Rohm injects new life into power-line comms: pre-announces HD-PLC device for smart home

October 10, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Preparing for rising demand for smart home infrastructure, chipmaker Rohm has begun development of a baseband IC compliant with HD PLC Inside, a new embedded broadband high-speed power line communication technology for home appliances, BEMS, HEMS, and HAN applications. The chip will make it possible to configure home networks using existing power lines.

In 2012 Rohm joined the HD-PLC Alliance, and recently began development of an HD-PLC-Inside compliant baseband IC using a number of proprietary Rohm Group technologies.

Key Features include a built-in ARM core and very low power consumption. The ARM core, an ARM7TDMI is designed to handle protocol (TCP/IP) processing, making it possible to incorporate the chip into existing systems with little to no modifications. This reduces design load considerably for customers new to HD-PLC technology. Support for the ECHONET Lite middleware Smart Home communication standard and SSL encryption are also provided.

Intermittent operation function is built in, cutting power consumption by up to 30 times during standby compared with convention PLC solutions.

Recent years have seen increased proposals for smart grid systems such as HEMS, BEMS, and HANs that connect multiple home appliances and devices and enable remote operation, energy management, and other functions that promote greater efficiency and convenience. Embedding HD-PLC-Inside-compliant products into home appliances, Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS), Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS), Home Access Networks (HAN), and lighting devices enables low-cost, low-power, high-speed communication over existing power lines by simply plugging into AC outlets, providing convenience and functionality – without the need to create a new network.

Samples of the chip can be expected in March 2014, OEM quantities starting June 2014.