Renesas Electronics Europe Launches Powerline Communication Modem Solution

ren0651_board_pmod_plcRenesas Electronics Europe, today announced an adaptation of its powerline communication (PLC) modem solution to the Renesas Synergy™ Platform, a complete and qualified platform with fully integrated software, a scalable family of microcontrollers (MCUs), and unified development tools for embedded and IoT applications designed to accelerate time to market, reduce total cost of ownership, and enable differentiation. The adaptation includes the launch of a Verified Software Add-on (VSA) with the G3-PLC protocol stack.

Smart applications such as smart grid, smart street lighting, and building automation, are getting increasingly complex. The immediate impact of this development is higher cost resulting from development, porting, maintenance, and purchase of relevant software packages such as RTOS, drivers, and higher layer firmware as well as protocol stacks for connectivity solutions. Renesas’ single-chip powerline modem solution, in combination with the Synergy Platform, removes many of the obstacles engineers face when designing smart meters or similar smart products.

At the heart of the Synergy Platform is the Synergy Software Package (SSP), which is qualified, supported, warranted, and maintained by Renesas. Specialized software functions may be easily added to the SSP without any guesswork using VSA components that are verified by Renesas to be SSP-compatible. System designers can start their G3-PLC based development straight away at the API level using this VSA for G3-PLC in combination with all other elements of the required profile from the SSP and additional VSAs to develop any of the G3-PLC based applications.

Depending on the performance level required for the final product, system designers can select from a wide range of scalable and compatible host Synergy MCUs ranging from ARM® Cortex® M0+ (32MHz /128KB flash/16KB SRAM) up to ARM® Cortex® M4 (240MHz/4MB flash/640KB SRAM). The combination of Synergy MCUs with Renesas’ third generation single-chip PLC modem allows engineers to create an extremely modular, flexible, and cost-optimised system design. Any modifications or redesigns required can be carried out in a very cost efficient manner, reducing development, testing and certification effort, as well as risk, to a minimum. This enables system designers to achieve unparalleled time-to-market, and spend more time on innovation and differentiation.

Renesas’ flexible single-chip PLC modem solution stands out by its robustness and flexibility. It supports any PLC protocol standard such as PRIME 1.3.6 and PRIME1.4 with full band coverage, as well as G3-PLC, for all global frequency bands including CENELEC A, FCC, and ARIB. With regards to more complex IoT applications, the solution even enables system designers to implement dual route communication. The exceptional signal quality, a wide dynamic range and its unique noise immunity are provided by the embedded analogue front end and enhanced DSP algorithms, which can handle dedicated wide spread noise profiles.

Renesas provides a small PLC module with PmodTM interface using Renesas’ R9A06G037GNP single-chip PLC modem that can be combined with any Synergy Development Kit to form a complete evaluation and development environment. The Peripheral Module Interface (Pmod™), developed by Digilent Inc., is an open standard interface that is used to connect low frequency, low I/O pin count peripheral modules to host controller boards.

“Our customers are faced with increasing solution complexity especially in the smart energy segment. There is also a growing demand for shortened development time, not to mention the increasing cost pressure,” said Niels Trapp, Senior Director, Segment Solutions, Industrial & Communications Business Group at Renesas Electronics Europe. “Renesas addresses these needs by creating a system concept for G3-PLC modem solutions, allowing customers to focus on their key competence, the application itself.”

The official launch of the new Renesas G3-PLC VSA and the Pmod™ PLC module will take place at the European Utility Week ( from November 15th to 17th 2016 in Barcelona, where Renesas will be showcasing next-generation solutions for metering and communication technologies on Stand 3G141.