industry news
Subscribe Now

Turnkey Power-Line Communication Chipset from STMicroelectronics Paves Way for New Smart-Energy Infrastructure Rollouts

Modular, programmable solution simplifies design and deployment of new smart meters, smart-grid hardware, smart streetlamps, and home and industrial controllers

Geneva, Switzerland, September 28, 2017 – STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, is powering the global shift to smarter energy consumption and management with its new modular Power-Line Communication (PLC) modem chipset. The chipset will provide more flexibility to manufacturers of utility meters, smart-grid nodes, streetlamps, and home and industrial controllers. Three leading global smart-meter manufacturers are already designing solutions based on this new platform.

A turnkey solution, the chipset consolidates protocol handling to package and adapt data so it can be transmitted and line driving for sending over mains wires. It enables customers to implement powerline communications cost-effectively, either as part of new designs or as the core of an add-on module on older devices. The solution is also a perfect fit for markets with specific regulatory requirements. In these scenarios, the ST PLC-modem chipset acts as an external communication module that interfaces with either the existing or a new metering or controlling device. In addition, flexible programmability allows multiple product variants to share a common hardware foundation, and permits software updating in the field to further lower cost of ownership.

“ST has been serving the leading smart-meter manufacturers since the roll-out of the first generation of digital meters, with more than 60 million chipsets deployed in homes and buildings across Europe, China, and the Americas,” said Domenico Arrigo, General Manager Industrial and Power Conversion Division, STMicroelectronics. “Building on the lessons from this first phase, next-generation metering and other IoT programs across the world have new design requirements, to which our new chipset is the best answer: a flexible and cost-effective PLC connectivity solution with full programmability to enable simpler global deployment in support of the different PLC standards.”

Market research firm IHS Markit[1] says the industry is shipping more than 100 million smart meters a year, and expects a market growth of more than 8% through 2021.


Technical notes

The two-chip set comprises the ST8500 programmable PLC engine and STLD1 line-driver.

The ST8500 is a System-on-Chip (SoC) IC containing a high-performance quad-core DSP for real-time protocol processing, and an ARM® Cortex®-M4F core for upper-layer processing and system management. Each has its own code and data SRAM on-chip, and a dedicated set of peripherals focused on smart-energy applications is provided, including an AES cryptographic engine. The Analog Front End (AFE) for connecting to the STLD1 line driver is also integrated.

The ST8500 consumes less than 100mW in receive mode, ensuring ultra-low-power performance in line with the latest specifications to minimize the grid load imposed by new smart meters. The STLD1 line driver communicates reliably, even across noisy cables and with low impedance, with high-drive capability and high linearity over a wide output range of 18V in single-ended or 36V in differential mode.

The chipset is supplied with certified G3-PLC and PRIME power-line protocol stacks and complies with CENELEC, FCC, and ARIB frequency-band regulations.

The chipset is in production and available now. The ST8500 SoC is packaged as a 7mm x 7mm x 1mm QFN56, and the STLD1 is a 4mm x 4mm x 1mm QFN24. Please contact your ST sales office for pricing options and sample requests.

For further information please visit

About STMicroelectronics

ST is a global semiconductor leader delivering intelligent and energy-efficient products and solutions that power the electronics at the heart of everyday life. ST’s products are found everywhere today, and together with our customers, we are enabling smarter driving and smarter factories, cities and homes, along with the next generation of mobile and Internet of Things devices.

By getting more from technology to get more from life, ST stands for life.augmented.

In 2016, the Company’s net revenues were $6.97 billion, serving more than 100,000 customers worldwide. Further information can be found at

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Mar 16, 2018
MICRO RUGGED CONNECTORS Most designers think the smaller the connector, the more fragile and delicate it is.  We don'€™t usually think of micro pitch connectors as being rugged, as being able to handle high mating cycles, or as having robust mechanical strength on the PCB,...
Mar 16, 2018
If you want to know why I made the trek from California to Shanghai to attend SEMICON China, it is well summed up in the press release that SEMI put out on opening day: SEMICON China 2018 opens today at SNIEC in Shanghai with a record 70,000 visitors expected with 3,600 booth...
Mar 16, 2018
Executive Insight: Wally Rhines Using thermofluid simulation to optimize liquid cooling of avionics power systems Mentor framework pulls devices into the cloud A Simple Way To Improve Automotive In-System Test The IIoT is Fragmented'€”How Will We Fix It? Executive Insigh...
Mar 5, 2018
Next-generation networking solutions are pushing processing out of the cloud and towards the network'€™s edge. At the same time, processing structures architected around programmable logic provide the ability to make computing much more data-centric. Programmable logic make...