Maxim Integrated’s complete reference platform provides for a safer smart grid

Designers of smart meters can now reduce time to market, improve their device”s levels of accuracy and secure their designs with Capistrano, a new smart grid reference platform developed by Maxim Integrated Products. Powered by the company’s Zeus metering SoC, Capistrano protects designs with advanced cryptography, physical attack detection, and life-cycle security schemes.

“More than 100 million smart electricity meters are expected to be shipped in 2014,” said Jacob Rodrigues Pereira, IHS analyst for smart utilities infrastructure. “For designers, security, improving smart meter time to market, and adapting to changing policy requirements will all be critical.”

Protecting more than just the smart meter, the security technology is capable of securing any distributed node in the smart grid. In addition, the high integration in Capistrano makes it versatile – it simplifies smart grid designs by integrating four complex processors: an applications processor, metering microcontroller, metering front-end/DSP, and security coprocessor.

It also offers, according to the company, the best accuracy in the industry – 0.1% over a wide current range of 8000:1.

The combination of advanced measurement, powerful security tools, and efficient processing is intended to allow Capistrano to have the ability to support evolving application design requirements and it is suitable for a wide variety of applications, including smart meters, smart lighting, solar inverters, building automation, submetering, and other smart applications.

Among the device’s advantages are: high integration – it integrates an application processor, metering microcontroller, metering front-end/DSP, and a secure coprocessor; security – it integrates physical-attack detection, a secure bootloader, and advanced cryptography schemes including elliptic curve; supports secure in-field software upgrades; flexibility – users can easily connect Capistrano to PRIME, G3-PLC, GPRS, and other modems, and simplifies and speeds designs.


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