Reference design for smart meter steps up integration level

October 15, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Maxim Integrated’s latest smart metering reference platform integrates metrology, security, and communications for a safer smart grid.

Capistrano is a smart grid reference platform from Maxim, built around the company’s Zeus metering SoC, that protects designs with advanced cryptography, physical attack detection, and life-cycle security schemes. Protecting more than just the smart meter, the security technology is capable of securing any distributed node in the smart grid. Maxim says that the level of integration in Capistrano makes it versatile—it simplifies smart grid designs by integrating four complex processors: an applications processor, metering microcontroller, metering front-end/DSP, and security coprocessor. It also offers the best accuracy in the industry — 0.1% over a wide current range of 8000:1. You might therefore use it beyond meter designs for a wide variety of applications, including smart meters, smart lighting, solar inverters, building automation, and submetering.


The security features include integrated physical-attack detection, a secure bootloader, and advanced cryptography schemes including elliptic curve; the device supports secure in-field software upgrades. Capistrano connects to PRIME, G3-PLC, GPRS, and other modems and has sufficient processing power to handle future application requirements.