Electronic Design

Audio: The Next Step In Home Networking

So far, the growth of home networking has focused on the sharing of a single high-speed Internet connection with multiple PCs. But that's about to change as developers and users look for smart audio-networking solutions.

Phonex Broadband's ReadyWire chip will greatly expand home networking. It facilitates the routing of audio signals around the home and could potentially eliminate the perpetual speaker-cable problem that's plagued audiophiles for decades. If you've ever hooked up a surroundsound system at home, you know what I mean.

This ASIC uses a proprietary transmission protocol to transmit CD-quality audio over the ac power line and simplify audio distribution through the home. Applications include speaker wiring, MP3 streaming audio, multiline phone systems, wiring of home entertainment centers, and intercoms.

ReadyWire has a serial data speed of 1.92 Mbits/s, which nets out to 599 kbits/s after the forward-error-correction (FEC) overhead is considered. Also, 3DES (triple digital encryption standard) encryption could be used to protect sensitive data. The system can incorporate up to 15 separate simultaneous near-CD-quality audio channels; up to seven separate simultaneous high-quality, full-duplex voice lines; and quality-of-service (QoS) by channel or packet.

Home automation is another potential application. ReadyWire can monitor or control up to 250 devices in each of 15 domains for a total of 3750 devices, which is more than any other home control system can support. The chip can coexist with all other power-line networking standards as well.

At the heart of ReadyWire lies an ARM 946 processor with capabilities in excess of 134 MIPS. About 100 MIPS of that is available for embedded application designs using ReadyWire.

The chip and development kits will be available in August.

The Phonex Broadband Corp.

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TAGS: Components
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