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This paper discusses the development of a low-cost, narrow-band transmission system, aimed at connecting digital appliances to a home network. The proposed approach is based on powerline communication (ULP: Ultra Low-cost Powerline), carried out on the power-supply wire between the appliance and the outlet. Through ULP, appliance can communicate with a transceiver node located at the outlet, the “smart adapter”, which, in turn, can flexibly route messages toward external control devices (e.g., for diagnostic purposes) or, more generally, toward a home control network. At the appliance side, such an approach allows for connectivity at extremely low costs, at the same time keeping independent of the actual home control network protocol (since different configurations of the smart adapter take care of it). To make practical their implementation on a variety of digital appliances, ULP communication functions have been implemented in a dedicated hardware device, conceived as a dedicated peripheral for a general-purpose microcontroller. In this work, details on the peripheral architecture and its implementation are given. A prototype of the peripheral has been developed, based on a FPGA board directly connected to the microprocessor bus. This closely emulates the perspective microcontroller architecture, and allowed for extensive testing of the device under realistic operating conditions.