STMicroelectronics announces development ecosystem for smart grid devices
Two evaluation boards targeting 868MHz and 915MHz license-free RF bands, are available, with documented firmware from STMicroelectronics to accelerate G3-PLC hybrid connectivity in smart grid and IoT devices. The ecosystem for the ST8500 programmable power-line communication (PLC) modem chipset helps users quickly build and test nodes that comply with G3-PLC Hybrid, the industry’s first published standard for dual PLC and RF connectivity.
Equipment such as smart meters, environmental monitors, lighting controllers, and industrial sensors containing the ST8500 chipset, which supports G3-PLC Hybrid, can select the powerline or wireless channel autonomously and change dynamically to ensure the most reliable connection.
The ST8500 chipset combines the ST8500 protocol controller SoC, which runs ST’s G3-PLC Hybrid firmware, with the STLD1 powerline communication (PLC) line driver and S2-LP sub-GHz radio. Devices containing the chipset are backward-compatible and interoperable with any G3-PLC network.
ST’s hybrid protocol stack is based on G3-PLC, IEEE 802.15.4, 6LowPAN and IPv6 open standards. Embedded support for RF Mesh at the physical (PHY) and data-link layers, combines the strengths of powerline and wireless mesh networking in a single chipset for communication between smart nodes and data collectors. Unlike simple point-to-point links, hybrid mesh networking interconnects nodes extensively to improve reliability, strengthen fault-tolerant connections, and extend communication distance, explains ST.
The two hardware development kits handle PLC and RF connectivity as well as application processing. The EVLKST8500GH868 kit is configured for 868MHz RF operation which is recommended in the EU, while the EVLKST8500GH915 kit operates in the 915MHz band used throughout the Americas and Asia. Each kit 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 X-Nucleo expansion boards.
The EVLKST8500GH868 and EVLKST8500GH915 are available now from ST and distributors.