STMicroelectronics Strengthens STCOMET Smart-Meter Platform

STMicroelectronics Strengthens STCOMET Smart-Meter Platform by Passing PRIME® 1.4 Interoperability Tests

STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, has announced important new protocol support and a strengthened ecosystem for its STCOMET smart-meter System-on-Chip (SoC), creating a unified and future-proof platform capable of complying with the major power-line communication (PLC) standards chosen by utilities worldwide.

STCOMET has recently passed interoperability tests for PRIME® 1.4, the latest version of the PRIME Alliance PLC standard used by over four million smart meters in service today. STCOMET is already certified to PRIME 1.3.6.

“Support for the latest releases of the leading PLC standards makes STCOMET the industry’s most complete, mature and highly integrated smart-meter solution, helping accelerate roll-out of the smart grids we need to ensure stable, affordable, low-carbon energy for the future,” said Matteo Lo Presti, Group Vice President and General Manager, Industrial and Power Conversion Division, STMicroelectronics.

The latest PRIME protocol, version 1.4, which was announced by the PRIME Alliance in May 2014 and is due to be released at European Utility Week 2014 (early next month), contains several enhancements including a new robust mode for reliable communication in electrically noisy environments. STCOMET is among the first chipsets to pass interoperability testing, allowing new equipment to benefit from the latest advances while also ensuring compatibility with existing infrastructure.

Adding further strength to its offer for smart-meter producers, ST already has a fully featured development ecosystem that enables a fast start for any project targeting the major protocol standards in use today. The ecosystem provides protocol stacks, reference designs, hardware for prototyping single-phase or three-phase meters, and tools such as metrology-management software and drivers to support software integration.

As a programmable and firmware-upgradeable SoC, STCOMET enables customers to use the same design in multiple product variants complying with the different PLC standards used in various markets and territories worldwide. Advanced integration combines a state-of-the-art ARM® Cortex®-M4 based application processing subsystem, high-accuracy complete metering front-end, on-chip program Flash and RAM, and a dedicated security engine with privacy and anti-hacking protection. The PLC module comprises a programmable DSP (Digital Signal Processing) modem, a complete receive-transmit front-end, and a power amplifier with a 28V peak-to-peak output. Extended bandwidth of up to 500kHz encompasses FCC and ARIB frequency ranges used in North America and Japan. In addition, support for remote configuration minimizes lifetime ownership costs for operators.

STCOMET is available now for selected customers, in a 20mm x 20mm 1mm-high TQFP176 package. Please contact your ST sales office for pricing options, sample requests, and support tools.

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