Mass retailers get powerline

Mass retailers get powerline

ASX-listed SkyNet­Global, best known as a wireless service provider, is branching out into powerline networking products.

Having signed an agreement as master distributor of Canadian-based Corinex Communications in June, it has now secured a deal with Smart Connect to get the products onto the shelves of mass retailers in time for the Christmas rush.

Smart Connect — a distributor of home networking and automation products to outlets including Dick Smith, Tandy, Harvey Norman and Domayne — currently supplies Gigafast to mass retailers but has agreed to replace that line with Corinex. This includes an 802.11b wireless access point as well as Ethernet and USB adapters.

Powerline products, also known as Home Plug, enable users to create a local area network for computers to share printers and Internet connections through any power socket in the building. A network is created when Ethernet or USB adaptors are plugged into separate power sockets within the same building.

Corinex claims its products can transmit data, audio, video and voice over IP signals over electricity wires at speeds of up to 14Mbps at distances of up to 200 metres.

Market analysts at Frost and Sullivan have predicted the Australian powerline market would be worth $4 million in the next calendar year. This would rise to $10 million by 2008.

SkyNetGlobal CEO, Jonathan Soon, said the partnership with Smart Connect would help Corinex to capture 90 per cent of that market.

He said Corinex and Gigabit were currently the only powerline products available in Australia.

“The [Corinex] products are suitable for business or consumer markets but the relationship with Smart Connect will take us into the consumer space straight away,” Soon said.

“Powerline technology is still fairly new and, in the general scheme of things, it is a niche segment of the networking market. Securing distribution into the retail space means people will be able to go in and speak to someone about the product and that will help to educate consumers.”

Soon said SkyNetGlobal intended to conduct an advertising campaign to raise product awareness and was also in discussions with systems integrators to take the product into business markets.

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