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PLC Modem SoC Basics | How it works

This page covers PLC Modem SoC basics.It mentions PLC Modem SoC application note and PLC Modem SoC manufacturers or Vendors.

PLC stands for Power Line Communication. In this system communication takes place using existing 50Hz powerline. Unlike earlier days now powerline has been widely used for networking and home automation technologies. This is because it is the cheaper alternative after the wireless medium.

A digital communication system comprised on transmitter and receiver. The transmitter part consists of encoder and modulator. The receiver part consists of decoder and demodulator. In order to support two way duplex communication modem has been designed which houses encoder, decoder, modulator and demodulator in a single chip (SoC). This is referred as modem SoC.

PLC modem is the device which helps interface with powerline to transfer the data to and from it. Refer modem basics for more information. As PLC modem need to be connected with AC power line additional electronic circuits are needed for isolation , protection and impedance matching functionalities. PLC modem houses PHY and MAC layers as per different standards.

PLC Powerline Communication Modem

Figure-1 depicts how PLC modem compliant electric device is interfaced with powerline and what are the other internal blocks/modules. As shown PLC modem SoC is interfaced with power line, CU(Control Unit), Funtional Unit( TV or air conditioner etc.) and power supply module. PLC coupling and line driver is needed to interface the PLC modem SoC with the powerline.

The PLC Modem is used for wide variety of applications such as Home and industrial automation, Smart metering, Smart appliances, Control systems, Intelligent lighting, M2M, IoT (Internet of Things) etc.

PLC Modem SoC Application Note

ATMEL has PLC Modem SoC with part number ATPL210A. It houses upgraded 8051 microcontroller unit, OFDM PHY and MAC layer functionality.

This modem SoC saves space when microcontroller board need to be designed as it has internal MCU. It has SPI interface. It can be easily interfaced with Flash RAM and SRAM devices.

ATMEL offers evaluation kit (SAM4SP32A) which helps in prototype development and validation.

This PLC modem SoC is suitable for PLC smart meter market.

PLC Modem SoC Manufacturers/Vendors

Following are popular PLC Modem SoC manufacturers/vendors:
• ST Microelectronics
• Texas Instruments
• Silicon Technology (EnVerv) (www.si-tech.co.jp/eng/v-env.php) )
• Renesas Electronics
• Broadcom
• Atmel
• Maxim Integrated
• ON semiconductor
• Semtech Corporation ( www.semtech.com )

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