It is not often that a Spanish company enjoys a position of leadership in the area of microcircuit design. But the company Diseño de Sistemas en Silicio (DS2) is at the cutting edge in this sector thanks to the development of semiconductors for communications over electrical wire. With this development by DS2, the power lines are used for multimedia solutions on home networks, online entertainment and broadband access applications. With headquarters in Valencia, on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, the company has sales offices in Tokyo, Japan; Taipei, Taiwan; Seoul, Korea and Santa Clara, USA.
When the telecommunications companies began to distribute ADSL in Spain in 1998, a group of engineers, led by current DS2 CEO Jorge Blasco, recognized the possibility of transmitting data over the electrical grid by means of integrated circuits, making any socket a high-speed broadband connection. “If it was possible to multiplex data (transmit different communications on a single channel) at high speed with the phone line, why not do it with the 50 or 60 hertz on the electrical grid? It seemed to me that the idea was too good to wait until some multinational did it. That's why I preferred to ask for money from private venture capital investors and do it here in Spain, through a small company that could position itself on a new market that did not exist at that time, but that would undoubtedly become extremely relevant”, recounts Blasco.
So was born at the European Innovative Companies Center (CEEI) in the Paterna Technology Park (Valencia) DS2, a company that in a very short amount of time would become the world's most important supplier of microelectronic circuits for PLC (Power Line Communications), first at a speed of 45 Mbps, currently at 200 Mbps and in 2010 it will reach 400 Mbps.
The microcircuits developed by DS2 to transmit data at high speed on the power lines are used in a versatile way, in a variety of applications. The most relevant, since the beginning, has been Internet access through electrical outlets.
In Spain, electric companies Endesa and Iberdrola were initially strong backers of this new medium, even marketing the service in some provinces. However, the project did not fully come together and it ended up being slowly forgotten, since it could not compete with the ADSL offers by the telecommunications operators.