STMicroelectronics’ modular Power-Line Communication (PLC) modem chipset promises more flexibility to manufacturers of utility meters, smart-grid nodes, streetlamps, and home and industrial controllers. Described as a turnkey solution, the chipset consolidates protocol handling to package and adapt data so it can be transmitted and line driving for sending over mains wires. The two-chip set packs the ST8500 programmable PLC engine and STLD1 line-driver.
The ST8500 is a System-on-Chip (SoC) IC containing a quad-core DSP for real-time protocol processing, and an ARM Cortex-M4F core for upper-layer processing and system management. Each has its own code and data SRAM on-chip, and a dedicated set of peripherals focused on smart-energy applications is provided, including an AES cryptographic engine. The Analog Front End (AFE) for connecting to the STLD1 line driver is also integrated. Additionally, the ST8500 consumes less than 100 mW in receive mode.
The STLD1 line driver is said to communicate reliably, even across noisy cables and with low impedance, high-drive capability, and high linearity over a wide output range of 18V in single-ended or 36V in differential mode. The chipset is supplied with certified G3-PLC and PRIME power-line protocol stacks and complies with CENELEC, FCC, and ARIB frequency-band regulations.
The chipset is in production and available now. The ST8500 SoC is packaged as a 7 mm x 7 mm x 1 mm QFN56, and the STLD1 is a 4 mm x 4 mm x 1 mm QFN24. Datasheets are available for the ST8500 and STLD1. For further information, contact STMicroelectronics, Burlington, MA.