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DS2, Santa Clara, Calif., has announced that it has added native support for Microsoft Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) protocol in AITANA, the latest member of its UPA-compliant 200Mbps powerline communications product family. AITANA was announced in September 2007 at Intel Developer Forum (IDF) and is already shipping in volume.

LLTD is one of the new key networking protocols used by Windows Vista, and together with the Network Map, these technologies make it easier for consumers to understand how their home networking devices are connected, and help them troubleshoot connectivity problems easily. Using LLTD, Windows Vista automatically detects networking devices and displays them in Windows Vista Network Map, allowing one-click access to the devices Web User Interface. Because Windows Vista is capable of discovering and displaying the actual physical topology of the network, users can detect and fix connectivity problems by themselves, often avoiding long technical support calls, which are expensive for device manufacturers and can be frustrating to consumers.

Aitana is the only powerline SoC to support LLTD on-chip. Other powerline products don't support running 3rd party protocols on-chip, so adding LLTD functionality to them may require additional external processors and memory to run the protocol stack, adding complexity, and thus increase the cost and power consumption of the overall solution.

"Most computer users have found themselves in a situation where, suddenly, they cannot connect to the Internet. In the past, finding the problem meant a long process of checking IP addresses, network masks, DNS settings, ethernet cables, etc. Most of the time users do not know if the problem is with the computer, the home-network, the router or their DSL connection. This is a frequent source of frustration and unnecessary product returns", said Jorge Marcos, DS2 Product Manager for Home Networking Products. "This problem is gone when the user owns LLTD-enabled devices and Windows Vista. Just by opening the Windows Vista Network Map, the user can immediately see if the problem is caused by the ISP, the router or one of the network adapters in the home network."

LLTD is a building block of Windows Rally technologies, which aim to make device connectivity simple, robust and more secure. Home networking devices that carry the Windows Vista logo, as well as Windows Vista-based PCs and the Xbox 360 gaming console, all use Windows Rally technologies. Only Certified for Windows Vista software and devices have undergone Microsoft compatibility tests for ease of use, better performance, and enhanced security on PCs running the Windows Vista operating system.

"The combination of Windows Rally technologies and the innovation of our hardware partners has the potential to greatly simplify consumers lives," said Glenn Ward, team lead for Windows Rally at Microsoft. "We are glad to work with companies like DS2 to ensure that users of powerline networking products enjoy the full potential of Windows Vista and can easily share multimedia content with their Xbox 360 or other Media Center Extender devices across their home networks. Microsoft designed LLTD to provide consumers with better visibility into their home networks. Bringing this technology to powerline networking products is an important milestone for the industry."

D-Link was an early adopter of Windows Rally technology for our networking products in the consumer and SOHO market. We have expanded to offer LLTD-enabled Wireless routers, IP cameras, network storage products and digital media adapters, said AJ Wang, chief technical officer, D-Link. Adding LLTD technology to our powerline products is a natural next step, as we continue to make our products easier to use and more integrated with Windows Vista.

Chano Gomez, VP Technology & Strategic Partnerships, said: "Other powerline semiconductor vendors provide simple 'powerline transceivers' with severely limited programmability. We don't believe that this 'black box' approach is what customers demand, because it limits their design options and forces them to deliver commoditised products. DS2 has always been focused on providing programmable SoC solutions that allow our customers to design highly differentiated products."

Aitana product offering includes a complete Software Development Kit (SDK) that allows developers to add new protocols and applications on top of AITANA's POSIX-compliant embedded Operating System. Using the SDK, new protocols can be ported to DS2 platform in a matter of weeks. In addition to LLTD, device manufacturers can use the SDK to easily develop additional functionality like Windows Connect Now (WCN), Devices Profile for Web Services (DPWS) or Plug and Play Extensions (PnPx), to differentiate their products and create a better user experience for their customers.

About DS2

DS2 is the leading technology innovator and a global provider of high-speed semiconductor solutions for Powerline Communications and other wire-line network communications products. Led by a very strong team of former executives from IBM, AT&T/Bell-Labs, INTEL, Philips Semiconductors, France Telecom, Ericsson and Cisco executives we deliver state-of-the-art ICs and software solutions to manufacturers of consumer electronics, home networking and digital entertainment equipment and broadband access products. DS2 invented high-speed Powerline Communications delivering the first 200 Mbps Powerline Communications IC to enable the delivery of quality multimedia home networking, networked entertainment and broadband access applications to and throughout the home, office, or building, and to and throughout urban and rural communities. Enabling the hidden multimedia network behind the power outlet is the purpose of DS2. Our mission is to connect the Planet. For more information, visit
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Publication:Computer Protocols
Date:Feb 1, 2008

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