Single chip combines LoRA wireless and powerline for smart grid and IoT monitoring

May 04, 2016 // By Nick Flaherty
Semtech has developed the first chip to combine the LoRa long range wireless protocol with a powerline communications controller for smart grid, smart metering and IoT applications.

The EV8600 dual modem combines a Power Line Communications (PLC) modem operating at 10-500 kHz and a Radio Frequency (RF) modem operating in the range of 142-1050 MHz for the LoRa long range wireless protocol that is being rolled out across cities to support applications in the Internet of things (IoT). It also provides a LoRa fallback mode in the event of a complete network outage caused by a natural disaster or other unforeseen events. The integration can help reduce network operational costs of Advance Metering Infrastructures (AMI) by up to 50 percent says Semtech and enables seamless LoRa gateway network deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) systems for smart city and industrial automation.

“The integration of Semtech LoRa technology in the EV8600 enables critical access for network operators and provides further reliability in network operations. It helps eliminate the ‘1 percent Problem’ in AMI networks, where the cost of reaching the 1 percent Hard-to-Reach Nodes can account for as much as 50 percent of the entire AMI network operational cost,” said Reza Mirkhani, Vice President of Smart Grid Products for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Product Group. “We already see AMI networks migrating to PLC+RF Dual PHY architectures to achieve as close to 100 percent coverage as possible. The addition of LoRa to EV8600 enables each end node to become a LoRa gateway, servicing LoRa-based devices and back hauling their data over the PLC network. Also, the LoRaWAN™ network protocol allows for seamless interoperability among smart things across the network.”