Partnership to develop more efficient AMM communications


Chisinau, Moldova and Dallas, TX, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — July 15, 2008 – Meter manufacturer ADD GRUP and Texas Instruments (TI), a provider of high performance analog products, have joined forces to develop a new and more efficient communication technology that will aid the spread of advanced meter management (AMM) systems.

The implementation of standards and technologies such as DLMS and TCP/IP protocols for interoperability result in heavier protocols and greater data volumes, and the carrying capacity of the infrastructure is not always able to support their introduction. The most natural medium for carrying the data is the power line, but today’s technology, based as it is on FSK modulation, is not always able to conduct the required data flow.

Recognizing the need for a more efficient communication technology which can cope with actual requirements while also being future-proof, ADD GRUP and TI have joined to develop a new solution, to comply with these requirements. The solution is based on TI’s 32-bit DSP Controller (TMS320F28 ™) and enables the use of S-FSK and OFDM on the same platform, with the ability to easily switch between them.

Alexander Gherman, the Director of the R&D department at ADD GRUP, says: “S-FSK is used used today in a lot of AMM systems. It is standardized and it is a rational solution for the actual needs. However, considering the continuous evolution of the AMM market, it is likely that particular AMM solutions will soon require more bandwidth and a higher degree of flexibility. The OFDM modulation is already in use in other communication technologies and offers a range of advantages comparable to other techniques: robustness, higher data-rates and longer communication distances. The implementation of OFDM opens new possibilities, like integration of TCP-IP protocols and higher degree of security through more sophisticated encryption algorithms.

“We consider that both techniques will have their application niche. We simply offer the ability to choose and easily switch to the most suitable.”

One of the factors that make this solution viable for the market is the low cost of the modem, which enlarges the area of application of the OFDM technique beyond AMM systems.  

The S-FSK/OFDM PL modem will be launched at the Metering Europe conference, being held in the Netherlands from 22 – 24 September, 2008.