Powerline modem IC supports worldwide standards and frequency bands

October 22, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Renesas’ third-generation OFDM powerline (PLC) modem provides the flexibility to support any PLC protocol standard, such as PRIME1.3.6/1.4 and G3, for all global frequency bands including CENELEC A, FCC and ARIB.

Meter manufacturers can manage their key challenges more easily, as the part helps shorten time-to-market, minimise risk and maximise system cost efficiency, Renesas claims. With increased memory headroom and boosted protocol processing performance, new generation PLC protocols such as PRIME 1.4 with full band-plan coverage can be supported, along with functions such as dual-route communication.

Renesas’ objective for the new generation was to reduce overall BOM cost, to increase robustness, to increase performance and to have the ability to support dual route communication where required. The new modem device integrates an enhanced MAC controller supporting large scale network hopping and routing as well as a high performance digital signal processor (DSP) with special instructions for PLC, covering the physical layer (PHY) and real time processes of the media access protocol (MAC) implementation. DSP algorithms are implemented to improve robustness by using noise detection, noise reduction and error correction mechanisms. Exceptional signal quality and a wide dynamic range are ensured by the embedded analogue front end (AFE) with an integrated adaptive gain amplifier including automatic gain control (AGC) functions. The integration of the LDO regulator, the DC/DC converter and the transmit filters in turn leads to a reduced noise impact from the power supply as well as to an overall reduced bill of materials.

A dedicated reference platform (YCONNECT-IT-PLC-CPX3) provides customers with flexible device configuration. The protocol stacks, including the related frequency bands, can be selected and the communication analysed with a dedicated PC GUI. It also allows the customisation of the evaluation software to the designer’s own test environment as well as the configuration of test cases.

Renesas Electronics Europe; www.renesas.eu