US microcontroller (MCU) company Atmel has launched two new power line communication (G3-PLC) solutions at European Utility Week in Amsterdam over the past three days.
The new products – a system-on-chip and modem – are designed to address the European (CENELEC), American (FCC) and Japanese (ARIB) profiles defined by the G3-PLC Alliance.
The SAM4CP16C SoC and ATPL250A modem are pin-compatible with PRIME-compliant members of the Atmel portfolio of smart energy metering solutions already in production.
New features include an integrated Class-D line driver, which provides signal injection efficiency and improved thermal characteristics to help eliminate reliability issues in the field as a result of thermal overheating.
The two new products also have common architecture, software environment and tools so customers’ research and development investments can be shared and re-utilized over multiple projects which address various connectivity standards, the company said in a statement.
The SoC option is similar to the rest of the SAM4Cx products built around a dual-core 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 architecture with advanced security, metrology and wireless and power-line communications (PLC) options.
Meeting global standards
Commenting on the new launches, Colin Barnden, principal analyst, Semicast Research, said: “Utilities worldwide require OEMs to meet very high reliability standards at aggressive cost points for smart meters that embed advanced feature sets in connectivity, security and flexibility.
“Additionally, smart meters to be deployed in several countries are required to be certified for compliance with the latest specifications including G3-PLC, PRIME and IEEE 802.15.4g.
He added: “Atmel’s smart metering solutions now meet the required criteria for emerging standards-based smart metering deployments from a reliability, performance, interoperability and cost perspective.”
Atmel also reports it expects full CENELEC certification from this month followed by FCC and ARIB band certifications in the coming months.