G3-PLC chipset complies with IEEE P1901.2 pre-standard for smart grid communications

May 10, 2011 //By Paul Buckley
G3-PLC chipset complies with IEEE P1901.2 pre-standard for smart grid communications
Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the MAX2992, an OFDM-based powerline communication (PLC) modem that pairs with the MAX2991 analog front-end (AFE) to provide a complete PLC chipset for smart grid communications. The chipset complies with the emerging IEEE(R) P1901.2 standard for OFDM-based communication over power lines and offers guaranteed interoperability.

The standards compliance is critical to enabling smart grid deployments, as it helps utilities safeguard their substantial infrastructure investments.

“Until now, smart grid deployments have been impeded by the lack of standards-compliant solutions,” explained Michael Navid, Executive Business Manager for Powerline Products at Maxim. “Building intelligence into the existing power grid will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Utilities need a solution that is standards-based to protect their investments, to allow sourcing from multiple vendors, and to facilitate the integration of new services and equipment.

“From the start, G3-PLC was defined as an open standard for global implementations,” continued Navid. “Maxim partnered with ERDF [Electricité Réseau Distribution France] and major equipment manufacturers to define the specification, conduct field tests, and prepare to rollout a pilot deployment for customers in France this summer. ERDF plans to use this technology to connect 35 million customers to their smart grid network over the course of their project.

“Now that G3-PLC has been recognized by multiple international standards bodies, independently tested by dozens of organizations worldwide, and adopted by several major international meter manufacturers, utilities around the world will be able to come off the sidelines and begin rolling out their smart grid networks with confidence.”

Maxim’s G3-PLC technology provides the speed, robustness, and range demanded by large-scale powerline networks.

G3-PLC employs advanced broadband communication techniques to achieve speeds up to 300 kbps in the noisy powerline environment. G3-PLC uses OFDM technology to transmit data over multiple carriers, allowing designers to avoid interference at specific frequencies. Additionally, G3-PLC features a robust operating mode, bandwidth-efficient channel coding, and built-in error-correction mechanisms to guarantee reliable transmission - even when noise is stronger than the signal.

The robustness reduces deployment costs for utilities. Unlike other protocols, G3-PLC can communicate across transformers, allowing utilities to connect more users to each data concentrator. This reduces the number of concentrators, saving equipment, installation, and maintenance costs. In addition, G3-PLC can


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