Atmel launches G3-PLC-compliant power-line carrier solutions

During European Utility Week 2014, Atmel will be debuting a pair of new power-line communication solutions compliant with the G3-PLC specification.

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The new Atmel G3-PLC products include the SAM4CP16C system-on-chip (SoC) and ATPL250A modem that are pin-compatible with PRIME-compliant members of the Atmel | SMART portfolio of energy metering solutions already in production. The SoC option is similar to the rest of the SAM4Cx products built around a dual-core 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 architecture with advanced security, metrology and wireless and power-line communications (PLC) options. This unique and highly flexible platform addresses OEM’s requirements for flexible system partitioning, lower bill of materials (BOM) and improved time-to-market.

“Utilities worldwide require OEMs to meet very high reliability standards at aggressive cost points for smart meters which embed advanced feature sets in connectivity, security and flexibility,” explained Colin Barnden Semicast Research Principal Analyst. “Additionally, smart meters to be deployed in several countries are required to be certified for compliance with the latest specifications including G3-PLC, PRIME and IEEE 802.15.4g. Atmel’s smart metering solutions now meet the required criteria for emerging standards based smart metering deployments from a reliability, performance, interoperability and cost perspective.”

These new products address the European (CENELEC), American (FCC) and Japanese (ARIB) profiles defined by the G3-PLC Alliance. Atmel is an active participant in the G3-PLC Alliance certification program and expects full CENELEC certification in November followed by FCC and ARIB band certifications in the coming months.

A distinguishing feature of the ATPL250A and SAM4CP16C is an integrated Class-D line driver, which provides outstanding signal injection efficiency and improved thermal characteristics compared to competing technologies. This will help eliminate reliability issues encountered in the field as a result of thermal overheating. Additionally, common architecture, software environment and tools ensure that our customers’ R&D investments can be shared and re-utilized over multiple projects which address various connectivity standards.

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Key features of the SoC include:

  • Application 
    • ARM Cortex-M4 running at up to 120 MHz,
    • Memory protection unit (MPU)
    • DSP Instruction
    • Thumb-2 instruction set
    • Instruction and data cache controller with 2 Kbytes cache memory
  • Co-processor
    • ARM Cortex-M4F running at up to 120 MHz
    • IEEE 754 compliant, single precision floating-point unit (FPU)
    • DSP Instruction
    • Thumb-2 instruction set
    • Instruction and data cache controller with 2 Kbytes cache memory
  • Symmetrical/Asynchronous dual core architecture
    • Interrupt-based interprocessor communication
    • Asynchronous clocking
    • One interrupt controller (NVIC) for each core
    • Each peripheral IRQ routed to each NVIC input
  • Cryptography
    • High-performance AES 128 to 256 with various modes (GCM, CBC, ECB, CFB, CBC-MAC, CTR)
    • TRNG (up to 38 Mbit/s stream, with tested Diehard and FIPS)
    • Classical public key crypto accelerator and associated ROM library for RSA, ECC, DSA, ECDSA
    • Integrity Check Module (ICM) based on Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA1, SHA224, SHA256), DMA assisted
  • Safety
    •  4 physical anti-tamper detection I/O with time stamping and immediate clear of general backup registers
    • Security bit for device protection from JTAG accesses
  • G3 PLC embedded modem
    • Power-line carrier modem for 50 Hz and 60 Hz mains
    • Implements G3-PLC CENELEC, FCC and ARIB profiles
    • G3-PLC coherent and differential modulation schemes available
    • Automatic Gain Control and continuous amplitude tracking in signal reception
    • Class D switching power amplifier control
  • Shared system controller
    • Power supply
    • Embedded core and LCD voltage regulator for single supply operation
    • Power-on-reset (POR), brownout detector (BOD) and watchdog for safe operation
    • Low-power sleep and backup modes

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While notable components of the ATPL250A include:

  • G3-PLC modem
    • Implements G3 CENELEC-A, FCC and ARIB profiles (ITU-T G.9903, June ´14)
    • Power-line carrier modem for 50 Hz and 60 Hz mains
    • G3-PLC coherent and differential modulation schemes available
  • Automatic gain control and continuous amplitude tracking in signal reception
  • 1 SPI peripheral (slave) to external MCU
  • Zero cross detection
  • Embedded PLC analog front end (AFE), requires only external discrete high efficient Class D line driver for signal injection
  • Pin to pin compatible to ATPL30A, Atmel modem for PRIME PLC

The first batch of samples and evaluation kits will be available this month, mass production is slated for January 2015. In the meantime, those wishing to learn more about Atmel’s PLC solutions can head here.

1 thought on “Atmel launches G3-PLC-compliant power-line carrier solutions

  1. Pingback: Rewind: Must-know news, releases and more from 2014 | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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