News | October 18, 1999

Alation Offers HOP Protocol to Wireless Designers

Mountain View, CA-based Alation Systems Inc. announcing today that it will license its HomeCast Open Protocol (HOP) technology for free to developers of wireless home networking products. Engineers can now download the HOP technology for free from Alation's web site and employ it during the development of home networking and other wireless systems.

Alation's HOP technology is specifically targeted at the emerging home networking market. Using this technology, which employs a frequency-hopping, spread spectrum (FHSS) scheme, engineers can develop systems that offer 1 and 2 Mb/s data rates and that connect computers or other information applications, such as set top boxes, within 100 feet of each other.

By offering this technology for free to the engineering community, Alation hopes to accelerate the acceptance of HOP technology in wireless networking designs. In addition, the company hopes to make HOP technology the de facto standard for wireless home networking applications.

But, competition will be fierce for Alation. The wireless home networking market is just now starting to take shape and there are many standards vying for the de facto standard spot. In particular, the HomeRF Group and Bluetooth Group have made a strong play for this emerging market.

By opening HOP technology to all developers, however, Alation hopes to win out in the home-networking race. Alation says that only an "open" home networking technology standard, such as HOP, will enable the widespread development and deployment of wireless home networking products

Follow on agreement
Today's announcement by Alation comes just a few months after National Semiconductor announced that it develop a chip set around HOP technology. The new chip set, which was slated to be released this summer, includes a HOP ASIC and a 2.4 GHz single-chip receiver.

The HOP ASIC will perform the baseband functions in the home networking radio system. In addition, the ASIC will house the protocol stack and will allow the chip set to operate with Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT environments.

To provide RF functionality, National will employ its LMX3162 single-chip radio receiver in the chip set. The LMX3162 contains all of the transmit and receive functions needed for a complete 2.4 GHz radio front end. This includes a 1.3 GHz phase-locked loop (PLL), a frequency doubler, a low noise amplifier (LNA), a high-frequency buffer, a low-noise mixer, an IF amplifier, a frequency discriminator, a received strength indicator (RSSI), and an analog DC compensation loop.

At the time of this announcement, National said it hoped to see the HOP chip set employed in designs before Christmas. Pricing for end user products is projected to be $50.

For more information on the HOP technology, contact Alation at 650-903-1800 or visit their web site at

Edited by Robert Keenan