Sigma acquires CopperGate
Sigma Designs has, as expected, acquired chip-company CopperGate Communications in a cash and stock deal worth $160m. CopperGate’s main claim to fame is its industry-leading work on domestic electrical power line technology.
The ‘holy grail’ of power-line is the G.hn standard, of which CopperGate has been the lead backer. G.hn is on the verge of being fully ratified, as Michael Weissman, VP/marketing at CopperGate, explained to Rapid TV News.
“The working text to the standard has been agreed, and finalised. Consent has been given and last-call comments invited. The physical layer was consented last year and approved last week in Geneva. The data link layer has its text fixed, but not brought to a consent vote, and means that the standard is in effect agreed other than it is still open for people to prove a break in the technology. Hard evidence to any potential problem is being invited and is likely to receive its consent approval this coming January. All in all it will take until June next year to have all the sub-sets finally signed off, but meanwhile the ‘standard’ is sufficiently established that people can enter the market now.”
CopperGate, which began by specializing in chips for HomePNA, has become a key backer of G.hn, and seeks to bridge the major home networking protocols for all wireline media (coaxial, phone line and in particular power-line).
Weissman says that the key to exploiting the G.hn ‘standard’ lies in IPTV, and the challenges of connecting the “last TV set” in a home. He explains that connecting up the first set in the main room is easy, the second is a little harder, but the 3rd or 4th set become increasingly difficult because they are usually some distance from the first. Hence the need for a reliable power-line solution, which he says, can save IPTV installation engineers perhaps as much as 40% of their time on a job. “They can fit another call in, or even two, and this is a huge improvement on today’s typical installations.”