First OFDM-based powerline communication specification released


Sunnyvale, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — September 2, 2009 – An OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing)-based powerline communication (PLC) specification designed to facilitate global smart grid implementations has been released by Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. in partnership with Sagem Communications and Électricité Réseau Distribution France (ERDF).

The G3-PLC specification supports the IPv6 internet protocol standard in order to promote interoperability among global smart grid implementations.

The specification includes OFDM-based PHY/MAC layers and a 6LoWPAN adaptation layer to transmit IPv6 packets over powerline channels. The specification also includes innovations such as coexistence with older S-FSK systems, adaptive tone mapping for optimal bandwidth utilization, and a robust mode of operation that improves communication under noisy channel conditions.

These capabilities allow implementers to achieve fast, reliable data communication over the long distances required by large scale smart grid infrastructures.

In December 2008 Maxim was awarded a development contract by ERDF, a wholly owned subsidiary of the EDF Group, to define, develop, and implement a next generation PLC specification for automatic meter management (AMM) infrastructure.

In a long series of real world tests ERDF found that G3-PLC demonstrated higher robustness and data rate compared to the current metering communication solutions, the company said in a statement. Moreover, G3-PLC can be used to transmit data beyond distribution stations, and it co-exists with first generation PLC.

“ERDF selected Maxim for this project because of their proven expertise in developing advanced PLC solutions and their experience in this field,” commented Jean Vigneron, Managing Director for Metering at ERDF. “Along with Sagem Communications, Maxim successfully delivered a PLC specification that fully met our requirements for robust communication, high data rates, long distance transmission, and interoperability.”

ERDF is preparing to conduct an industrial pilot program involving approximately one thousand households in the rural area around Tours. Using G3-PLC technology, ERDF will deploy an AMM infrastructure to enhance grid operations and promote energy conservation. Upon the successful completion of these trials, ERDF’s goal is to implement an AMM network across France to serve its more than 35 million customers.