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The concept of running a network over the mains power cables within the building has been around for over 25 years. Early versions of the Powerline adapters were limited to a slow network speed and did not handle the electrical interference very well.
The HomePlug Powerline Alliance (whose standards we support) has over 70 members with more than 200 different products already received the HomePlug certification. Alliance members include Cisco, Motorola, Broadcom, D-Link Systems and many others.
In the last 6 years, network speeds have increased dramatically and each successive chip is better at handling any interference on the mains cable.
The Powerline chip used in the Powerline socket is designed and manufactured by Qualcomm-Atheros (who used to be known as Intellon) and they pride themselves in not only being at the front of the Powerline ratification process (IEEE1901) but are also confident that they will increase the network bandwidth from 200Mbps to 1Gbps in 2012.
The Powerline socket has an embedded 4 port managed switch which provides Quality of Service and other advanced networking functionality to make the most of the available network bandwidth.