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First programmable solution for data communication over existing power lines

March 22, 2010 // Paul Buckley

First programmable solution for data communication over existing power lines

Cypress Semiconductor Corp., has introduced what the company claims is the world's first truly programmable solution for data communication over existing power lines.


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Applying the programmable analog and digital resources of Cypress's PSoC programmable system-on-a-chip varchitecture, the new Cypress Powerline Communication (PLC) solution integrates multiple functions beyond communication, such as power measurement, system management and LCD drive.
In addition to its flexibility and integration, the new solution offers industry-leading reliability with greater than 97 percent packet success rates without retries and 100 percent success rates with retries built into the solution's coding. The solution offers the flexibility to communicate over high-voltage and low-voltage power lines for lighting and industrial control, home automation, automatic meter reading and smart energy management applications.

Whereas existing solutions require external microcontrollers and filters, the Cypress PLC solution integrates a Frequency-Shift Key (FSK) PHY modem network protocol and application code with the programmable analog and digital blocks and microcontroller of the PSoC architecture.

This combination provides a single hardware platform for multiple applications, reducing BOM cost, board size and chip count while improving manufacturability. Cypress offers reference designs for both high-voltage (110V - 240V AC) and low-voltage (12V - 24V AC/DC) coupling circuits based on boards compliant with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) standards.

The precertified boards provide developers with a complete solution with fast time-to-market.

"Smart energy metering, renewable energy, intelligent LED lighting, and advanced industrial applications have the market for powerline communication poised for strong growth," said Linnea Brush, senior research analyst at Darnell Group. "The programmable Cypress PLC solution addresses smart communication, and smart grid connectivity, over existing power lines with no new wires."
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