Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Semtech and Waison partner in China powerline communications deployment

Steve Rogerson
November 3, 2015
China Southern Power Grid is rolling out a powerline communications advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) using technology from a collaboration between Chinese company Waison and California-based Semtech.
The G3-PLC based AMI uses Semtech’s multimode powerline communications (PLC) in RS485 meter aggregators, as well as for residential, commercial and industrial smart meters. The EV8000 PLC SoC will be employed as the G3-PLC communications modem.
“We selected Semtech as our AMI technology partner for OFDM PLC roll out in the Southern grid due to the superior performance of Semtech’s modems under challenging network conditions and the fact that Semtech offered the highest density and the lowest bill of material for its external circuitry,” said Michael Wang, chief technology officer at Wasion. “Integrating Semtech’s multi-protocol modems allows us to run a G3-PLC phy while supporting the legacy DL/T645 and Q/GDW376.2 modem interfaces used in the Southern grid.”
The launch of the G3-PLC with the Southern grid marks the beginning of OFDM roll out in China. With nearly all PLC deployments currently based on older FSK technology, both the State grid and Southern grid are evaluating the broader deployment of OFDM technologies to enable higher frequency of meter reads for better demand management, including enabling consumers to monitor their energy usage. With nearly 400 million utility customers, China Southern Power Grid covers five provinces and has more than 36 million utility customers, while the State grid has over 350 million.
“We are very pleased to have been selected by Wasion as their strategic AMI technology partner for the Southern grid,” said Reza Mirkhani, vice president at Semtech. “Wasion, with its long history in smart meter development, is one of the largest vendors of meters and advanced AMI solutions in the industry. We look forward to a strong partnership with Wasion as they roll out the first G3-PLC OFDM-based AMI network with the Southern grid.”
The EV8000 is a fully integrated single-chip PLC SoC that includes modem functionality from the power line to the network layer and has programmable frequency bands, covering Cenelec-A, FCC and Arib bands without the need for chip or module hardware changes. The EV8000 soft-modem can be programmed to operate in ITU-T G.9903 (G3-PLC), ITU-T G.9904 (Prime) and IEEE P1901.2 modes by downloading the respective firmware code to the chip remotely over the power line network.
“China’s rapid movement towards communicating meters makes it by far the largest market worldwide by volume,” said Jacob Pereira, senior analyst for IHS. “We estimate that nearly half of all electricity meters shipped globally and more than two-thirds of those shipped in the Asia Pacific region in 2014 were installed in China.”