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STMicroelectronics

G3-PLC hybrid connectivity for smart devices

19. Februar 2021, 09:12 Uhr   |  Heinz Arnold

G3-PLC hybrid connectivity for smart devices
© STMicroelectronics

The ST8500 combines the strengths of powerline communications and mesh wireless networks for secure communications between smart nodes and data collectors.

IoT devices equipped with ST's new G3-PLC hybrid PLC modem chipset can switch between PLC and radio.

Consisting of two evaluation boards for the license-exempt 868 MHz and 915 MHz frequency bands, as well as documented firmware, STMicroelectronics' development system helps users quickly build and test nodes according to G3-PLC Hybrid, the industry's first published standard for PLC and radio connectivity.

Applications such as smart meters, environmental monitoring systems, lighting controllers and industrial sensors equipped with the ST8500 chipset can autonomously switch between powerline and radio communications to use the most reliable connection.

Launched in 2019, the chipset combines the ST8500 protocol controller SoC (system-on-chip), which runs ST's G3-PLC hybrid firmware, with the STLD1 PLC line driver and the S2-LP sub-gigahertz radio module. Applications incorporating this chipset are backward compatible and interoperable with any G3-PLC network.

ST's hybrid protocol stack is based on the open standards G3-PLC, IEEE 802.15.4, 6LowPAN and IPv6. With embedded support for RF mesh at the physical and data link layers, the ST8500 combines the strengths of powerline communications and mesh wireless networks for communications between smart nodes and data collectors. Unlike simple point-to-point links, hybrid mesh networking networks nodes over large areas to increase reliability, strengthen failure-tolerant connections and span greater distances.

The two new hardware development kits handle PLC and radio communications as well as application processing. The EVLKST8500GH868 kit is configured for radio communications on the 868 MHz band recommended in the EU, while the EVLKST8500GH915 operates on the 915 MHz band used throughout the Americas and Asia. Each kit also comes with the STSW-ST8500GH software framework and documentation.  

The kits can be combined with an STM32 Nucleo board for scalable application processing and are compatible with ST's extensive portfolio of X-NUCLEO expansion boards to enable expedient expansion of the feature set. They thus provide a platform for developing a wide range of smart grid and IoT applications.

The EVLKST8500GH868 and EVLKST8500GH915 kits are available now from ST and distributors for $250.

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