Hybrid gateway with backhaul for smart grid use cases

Technology News |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

MaxLinear and Microchip Technology have developed a Proof-of-Concept (POC) to enable electric utilities to provide real-time data on energy power consumption with Hybrid Gateways integrating Powerline (PLC) technology as broadband backhaul for a complete range of proven technologies.

This PoC has been jointly developed by HomeGrid Forum member MaxLinear, a leading provider of multi-gigabit connectivity, and Microchip Technology, a leading provider of smart, connected, and secure embedded control products. Both parties have compiled a highly integrated hybrid solution with several transceivers, able to support three major use cases of Smart Grid deployments:

  1. Backhaul PLC Broadband plus Fronthaul PRIME/G3 PLC-NarrowBand;
  2. Backhaul PLC Broadband plus Fronthaul PRIME/G3 Hybrid (PLC-NarrowBand and RF);
  3. Backhaul PLC Broadband plus Fronthaul Zigbee.

This initiative comes as part of the continuous drive by HomeGrid Forum ecosystem to develop game-changing infrastructure for the future of smart grids and smart cities.

HomeGrid Forum President Livia Rosu, expanded on the evidence, “since has been recognised by the smart grid industry as one of the most robust and future-proof technologies, our members have joined their research and development forces to launch innovative solutions designed to accelerate smart grid infrastructure deployments. The Hybrid Gateway PoC highlights the versatile networking capabilities of technology for supporting an extended coverage and capitalizing on previously installed smart meters nodes”.

Dr. Len Dauphinee, Vice President and CTO of Broadband Products at MaxLinear added, “the hybrid solution capitalizes on both wired and wireless technologies for offering leading-edge connectivity to electric utilities driving the energy transition coupled with the digitalization. This level of innovation comes to ensure the robustness and reliability of the Smart Grid. We support electric utilities capitalizing on their previous investment and technologies by providing the ultimate bridge to broadband backhaul.”

Rod Drake, Vice President of Microchip’s MCU32 business unit said, “The PoC platform provides multiple transceiver offerings including PRIME Narrowband, G3-PLC Narrowband, RF interface, Zigbee and PLC Broadband backhaul to ensure a fast, real-time communication between the smart meters and the central office of the electric utilities. The modular design of the Hybrid Gateway offers resourceful interfaces for all network segments as needed.”

The Hybrid Gateway is fully backwards compatible with, PRIME-only, G3-PLC-only, ZigBee-only, and RF-only devices of the electrical grid, offering extended network coverage for already deployed infrastructure that needs an accelerated network upgrade.


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