Electronic Design
G.hn Home Networking Chipset Delivers Up To 1 Gbit/s

G.hn Home Networking Chipset Delivers Up To 1 Gbit/s

G.hn is the ITU-T’s standard for wired home networking. While Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n wireless still dominates home networking installations, there is a growing consumer interest in an alternative high-speed and highly robust wired home networking technology.

Marvell’s ITU-T G.hn-compliant transceiver chipset permits the complete unification of the home wireline network for distributing more video and audio content to more screens in more rooms in the home.

The G.hn transceiver chipset family is designed to provide optimized home network performance over any wired medium including power-line, coax, and phone-line/twisted pair in a single chipset. This reduces overall cost, complexity of design, and time-to-market for system designers.

With up to a 1-Gbit/s wire data rate, the G.hn chipset appears to be an ideal solution for the wireline distribution of bandwidth-intensive and real-time applications such as HD Internet Protocol television (IPTV), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), gaming, multi-room DVR, and video surveillance.

The G.hn chipset comprises the 88LX3142 digital baseband processor and the 88LX2718 analog front-end (AFE) interface. The 88LX3142 includes a powerful CPU and a full set of serial interfaces while the 88LX2718 AFE includes two fully programmable receiving and transmitting paths that enable multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) operation.

The 88LX3142 fully complies with the ITU-T G.hn standards including G.9960/61/72 on any wireline like coax, twisted pair, or ac power-line. It can achieve data rates up to 1 Gbit/s and supports all the various baseband band plans with bandwidths of 25, 50, and 100 MHz. The chipset is also compatible with the G.hn low-complexity profile (LCP) for low-speed devices such as Smart Grid metering and smart appliance monitoring and control.

G.hn uses orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), but it also includes various techniques for added reliability such as low-density parity check (LDPC) forward error correction (FEC), an automated block-level error detection and retransmission scheme, an enhanced selective repeat ARQ-based (automatic repeat request) acknowledge character (ACK) algorithm, and a special robust communications mode for high-noise environments.

Also, the standard features automatic mesh networking that provides for relaying between nodes that cannot connect directly. Security is provided by 128-bit AES CCMP encryption, end-to-end encryption with pairwise keys, and strict authentication rules.

The on-chip interfaces on the baseband IC include Fast Ethernet MDI, MII and RGMII, two SPI, two UART, SDIO 2.0, GPIO, DDR2, and JTAG. The 88LCX3142 baseband device comes in a QFP128 package (see the figure). The 88LX2718 AFE comes in a QFN32 package.

The Marvell chipset is matched up with time-tested, field-proven SPIRIT firmware for Universal Powerline Association (UPA) Powerline Communications (PLC) that provides full coexistence with millions of deployed legacy UPA PLC products. It has a powerful application programming interface (API) for broad customization. The software is also optimized for HD IPTV and has full TCP/IP stacks for IPv4 and IP v6. Embedded TR-069 and TR-111 with smart repeating are included.

G.hn is still new and in its acceptance and adoption phase. It competes with previous wired technologies like HomePlug and IEEE 1901 power-line technology, MoCA (Multimedia over coax) on coax, and Home PNA on twisted-pair phone lines or coax, but it can be faster than any of them. IEEE’s 1905.1 standard is also competitive with G.hn and is compatible with both the MoCA and HomePlug standards but does not support phone-line twisted pair.

Furthermore, G.hn provides for co-existence with the IEEE 1901 networks (G.cx). If you’re designing IPTV or over-the-top (OTT) set-top boxes, broadband gateways and routers, and other networking equipment, the Marvel G.hn chipset is worth evaluating. The chipset is available in samples now with full production available in the second quarter of 2012. A reference design is also available.

Marvell Semiconductor Inc.

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