May 17, 2006 Munich -- Infineon Technologies yesterday introduced a plastic optical fiber (POF) to Ethernet transceiver solution that enables mass deployment of video home networking driving IPTV and HDTV services. Unlike other wired and wireless options for broadband connectivity, POF is highly flexible, secure, and stable with virtually no bandwidth limitations, say Infineon representatives.
The vendor claims its POF transceiver provides better economics and high reliability due to dedicated high bandwidth for each connection, and it can be easily installed without any special equipment.
Already proven in safety and entertainment applications in the automotive industry, POF now is being adapted by Infineon for the delivery of high-performance video home networking. The technology meets all the requirements for delivering stable high-definition (HD) video content. The transceiver fully supports Fast Ethernet transmission at 100 Mbits/sec using standard POF wire with 1-mm core, which can easily be cut to length and installed by end users, reports the company. Designers of broadband gateways and IP set-top boxes can directly integrate Infineon's POF transceiver, which features full light-to-logic functionality, by connecting it to Fast Ethernet physical layer ICs. On the consumer side, POF adapters based on the Infineon transceiver will allow end users who already have broadband systems at home to simply connect their modems to their IP set-top box or TV using POF.
According to IMS Research, the home networking market will more than double by 2009, reaching an installed base of nearly 100 million units, up from 42.5 million units in 2005. On the services side, an iSuppli report forecasts the number of telephony-enabled (e.g., xDSL and FTTx) IPTV subscribers will grow from 2.4 million in 2005 to more than 60 million by 2010, for a CAGR of 92%.
The Infineon POF to Ethernet transceiver leverages easy-to-use fiber coupling technology in which the fiber is cut with a simple tool and inserted into a receptacle without any connector. Because the POF transceiver employs standard Ethernet interfaces, it makes for a pure plug-and-play device requiring no configuration, says the company. The POF transceiver provides a dedicated medium for delivering IPTV/HDTV and triple-play services, unlike existing shared-media technologies. Infineon believes POF is an ideal home infrastructure because its use does not create and is not affected by any electromagnetic interference (EMI). Since video transmission is highly sensitive to EMI, this feature ensures stable, jitter-free video services.
"Our POF solution takes home networking to the next performance level because it allows end users to better utilize their broadband connections and enjoy the full capacity of their high-speed VDSL2 and FTTH modems," contends Christian Wolff, senior vice president of Communications Solutions Business Group and general manager of the Wireline Access Business Unit at Infineon. "Our customers, the CPE designers, can easily integrate the POF transceiver into new gateway designs and High-Definition IP set-top boxes, while end users can cost-efficiently upgrade their equipment by simply deploying a set of POF adapters and installing POF.
The Infineon POF to Ethernet transceiver reference design includes Infineon's single-chip ADM6992SX Fiber-to-Fast Ethernet converter coupled with the company's fiber-optic transceiver (FOT). The combination of the ADM6993SX and FOT provides a system that converts from POF optical signal directly to standard fast Ethernet without any further glue logic. The ADM6992SX, which converts fiber transmission signals to Ethernet protocol and vice versa, includes an Ethernet L2 switch controller. Infineon's FOT is an optical PHY device that provides the mechanical receptacle and integrates optical transmitter/receiver. Using FOT requires no connectors on the POF wire, making for simple, hassle free installation, add company representatives.
The Infineon POF reference design is available now. The set of POF transceiver and ADM6992SX chips is priced at $12 for volume orders.