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Hybrid Chip for Home Networks Goes Both Ways-Wireless or Powerline
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August 08, 2012

Hybrid Chip for Home Networks Goes Both Ways-Wireless or Powerline

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

Milpitas, California-based Greenvity Communications has introduced a family of single-chip home area network (HAN) solutions that combine powerline and wireless communications to facilitate smart energy management and electric vehicle applications.

The new single-chip family automatically chooses the best medium to transmit energy-related data—wirelessly or via existing power lines—and extends the range to cover an entire home or building. If wireless nodes are noisy due to interference, then powerlines will be enabled and vice versa, ensuring reliable communications.

The Greenvity Hybrii chip family supports two worldwide standards simultaneously:

HomePlug (News - Alert) Green PHY PLC, which uses home electric wiring to manage building energy, smart appliances, Internet, video and digital music

 ZigBee worldwide standards, communications protocols that often are used in mesh network form to transmit data over longer distances  

The first Hybrii family members include the Hybrii-XL chip for smart grid, smart energy management, industrial and consumer applications; and the Hybrii-PLC device for rugged, high temperature conditions.  These new solutions enable customers to reduce costs and power consumption by using one chip and one board, rather than the traditional approach requiring multiple chips and boards to support both standards.

According to the company, when the Hybrii chip is deployed in an energy-efficient appliance, consumers are “assured reliable, robust communication as well as ease of use. They don’t have to worry about which standard an appliance supports and can place the appliance anywhere in their house without worrying about wireless reception issues or multiphase issues related to power lines.”

“The Hybrii family of single-chip energy management solutions will help enable consumers and utilities to take advantage of the energy and cost savings promised by the smart grid and smart energy systems,” said Hung Nguyen, president and CEO of Greenvity Communications. “With our best-in-class hybrid chip offerings that support both HomePlug Green PHY and ZigBee standards, Greenvity aims to speed the adoption of smart energy products, as well as the growth of the electric vehicle market.”

Hybrii-XL for industrial and consumer applications

The Hybrii-XL (GV7011) is a highly integrated single chip with HomePlug Green PHY PLC and ZigBee wireless functions integrated for low cost and lower power consumption. Both HomePlug Green PHY PLC and ZigBee can operate simultaneously, providing high reliability and robust connectivity. The GV7011 is a highly compact chip that integrates analog front-end, RF, baseband, MAC and embedded memory. It also includes a microcontroller (MCU) for low power energy management. The GV7011 offers high performance with data rate up to 9.8 Mbps in PLC mode and 250 Kbps in wireless mode. With versatility and plug-and-play purposes, the Hybrii-XL is powered with multiple interfaces of SPI, Ethernet 10/100 MAC and MII interfaces.

The Hybrii-XL chip provides backbone, two-way communication in home energy management/building energy management applications such as smart meters, energy-efficient appliances, home gateways, routers, HVAC and thermostats, enabling demand response and load balancing that can reduce energy usage by more than 50 percent.

For multi-dwelling units (MDUs), such as condos and apartment buildings, existing power lines can transfer data and cover a longer distance than wireless alone, while ZigBee will cover each room wirelessly. Additional applications include solar inverters, and smart and controlled lighting.

Hybrii-PLC for electric vehicles

The Hybrii-PLC chip (GV7012) was designed to support electric vehicle and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), or battery chargers. The single-chip solution with HomePlug Green PHY PLC integrates analog front-end, baseband, MAC, embedded memory and a microcontroller unit. It can support up to 9.8 Mbps of data rate over power line. The GV7012 chip also is equipped with SPI, Ethernet 10/100 MAC and MII interfaces. Designed to meet rugged conditions and automotive grade temperatures (-40 degrees C to +105 degrees C), the Hybrii-PLC is ideal for demanding environments— such as inside a car, where high-temperature capability is a requirement.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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