The announcement from the G3-PLC Alliance opens the way for extended capabilities in smart grids and other IoT applications with hybrid PLC-RF mesh networks.
The certification platforms for the next generation PLC standard incorporating Radio Frequency (RF) capabilities are aimed to give manufacturers and customers the assurance that their devices have the correct implementation of the standard, that they are interoperable with other certified devices and they meet the specified performance levels.
The first two certified platforms are from Microchip and STMicroelectronics.
Interoperability also has been demonstrated in a plugfest last year with solutions from Renesas, Semitech Semiconductor and Vertexcom Technologies. The further platforms are currently under certification and should follow soon.
“After announcing the extension of the certification program to include the hybrid PLC&RF solution in March this year, we are very proud to announce the first certified platforms,” says Leon Vergeer, G3-PLC Alliance General Secretary.
“The two first interoperable, certified hybrid solutions are a major milestone for the G3-PLC hybrid roadmap.”
The hybrid protocol stack is built using open standards IEEE 802.15.4-2015 in addition to the existing G3-PLC protocol.
Each device in the mesh network can use PLC as well as RF for the communication. Depending on the actual conditions in the field, messages between two devices are sent over the ‘best’ available channel.
The channel selection for each link in the network is done automatically and adjusted dynamically. This way, the hybrid profile provides an efficient and cost effective solution for many applications and opens up new use cases as it extends the connectivity of G3-PLC to RF-only devices.
The G3-PLC Hybrid profile is fully compatible and interoperable with existing G3-PLC implementations, so it is possible to mix hybrid and non-hybrid nodes.
The certification programme covers conformance, interoperability and performance testing. Two labs are accredited to run the certifications tests, LANPARK, a French company with facilities in Tauxigny, France, and TÜV Rheinland, a German company with certification testing facilities in Yokohama, Japan.
In addition to smart grids, other IoT applications for PLC&RF include smart cities and industry.