Semitech Semiconductor Announces Industry's First OFDMA Based Power Line Communications Chip Designed to Address Noise Prone Environments

SINGAPORE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- Aug 25, 2010 -- Semitech Semiconductor, a provider of power line communications solutions that enable the transformation of the electricity grid into a smart grid, today announced the availability of the SM2200 -- an OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) based power line transceiver. This next generation OFDMA power line communication transceiver is designed to operate in particularly noise prone smart grid environments, and is targeting networking applications. The SM2200 delivers the highest reliability power line communications, and is designed with an emphasis on Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Automated Meter Reading (AMR) applications where low cost and high performance features are required.

Due to harsh noise and variations in equipment and differing standards, communications over the power grid are difficult. The SM2200 uses modulation and signal processing technology that is adjustable in speed but also "frequency agile" to deliver highly robust and reliable communications. The SM2200 adapts to the noise environment to choose the most effective transmission frequency. It also employs a Multi Access scheme to provide additional robustness and enables communication with multiple nodes simultaneously -- thus providing the customer with better results in the form of the highest throughput and most reliable communication available.

"With governments around the world driving initiatives focused on the smart grid, combined with the need for over 100 million meters per year to be replaced over the next ten years, the introduction of the SM2200 could not have come at a better time," noted Mike Holt, vice president of marketing and sales for Semitech. "The SM2200 makes power line communications reliable and cost effective. Power line communication is favored by utilities because it is the most natural approach, and allows the utilities to move data over an infrastructure that they control. Until now, with the introduction of the SM2200, power line communication solutions have not tolerated the harsh and noisy environment we find on the power grid."

Applications for the SM2200 include advanced metering infrastructure and automated meter reading, street lighting control, smart energy home area networking, home automation, building automation, and other deployments requiring communications over an existing power line. The technology behind the SM2200 was tested and successfully deployed in over 1000 nodes in China.

The SM2200 contains a complete packet data modem with a simple physical layer protocol. When combined with a microcontroller (MCU), it provides a cost effective solution for data links and point-to-point, star or ad hoc networks.

The SM2200's unique capabilities include:

  • Programmable modulation to improve communications reliability: OFDMA transceiver with 54 carriers and up to 18 channels
  • High data transfer rates in noisy environments: User selectable between BPSK modulation for higher carrier voltages and higher noise immunity and QPSK modulation for higher data rate
  • Narrow band emulation and low frequency mode putting channels in CENELEC frequency range
  • Selectable frequency range for each carrier
  • Transmit power regulation
  • Error correction

The SM2200 is now sampling. For more information, visit www.semitechsemi.com.

About Semitech Semiconductor Pte. Ltd.

Semitech Semiconductor, headquartered in Singapore, provides the semiconductor devices that enable the transformation of the electricity grid into a smart grid. By connecting utilities to their customers, Semitech's chips help to transform homes into energy-aware "smart homes" that react to conditions on the grid, thus implementing a worldwide communications network based on the existing power grid.

Semitech's devices are used in smart meters, smart grid monitors and street light controllers to implement a connected system that is significantly more reliable and flexible than existing approaches -- and interoperates well with prior deployments.

For more information, please visit www.semitechsemi.com.

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