications Technology

Through the acquisition of Intellon Corporation in December 2009, Atheros has added industry-leading powerline communications technology to its networking solutions portfolio. Intellon-engineered powerline solutions have been deployed by over 50 service provider companies and by major OEMs to most regions of Europe, Asia and the U.S. Nearly 40 million HomePlug-based ICs have been shipped and Intellon technology has been incorporated into HomePlug and IEEE 1901 standards.

About Atheros Communications, Inc.

Atheros Communications is a global leader in innovative technologies for wireless and wired communications. Atheros combines its wireless and networking systems expertise with high-performance radio frequency (RF), mixed signal and digital semiconductor design skills to provide highly integrated chipsets that are manufactured on low-cost, standard complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processes. Atheros technology is used by a broad base of leading customers, including personal computer, networking equipment and consumer device manufacturers. For more information, please visit or send an email to

Atheros and the Atheros logo are trademarks of Atheros Communications, Inc. HomePlug is a registered trademark of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the sole property of their respective owners.


Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including the features, benefits, performance and availability of Atheros' powerline communications systems development kit and its powerline solutions, the anticipated growth of the smart grid market, the anticipated use of Atheros' solutions in smart grid applications, and the statements regarding the development of a proposed IC in connection with the Smart Grid Investment Grant program are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, including, but not limited to, difficulties in the development of new and enhanced products, general economic conditions, the effects of competition and technological change, uncertainties associated with changes in industry standards and the risks detailed in Atheros' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in other reports filed with the SEC by Atheros from time to time. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Atheros disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

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