Matsushita unveils chip for broadband link

The common household electric socket will serve as your home’s connection to broadband, this will be possible because of a new chip developed by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.. It does away with all the Ethernet cables and hassles of hooking up to a wireless network device, just plug into the power outlet, and surf the web.

Products are still being developed, but gadgets embedded with the chip from the Japanese manufacturer of Panasonic products can hook up to a broadband network by plugging into the common electrical outlet. That’s because the Osaka-based company has come up with technology to use electric wiring in the home to relay not just electricity but also data.

The technology has been around for some time — including in the United States — but Matsushita’s system is unique in that it delivers fast-speed broadband information at up to 170 megabits per second, which is faster than Ethernet. The advantage is that the lowly electric socket is everywhere. Right now, a broadband outlet still isn’t usually available in every room, even in homes that have broadband connections.

In the future home envisioned by Matsushita, people will be able to download and watch high-definition movies in any room of the house that has an outlet. Attach a special device made by Matsushita into a socket and all you have to do is plug your TV or other gadgets into a socket for instant connection to broadband, which allows for faster transmission of online information than dial-up telephone connections.

Matsushita hopes to eventually sell refrigerators, TVs and other products with the chip already installed. A network-connected refrigerator may allow users to connect from a mobile phone or laptop to check whether you’re low on eggs, for example. Or you may want to turn gadgets off or on, such as your washing machine or air-conditioner, from outside the home. But for now, an adaptor when plugged into an outlet will allow gadgets with Ethernet connections — even those without the Matsushita chip — to receive broadband.


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