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Sample shipment of wireless communication LSI best suited for smart meters

2011 News Release

December 20, 2011

LAPIS Semiconductor starts sample shipment of wireless communication LSI best suited for smart meters

Highest performance of wireless communication in the industry contributes to stable, high-quality wireless communication network

LAPIS Semiconductor, a subsidiary of ROHM Group, has started sample shipment of wireless communication LSI "ML7396" for specified low power radio station. This LSI is designed for the 950MHz band standard (ARIB STD-T96 *1) of specified low power radio station, and 920MHz band which will be fully opened in July 2012. Thanks to LAPIS Semiconductor's RF-CMOS technology, which is a specialty of the company, the LSI realizes the best performance of receiver sensitivity and low power consumption in the industry. Sample shipment of this product has started already, and mass production is planned to start from April 2012, with one million unit per month basis.

In recent years, the realization of low carbon society has become a global challenge to reduce global warming, and the effort to use energy efficiently is growing in many countries. One of the key devices to this approach is a smart meter/smart tap with communication function. Considering the fact that there is a global wireless communication standard IEEE802.15.4g (*2) suitable for smart meters, and that the frequency band for smart meters (950MHz/920MHz) will be opened in Japan, the use of smart meters is expected to increase. Under this circumstance, communication functions required for remote meter-reading, remote control and energy management are fundamental. The communication LSI "ML7396" has been developed to be a key unit using LAPIS Semiconductor’s RF-CMOS single chip technology.

For a system like smart meter system which consists of products of different manufacturers, it is necessary to meet the standard to ensure connectivity between the products for stable system operation. ML7396 meets the Japanese wireless communication standard and also the physical layer standard of IEEE802.15.4d (*3) and IEEE802.15.4g, ensuring connectivity with products conforming to these standards.
Receiver sensitivity is '-105dBm (at 100kbps), the best in the industry, and it can even be improved by using the built-in error correction function FEC (*4). (Approx. 3dB increase for 800-byte packet error) As for transmission output, the LSI alone enables 20mW (13dBm) output for 920MHz band smart meters.
A 40-pin WQFN package (6mm × 6mm) has been adopted for this LSI.
LAPIS Semiconductor is committed continuously to increase the lineup of wireless communication LSIs for 400MHz or 900MHz band used by low power security radio station or specified low power radio station equipment, and also for 2.4GHz band widely used around the world.

Features

Industry's best receiver sensitivity
-105dBm typ. (with 100kbps set, BER0.1%)
Use of built-in FEC function can further improve the sensitivity.
Equipped with 2-diversity enables stable reception
The optimum antenna can be selected from two antennas for the best reception.
All of the control signals for this function are output from ML7396.
Equipped with IEEE 802.15.4g MAC assist functions are installed.
The AutoAck function for improving response time and the address filtering function for masking unwanted received data are provided to help reduce the load on upper MCU processing.
Wide range of frequency
This LSI can be used in 920MHz or 950MHz band area in Japan. Because the supporting frequency range of “ML7396” is 750MHz to 1,000MHz, it can be used in areas outside Japan.
[Reference]
China: 780MHz band (779-787MHz)
Europe: 863MHz band (863-870MHz)
United States: 915MHz band (901-928MHz)
Korea: 917MHz band (917-923.5MHz)
Very low power consumption
A system with the lowest power consumption in the industry can be achieved with a consumption current of 35mA for 20mW transmission output and 15mA for reception.

Field of application

  • Smart meters (for electric power, gas and water)
  • Wireless remote controls

Sales plan

  • Product name: ML7396
  • Packing condition: Tape and reel 2000 pcs
  • Sample shipment: Currently being supplied
  • Sample price: Yen 450 (tax not included)
  • Evaluation board (single unit): November 2011 (delivered around two months after an order)
  • Mass production plan: April 2012

Overview/features

  • Frequency: 920MHz band (750 to 1000MHz can be set)
  • Modulation scheme: 2-(G)FSK /MSK
  • Modulation speed: 50kbps, 100kbps, 200kbps and 400kbps
  • Code type: NRZ or Manchester code
  • Transmission output: 20mW / 10mW / 1mW
  • Control interface: SPI
  • Operating temperature: -40°C to +85°C
  • Power voltage: 1.8V to 3.6V
  • Consumption current (Typ.):
    • 20mW transmission output  35mA
    • 10mW transmission output  30mA (950MHz)
        25mA (920MHz)
    • 1mW transmission output  19mA
    • Reception  15mA
    • Sleep  0.9µA
    • (Consumption current of transmission output is measured at the antenna connector on the recommended circuit. The difference between consumption currents of 950MHz and 920MHz is caused by filter loss to meet each spurious standard.)
  • Package:
    • WQFN 40-pin (6mm × 6mm)
    • RoHS compliant, lead-free, halogen-free

Glossary

*1: ARIB STD-T96
A wireless communication standard for telemetry, telecontrol and data transmission equipment designed for specified low power radio station 950MHz band.
*2: IEEE802.15.4g
A wireless communication standard intended for smart metering utility network set up by the US standard developing organization IEEE.
*3: IEEE802.15.4d
A standard designed for 950MHz band in Japan which is expanded from IEEE 802.15.4 for Low-Rate Wireless Personal Network that features very low power consumption.
This standard is now merged into IEEE 802.15.4i.
*4: FEC (stands for Forward Error Correction)
A redundancy bit is added to the data to be transmitted in order to correct the data when an error is found.
Since 1/2 rate convolution is used, the data rate seen from application is reduced by half.

*The names of companies and products described in this article are the trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies and organizations.

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* Information in the press releases is current on the date of the press announcement, but is subject to change without prior notice.