Support All Narrowband Powerline Communications Utility Standards with One Modem

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Designers of electrical utility meters now have the flexibility to accommodate the G3-PLC™, Prime, and P1901.2 standards in the CENELEC A, ARIB, and FCC frequency bands with a single chip, the ZENO™/MAX79356 powerline communications (PLC) modem system on a chip (SoC) from Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. (NASDAQ: MXIM).

Maxim Integrated's ZENO(TM)/MAX79356 powerline communications (PLC) modem SoC supports all narrowband PLC utility standards.

Powerline communications standards and frequency bands vary by region and country, and until now PLC modems could not support them all. Meter manufacturers had to develop multiple modems to ensure standards compatibility, or even pass up markets because they did not have the time or resources to develop new modems. That dilemma is now solved. The ZENO/MAX79356 PLC modem SoC is software configurable to accommodate all worldwide standards. Now manufacturers and utilities can use the same device to build meters and data concentrators for any region that wants to use powerline communications. This allows meter designers to bring their products to market faster and be prepared for future standards. In addition, the integration of the analog front-end (AFE) and baseband in a single chip reduces chip count and lowers expenses.

Key Advantages

  • Versatile: software configurability supports today's PLC standards and will adjust for future standards; certified by the G3-PLC Alliance for all three major frequency bands (CENELEC A, ARIB, and FCC) and for PAN Device and PAN Coordinator
  • Low power: uses 80% less power when listening for PLC communications (55mW vs. 300mW); active transmission power consumption is 70mW
  • Space efficient: up to 3x smaller than other PLC modems


  • "Maxim is leveraging its G3-PLC leadership to become a reference for all standards around the world," said Kris Ardis, Executive Director, Energy Solutions at Maxim Integrated. "We listened to our customers and have solved their current and long-term PLC concerns with ZENO."
  • "While we expect narrowband PLC to stand out as a fast-growing communications technology over the next few years, we don't see consolidation of the standards and frequency bands requested by utilities," said Jacob Rodrigues Pereira, Senior Analyst, Smart Utility Infrastructure at IHS. "Solutions like the MAX79356 will make it easier for meter manufacturers to support multiple markets without increasing their development costs."


  • The MAX79356 is available now at Maxim's website and select franchised distributors.

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About Maxim Integrated

Maxim is the leader in analog integration. From mobile to industrial solutions, we're making analog smaller, smarter, and more energy efficient. Learn more at


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