Press releases

Smart Grid / 30.09.2016

Retrofitted for the power grid: integrating devices with serial ports into the smart grid.


devolo AG is expanding the functionality of their G3-PLC Modem to include data communication in low-voltage networks. For the first time ever, devices with a serial port can be integrated into the smart grid. Meters and other devices with one of these serial data interfaces can now be connected to the G3-PLC Modem 500k. This converts the data to TCP/IP, creating new opportunities for old devices in the smart grid. At European Utility Week this year, devolo is presenting its G3-PLC Modem 500k in a new green-coloured housing. This convention takes place from 15-17 September 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.

In the smart grid by serial port

Since its release on the commercial market at the beginning of last year, the devolo G3-PLC Modem 500k has been used in a wide range of different scenarios. The smart metering test in five network clusters in Hamburg and Berlin proved to be the most impressive application. The grid status recording, in which the measurement data are transmitted using G3-PLC, received the prestigious GreenTec Award in May 2016. An innovative municipal utility is using the devolo G3-PLC Modems to transmit error messages from heat pumps, demonstrating that Powerline communication is also useful in application areas other than just smart metering. A feature these applications have in common is that the devices connected to the G3-PLC Modem have an Ethernet port.
Now the functionality of the devolo product is being expanded significantly. The serial port on the devolo G3-PLC Modem 500k makes it possible to connect devices that only have a serial port for data communication. The G3-PLC Modem converts the serial data stream into TCP/IP packets. These IP data are then sent over low-voltage power lines from the G3-PLC Modem to what is known as a PAN co-ordinator (Fig.1). This PAN co-ordinator is usually located at a local substation. Using the Ethernet port on the PAN co-ordinator (G3-PLC Modem 500k), the data are then transmitted to an Internet router.
Of course, this communication can also go in the other direction. The utility company can control the connected devices in the building over the G3-PLC network. The G3-PLC Modem 500k converts the IP data so that they can be output to the receiver device over the serial port. Utilising this capability enables the smart integration of housing technology devices such as heating and ventilation systems, heat pumps or combined heat and power (CHP) systems.

New possibilities for old devices

This is opening up possibilities for the power industry. Instead expensive investments in new equipment, devolo offers a solution that makes old devices fit for the future.
There is a large number of installed load profile meters permitted to operate without a smart meter gateway (SMGW) as part of the transition period to intelligent measurement systems (iMsys) and are not to be replaced until the period has ended. While the majority of load profile meters communicated over analogue landline connections in the past, the scheduled phase-out of those connections has resulted in need for new means of communication. Powerline communication is the ideal choice for providing this communication (Fig. 2).
Submetering is another application area. A set of large building complexes might contain a large number of meters for entire floors or individual flats for different sections which are able to connect to a network via serial RS485 bus. One G3-PLC Modem 500k collects all the meter data from each floor and sends them over the building‘s power lines to a router in the basement (Fig. 3). Using this method, the utility meters are able to collect and process all relevant meter data from large apartment buildings or office complexes quickly and cost-effectively with minimal effort. In addition, this approach makes it possible to offer customers a monthly, usage-based expense report.
Retrofitting is an important topic in network monitoring and network management as well. Many installed measuring instruments and switching devices can be used only over a serial port (Fig. 4). Now the devolo G3-PLC Modem 500k makes it possible to communicate with the devices over the Internet.

Product presentation at European Utility Week

Find out more about the new devolo G3-PLC Modem 500k and other products from devolo during 15-17 November 2016 at European Utility Week in Barcelona, Spain. For appointment requests please contact the sales team led by Walter Krott at