Communications

Support all powerline communication standards with one modem

16th June 2015
Siobhan O'Gorman

Designers of electrical utility meters now have the flexibility to accommodate the G3-PLC, Prime, and P1901.2 standards in the CENELEC A, ARIB, and FCC frequency bands with a single chip. The ZENO/MAX79356 PLC modem SoC is software configurable to accommodate all worldwide standards.

Powerline communication standards and frequency bands vary by region and country, and until now PLC modems could not support them all. Meter manufacturers had to develop multiple modems to ensure standards compatibility, or even pass up markets because they did not have the time or resources to develop new modems.

Now manufacturers and utilities can use the same device to build meters and data concentrators for any region that wants to use powerline communication. This allows meter designers to bring their products to market faster and be prepared for future standards. In addition, the integration of the analogue front-end and baseband in a single chip reduces chip count and lowers expenses. The ZENO/MAX79356 PLC modem SoC is three times smaller than other PLC modems and uses 80% less power when listening for PLC communication .

“While we expect narrowband PLC to stand out as a fast-growing communications technology over the next few years, we don’t see consolidation of the standards and frequency bands requested by utilities,” said Jacob Rodrigues Pereira, Senior Analyst, Smart Utility Infrastructure, IHS. “Solutions like the MAX79356 will make it easier for meter manufacturers to support multiple markets without increasing their development costs.”

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