Renesas Electronics Europe has announced the certification of the second generation of its OFDM powerline (PLC) modem for the FCC frequency band. This makes the company the first supplier worldwide to achieve certifications for all frequency bands as defined by the G3-PLC Alliance specifications, including ARIB (Japan Route B), Cenelec A and FCC.
G3-PLC is an OFDM based technology capable of addressing the difficult challenges of powerline communication in harsh and highly dynamic network environments, such as those found in metering applications. This outstanding behaviour is ensured by using dedicated modulation methodologies and making efficient use of the available spectrum under varying circumstances. It also uses specific signal processing techniques, such as two layer FEC, adaptive tone mapping and channel estimation, among others. In parallel, mesh routing mechanisms allow each node to determine the best path between remote network nodes. Renesas is a contributor to the G3 standard and has worked closely with the G3 alliance in the development of the worldwide G3 protocol.
Based on the G3-PLC specification, the differentiating factor for Renesas’ PLC modem is its use of dedicated implementation techniques. The certified device integrates a MAC controller as well as a high performance DSP, covering the PHY implementation. The embedded analogue front end contains an adaptive gain amplifier with AGC functions. This ensures exceptional signal quality with outstanding robustness and unique sensitivity characteristics.
The system architecture of Renesas’ 2nd gen device keeps the flexible concept of its award winning predecessor, allowing support for multiple standards and frequency bands with a single device. The solution, completely software based, enables seamless adjustment to any specification changes, modifications or even evolutions of the existing standards without the need for long development cycles. This in turn ensures investment protection as well as low cost of ownership, which is an advantage for meter makers targeting worldwide markets and significantly reduces the design effort and cost.
A comprehensive and simple to use reference platform, which is built around the Renesas’ PLC hardware (YCONNECT-IT-PLC-CPX2), allows customers to evaluate the PLC solution and can also be used for development. The hardware supports the multiple frequency bands by a simple exchange of the relevant filter board, dedicated filter modules for Cenelec A and FCC/ARIB frequency bands are included with the tool. The PC GUI allows for flexible device configuration and powerline communication analysis. This, in combination with the company’s customer support, ensures that everything is available for short and cost-efficient development of OFDM based PLC applications.
“To be the first company to certify all three band-plans for the G3-PLC shows Renesas’ dedication to the implementation and roll out of power line communication for metering applications,” says Niels Trapp, Senior Manager, Segment Marketing, Renesas Electronics Europe. “The fact that we were chosen by the G3-PLC Alliance to provide the reference hardware used for the certifications reflects the mature and innovative nature of our solution.”