STMicroelectronics has announced that the ST8500 and S2-LP chipset has been certified according to the G3-PLC Hybrid communication standard that defines seamless connectivity over powerline and wireless media. The G3-PLC Hybrid specification allows smart-grid, smart-city, industrial and IoT equipment to select the best available wireless or powerline channel at any time, automatically and dynamically, according to network conditions. This enables superior coverage, reliability and scalability, while also allowing cost-efficient system operation that enables new use cases.
Widely used in smart-metering, smart industrial and infrastructure applications, the ST8500 powerline communication SoC platform is preferred by key stakeholders in the smart-grid market. At the same time, the hardware and firmware solution has been selected to power the official G3-PLC Alliance RF certification-testing equipment.
Based on 6LowPAN and IPv6 and combining RF connectivity with the native G3-PLC protocol stack, less than 100mW is consumed by ST8500 SoC in receive mode, ensuring ultra-low-power performance for minimising the grid load imposed by new smart meters. It contains a high-performance DSP for real-time protocol processing and an ARM Cortex-M4F core for upper-layer processing and system management. Both the DSP and ARM core have their code and data SRAM on-chip, while peripherals including a 128/256-bit AES cryptographic engine are integrated to meet the needs of smart-energy applications. The Analogue Front End (AFE) for connecting to the STLD1 line driver is also integrated. The STLD1 communicates reliably, even across noisy power cables and with low impedance, with high drive capability and high linearity.
The S2-LP is a high-performance ultra-low-power RF transceiver, intended for RF wireless applications in the sub-1GHz band. It operates in both the license-free ISM and SRD frequency bands at 433, 512, 868, and 920 MHz, and can be programmed to operate at additional frequencies in the 413-479 MHz, 452-527 MHz, 826-958 MHz, and 904-1055 MHz bands. The transceiver allows an RF-link budget greater than 140dB for long communication ranges and meets radio-equipment regulations in territories worldwide including Europe, North America, China and Japan. ST provides companion integrated balun/filter chips for the S2-LP that simplify antenna-connection circuitry and save PCB area in space-constrained applications.
The certified chipset combines the ST8500 programmable multi-protocol powerline communication system-on-chip (SoC) and STLD1 line driver with ST’s S2-LP ultra-low-power sub-GHz radio transceiver. The SoC’s programmability enables a software-defined implementation capable of supporting a broad portfolio of powerline protocol stacks in worldwide frequency bands such as CENELEC and FCC.
The ST8500 SoC is packaged as a 7mm x 7mm x 1mm QFN56. The STLD1 and S2-LP are each packaged as 4mm x 4mm x 1mm QFN24. All devices are in full production and available from STMicroelectronics.