Landis+Gyr has been leading the way in energy management for more than a century and is bringing its expertise to advanced smart metering applications where connectivity is helping utility companies around the world provide responsible, reliable, and innovative energy management services to consumers.
Although Landis+Gyr utilize various communications technologies around the world, including powerline communications and cellular, RF mesh has been the primary focus in the Americas and Asia-Pacific markets.
After years of using proprietary mesh protocol stacks, Landis+Gyr developed a Wi-SUN standards-based stack. This move from a proprietary to a standards-based approach increased interoperability and simplified development, which has emerged over the last few years as an important feature for utility companies.
Founded in 2011, the Wi-SUN Alliance set out to address the specific needs of the utility industry for wireless sub-GHz communication by creating an open standard to help scale devices in smart city deployments.
To develop a smart city networking solution that keeps pace with the latest features of the Wi-SUN specification to deliver high-throughput, reliable, and secure products to consumers.
Silicon Labs’ FG25, the first integrated sub-GHz SoC that supports multi-rate OFDM,
modulations for high performance, and security.
By integrating an MCU and a transceiver, Landis+Gyr has a single-chip design to leverage Wi-SUN features while being backward-compatible for proprietary customers.
Wi-SUN and the Growth of Smart City Deployments,
Including Smart Metering
The Alliance recognized that as cities or municipalities adopt more and more wireless technologies and add those to their mesh networks, interoperability with other manufacturers, devices, or protocols was becoming a challenge as the multitude of different standards being used was a barrier to achieving the full potential of smart cities. Over the last 5 years, membership and adoption has grown rapidly in conjunction with the increasing demand for the integration of new smart grid devices. In this way, Wi-SUN has been one of the chief drivers of smart metering and other smart city deployments. As interoperability became more and more important to its utility customers, Landis+Gyr responded by developing a Wi-SUN stack that would allow the company to provide the interoperability its customers wanted without stranding existing customers that may still be years away from an infrastructure update.
Silicon Labs’ FG25 Sub-GHz SoC Brings Size, Performance, and New Features
When Landis+Gyr originally integrated Silicon Labs’ EFR32FG12 sub-GHz SoC into its solution, they were able to build a communication module that could be reused across its portfolio instead of custom designing radios for every meter that the company ships. This device was ideally suited for smart metering applications because of its 256 kB of RAM. The FG12 also dramatically reduced the power consumption of existing designs, which is important even for mains-powered devices because Landis+Gyr customers need to communicate the outage when power goes out. When this happens, the backup systems – usually batteries or supercapacitors– can only provide limited power needed to reliably provide the outage notification.
But for Wi-SUN, more RAM was needed as well as OFDM modulation, a method for encoding data on multiple carrier frequencies. This is where Silicon Labs’ new EFR32FG25 sub-GHz SoC comes in. The FG25 is Silicon Labs’ first sub-GHz OFDM platform, and has been designed to enable long range, high throughput, and low latency in sub-GHz Wi-SUN applications.
In addition to increasing the performance of the Landis+Gyr solution, the FG25 makes it possible to use the same form factor as its previous module so they can easily make existing products Wi-SUN or OFDM capable if necessary. By integrating an MCU and a transceiver, the FG25 makes it possible to bring OFDM functionality to a single-chip platform while also being able to keep pace as Wi-SUN transitions from FAN 1.0 to 1.1. Landis+Gyr can also run its proprietary stack on the FG25, making it possible to transition existing customers that are using proprietary-based communication standards onto Wi-SUN if and when they’re ready.