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Friday, June 24, 2016

Chinese chip maker looks to the global powerline market for IoT

By Nick Flaherty

An interesting story at EETimes Europe is demonstrating the global forces at work to provide the technologies for the Internet of Things. 

US power line communications (PLC) chip designer Semitech Semiconductor has teamed up with a Brite Semiconductor in Shanghai on a new generation of PLC chips that can handle both PLC and wireless communications around the world.
Brite has developed a communication core architecture SoC based around the Tensilica core from Cadence Design Systems and integrates DSP, memory, PLC AFE, RF transceiver and high-speed interface IPs with DDR and USB. This provides a dual-mode PLC/wireless communication system for machine to machine links over the power grid

The chip will be manufactured using an advanced process with SMIC, which helped set up Brite, and will contain Semitech's integrated PLC/wireless IP. This provides the dual-mode communication core (DMCC) including architecture, digital modules and algorithms that can simultaneously support reliable wireless and PLC connectivity for the M2M and Internet of Things (IoT) market. This IP is already used in machine-to-machine communication and IoT applications such as smart meters, street lighting, solar panels and remotely monitored and controlled industrial equipment, providing a core technology to implement a worldwide communications network over the existing power grid.

"This collaboration represents an important milestone for Brite, as designing an industrial SoC product for the emerging M2M market has been a goal of ours," said Jerry Ardizzone, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for Brite Semiconductor. "The primary application for the Brite and Semitech collaboration will be smart meters, and we will develop additional solutions for broader industrial applications including smart home, smart grid and automotive."

"The next evolutionary step for smart grid applications is to move toward heterogeneous PLC/wireless networks, while accommodating aggressive cost and power budgets," noted Zeev Collin, CEO of Semitech Semiconductor. "Our existing PLC architecture and the extensive experience of our team in narrowband communication across different media make it possible to take this step. Partnering with Brite puts us at the leading edge of the M2M market and will ensure that we yield a superior product."

Brite Semiconductor was co-founded by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) and Open-Silicon, as well as venture capitalist firms from China and Silicon Valley. As a strategic partners, SMIC provides Brite Semiconductor with 28nm process technology with high-end SoC design services,,

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