Maxim’s new SoC targets uniform PLC communications standards

Maxim chip for smart meter comms
Communications standards: Maxim has developed a single chip to meet PLC standards across multiple regions

US manufacturer of analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits Maxim Integrated has created a single chip to accommodate the G3-PLC, PRIME, and P1901-2 powerline communications standards in the CENELEC A, ARIB, and FCC frequency bands.

Maxim’s Zeno/MAX79356 PLC modem System on Chip (SoC) can be used in meters and data concentrators.

It also includes both baseband and analogue front end.

Maxim said the new chip can be applied to advanced metering infrastructure, electric vehicle charging, factory and building automation, home energy monitoring, smart grid communications, smart meters, and street lighting automation and lighting control.

Other features of the low-power consumption chip include system architecture that integrates dual 32-Bit RISC processors with 512KB flash and 288KB RAM for MAC and PHY.

Commenting on the reasons for developing the chip, Maxim said in a statement: “Powerline communication [PLC] standards and frequency bands vary by region and country, and 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 resources to develop new modems.”

Japan smart meter sensor platform

In other smart metering news, Japanese internet and network services provider Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ) has launched IIJ Smart Metering Service for B-Route’ on a trial basis, reports trade press Telecompaper.

Electricity retailers, as well as M2M and IoT services providers, will be able to test a system platform for offering services that utilize smart meters.

By using the B Route, smart meters become electric power sensors installed at individual residences.

It is expected that combinations of B-Route-collected data and other sensor data will create new services and businesses that employ M2M and IoT.

Ten customers, including Kokusai Kogyo, and Ten Feet Wright, plan to use the new trial environment. IIJ will demonstrate the service at Smart Community Japan 2015, to be held from 17 June, Telecompaper reports.

Discussion: Japan’s smart meter structure has an A route and B route – would this work in your country?