170Mbps through an electrical socket demoed

Matsushita showed off an exceptionally high-speed Internet through an ordinary electrical socket at a Japanese trade fair

Matsushita Electronics has claimed a breakthrough in powerline broadband by running an Internet connection through an ordinary electrical socket, using a new chip. At a tradeshow in Japan on Thursday the company demonstrated a network capable of running at 170Mbps over the electrical network.

Companies have been able to demonstrate data running on powerlines before, but only at speeds up to around 10Mbps and with strict limitations on the length of the cables.

The main problem is that the signal will dissipate through the cables over any distance more than about 150m.

Matsushita, which trades as Panasonic, told the Associated Press  that by using new products with the new chip embedded in them, users can access a broadband network simply by plugging into the electrical network.

The aim behind Matsushita's strategy, as it demonstrated at the show, is to use the electrical network as an alternative route for an Internet connection, and also as a replacement for Wi-Fi. The company pointed out that while almost all houses have electrical power not all have broadband, or even an Internet connection, so by using this system anyone can access, download and watch high-definition movies and other content in any room in the house.

Matsushita also hopes to sell refrigerators, TVs and other products with the chip already installed.