New Industry Products

PLC Chipset Extends into Non-Utility Applications and Emerging Protocol Standards

November 06, 2018 by Paul Shepard

The STMicroelectronics ST8500 is the first powerline-communication (PLC) solution to feature a G3-PLC CENELEC B certified protocol stack for industrial applications beyond utility metering, such as in smart cities, street lighting, renewable-energy management, railway smart tunnels and stations.

In addition to covering all G3-PLC standards and frequency bands, ST8500 also offers certified libraries for all PRIME standards, from PRIME 1.3.6 to PRIME 1.4 in CENELEC and FCC bands. Each of the stacks features high-performing routing algorithms to ensure superior network coverage in all application domains.

New products from lead customers in the smart-metering and industrial sectors featuring the ST8500 will be on display at ST’s booth (B.p19) at European Utility Week, Messe Wien, Vienna, 6-8 November.

Fully-programmable, containing a dedicated real-time engine to handle the modulation and coding schemes of different PLC standards and a power-efficient Arm® Cortex®-M4F core for upper-layer processing and system management, the ST8500 allows product manufacturers to address multiple markets and regions with a single hardware platform, and future-proof assets in the field by remote update.

Dedicated peripherals for smart-energy applications, including an AES cryptographic engine, are also integrated. Consuming less than 100mW in receive mode, the ST8500 meets the most stringent industrial specifications to minimize the grid load imposed by new smart meters.

With a complete Analog Front End (AFE) on-chip, the ST8500 connects directly to ST’s STLD1 line driver to create a complete single-vendor powerline-transceiver solution in the market. The STLD1 ensures reliable communication even across noisy cables, with high drive capability and high linearity over a wide output range of 18V in single-ended or 36V in differential mode.

The two-chip set delivers best-in-class performance, ultra-low power consumption, flexibility, and cost-effective connectivity for smart-grid and IoT applications.

Driving the powerline-communication market for more than 20 years, ST is a principal member of all major PLC-protocol alliances including G3-PLC, PRIME, and Meters and More, and has supplied around 100 million powerline-modem ICs mainly for smart-metering applications.

The ST8500 in 7mm x 7mm x 1mm QFN56 and STLD1 in 4mm x 4mm x 1mm QFN24 are available now.