Power line communication

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Power line communication or power line carrier (PLC), also known as Power line Digital Subscriber Line (PDSL), mains communication, power line telecom (PLT), or power line networking (PLN), is a system for carrying data on a conductor also used for electric power transmission. Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) uses PLC by sending and receiving information bearing signals over power lines to provide access to the Internet.

Electrical power is transmitted over high voltage transmission lines, distributed over medium voltage, and used inside buildings at lower voltages. Powerline communications can be applied at each stage. Most PLC technologies limit themselves to one set of wires (for example, premises wiring), but some can cross between two levels (for example, both the distribution network and premises wiring).

All power line communications systems operate by impressing a modulated carrier signal on the wiring system. Different types of powerline communications use different frequency bands, depending on the signal transmission characteristics of the power wiring used. Since the power wiring system was originally intended for transmission of AC power, the power wire circuits have only a limited ability to carry higher frequencies. The propagation problem is a limiting factor for each type of power line communications.

Data rates over a power line communication system vary widely. Low-frequency (about 100-200 kHz) carriers impressed on high-voltage transmission lines may carry one or two analog voice circuits, or telemetry and control circuits with an equivalent data rate of a few hundred bits per second; however, these circuits may be many miles (kilometres) long. Higher data rates generally imply shorter ranges; a local area network operating at millions of bits per second may only cover one floor of an office building, but eliminates installation of dedicated network cabling.


[edit] High-frequency communication (≥MHz)

High frequency communication may (re)use large portions of the radio spectrum for communication, or may use select (narrow) band(s), depending on the technology.

[edit] Home networking (broadband)

Power line communications can also be used to interconnect home computers, peripherals or other networked consumer peripherals. Proprietary specifications for power line home networking have been developed by a number of different companies within the framework of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, the Universal Powerline Association and the HD-PLC Alliance.

On December 12 2008, the ITU-T adopted Recommendation G.hn/G.9960 as the first worldwide standard for high-speed powerline communications[1]. G.hn also specifies communications over phonelines and coaxial wiring.

A few days later, on December 19 2008, IEEE P1901 confirmed[2] the baseline text for another standard for high-speed powerline communications, which includes both in-home and access applications. Although IEEE P1901 specifies multiple non-interoperable PHY and MAC options[3], it provides mechanisms for coexistence between them[4].

[edit] Internet access (broadband over powerlines)

Broadband over power lines (BPL), also known as power-line Internet or powerband, is the use of PLC technology to provide broadband Internet access through ordinary power lines. A computer (or any other device) would need only to plug a BPL "modem" into any outlet in an equipped building to have high-speed Internet access. International Broadband Electric Communications or IBEC and other companies currently offer BPL service to several electric cooperatives.

BPL may offer benefits over regular cable or DSL connections: the extensive infrastructure already available appears to allow people in remote locations to access the Internet with relatively little equipment investment by the utility. Also, such ubiquitous availability would make it much easier for other electronics, such as televisions or sound systems, to hook up.

But variations in the physical characteristics of the electricity network and the current lack of IEEE standards mean that provisioning of the service is far from being a standard, repeatable process. And, the amount of bandwidth a BPL system can provide compared to cable and wireless is in question. The prospect of BPL could motivate DSL and cable operators to more quickly serve rural communities. [5]

PLC modems transmit in medium and high frequency (1.6 to 80 MHz electric carrier). The asymmetric speed in the modem is generally from 256 kbit/s to 2.7 Mbit/s. In the repeater situated in the meter room the speed is up to 45 Mbit/s and can be connected to 256 PLC modems. In the medium voltage stations, the speed from the head ends to the Internet is up to 135 Mbit/s. To connect to the Internet, utilities can use optical fiber backbone or wireless link.

The system has a number of issues. The primary one is that power lines are inherently a very noisy environment. Every time a device turns on or off, it introduces a pop or click into the line. Energy-saving devices often introduce noisy harmonics into the line. The system must be designed to deal with these natural signaling disruptions and work around them.

Broadband over power lines has developed faster in Europe than in the United States due to a historical difference in power system design philosophies. Power distribution uses step-down transformers to reduce the voltage for use by customers. But BPL signals cannot readily pass through transformers, as their high inductance makes them act as low-pass filters, blocking high-frequency signals. So, repeaters must be attached to the transformers. In the U.S., it is common for a small transformer hung from a utility pole to service a single house or a small number of houses. In Europe, it is more common for a somewhat larger transformer to service 10 or 100 houses. For delivering power to customers, this difference in design makes little difference for power distribution. But for delivering BPL over the power grid in a typical U.S. city requires an order of magnitude more repeaters than in a comparable European city. On the other hand, since bandwidth to the transformer is limited, this can increase the speed at which each household can connect, due to fewer people sharing the same line. One possible solution is to use BPL as the backhaul for wireless communications, for instance by hanging Wi-Fi access points or cellphone base stations on utility poles, thus allowing end-users within a certain range to connect with equipment they already have. In the near future, BPL may also be used as a backhaul for WiMAX networks.

The second major issue is signal strength and operating frequency. The system is expected to use frequencies of 10 to 30 MHz, which has been used for many decades by amateur radio operators, as well as international shortwave broadcasters and a variety of communications systems (military, aeronautical, etc.). Power lines are unshielded and will act as antennas for the signals they carry, and have the potential to interfere with shortwave radio communications. Modern BPL systems use OFDM modulation, which allows to mitigate interference with radio services by removing specific frequencies used. A 2001 joint study by the ARRL and HomePlug Powerline Alliance showed that for modems using this technique "in general that with moderate separation of the antenna from the structure containing the HomePlug signal that interference was barely perceptible at the notched frequencies" and interference only happened when the "antenna was physically close to the power lines" (however other frequencies still suffer from interference).

Much faster transmissions using microwave frequencies transmitted via a surface wave propagation mechanism called E-Line have been demonstrated using only a single power line conductor.[citation needed] These systems have shown the potential for symmetric and full duplex communication well in excess of 1 Gbit/s in each direction. Multiple WiFi channels with simultaneous analog television in the 2.4 and 5.3 GHz unlicensed bands have been demonstrated operating over a single medium voltage line. And, because it can operate anywhere in the 100 MHz - 10 GHz region, this technology can completely avoid the interference issues associated with use of shared spectrum while offering flexibility for modulation and protocols of a microwave system.[citation needed]

[edit] Medium frequency (kHz)

[edit] Home control (narrowband)

Power line communications technology can use the household electrical power wiring as a transmission medium. INSTEON and X10 are the two most popular[unreliable source?], de facto standards using power line communications for home control. This is a technique used in home automation for remote control of lighting and appliances without installation of additional control wiring.

Typically home-control power line communication devices operate by modulating in a carrier wave of between 20 and 200 kHz into the household wiring at the transmitter. The carrier is modulated by digital signals. Each receiver in the system has an address and can be individually commanded by the signals transmitted over the household wiring and decoded at the receiver. These devices may be either plugged into regular power outlets, or permanently wired in place. Since the carrier signal may propagate to nearby homes (or apartments) on the same distribution system, these control schemes have a "house address" that designates the owner.

Since 1999, a new power-line communication technology "universal powerline bus" has been developed, using pulse-position modulation (PPM). The physical layer method is a very different scheme than the modulated/demodulated RF techniques used by X-10. The promoters claim advantages in cost per node, and reliability.

[edit] Low-speed narrow-band communication

Narrowband power line communications began soon after electrical power supply became widespread. Around the year 1922 the first carrier frequency systems began to operate over high-tension lines with frequencies of 15 to 500 kHz for telemetry purposes, and this continues.[6] Consumer products such as baby alarms have been available at least since 1940.[7]

In the 1930s, ripple carrier signalling was introduced on the medium (10-20 kV) and low voltage (240/415V) distribution systems. For many years the search continued for a cheap bi-directional technology suitable for applications such as remote meter reading. For example, the Tokyo Electric Power Co ran experiments in the 1970s which reported successful bi-directional operation with several hundred units.[8] Since the mid-1980s, there has been a surge of interest in using the potential of digital communications techniques and digital signal processing. The drive is to produce a reliable system which is cheap enough to be widely installed and able to compete cost effectively with wireless solutions. But the narrowband powerline communications channel presents many technical challenges. A mathematical channel model and a survey of work can be found in reference no. 5[9].

Applications of mains communications vary enormously, as would be expected of such a widely available medium. One natural application of narrow band power line communication is the control and telemetry of electrical equipment such as meters, switches, heaters and domestic appliances. A number of active developments are considering such applications from a systems point of view, such as 'Demand Side Management'.[10] In this, domestic appliances would intelligently co-ordinate their use of resources, for example limiting peak loads.

Control and telemetry applications include both 'utility side' applications, which involves equipment belonging to the utility company (i.e. between the supply transformer substation up to the domestic meter), and 'consumer-side' applications which involves equipment in the consumer's premises. Possible utility-side applications include automatic meter reading(AMR), dynamic tariff control, load management, load profile recording, credit control, pre-payment, remote connection, fraud detection and network management, [11] and could be extended to include gas and water.

A project of EDF, France includes demand side management, street lighting control, remote metering and billing, customer specific tariff optimisation, contract management, expense estimation and gas applications safety [12].

There are also many specialised niche applications which use the mains supply within the home as a convenient data link for telemetry. For example, in the UK and Europe a TV audience monitoring system uses powerline communications as a convenient data path between devices that monitor TV viewing activity in different rooms in a home and a data concentrator which is connected to a telephone modem.

The most robust low-speed powerline technology uses DCSK technology available from Yitran Communications[dubious ]. Renesas Technology licenses this know-how from Yitran and incorporates it in the single chip MCU + PLC family of devices known as M16C/6S. Renesas also licenses a state of the art network layer for AMR/AMM applications which can run on these devices.

[edit] High-speed narrow-band powerline communication — distribution line carrier

DLC uses existing electrical distribution network in the medium voltage (MV) — i.e., 11 kV, Low Voltage (LV) as well as building voltages. It is very similar to the powerline carrier. DLC uses narrowband powerline communication frequency range of 9 to 500 kHz with data rate up to 576 kbit/s. DLC is suitable (even in very large networks) for multiple realtime energy management applications. It can be implemented under REMPLI System as well as SCADA, AMR and Power Quality Monitoring System. DLC complies with the following standards: EN 50065 (CENELEC), IEC 61000-3 and FCC Part 15 Subpart B.

There are no interference issues with radio users or electromagnetic radiation. With external inductive or capacitive coupling, a distance more than 15 km can be achieved over a medium voltage network. On low voltage networks, a direct connection can be made since the DLC has a built-in capacitive coupler. This allows end-end communications from substation to the customer premises without repeaters.

The latest DLC systems significantly improve upon and differ from other powerline communication segments. DLC is mainly useful for last-mile and backhaul instrastucture that can be integrated with corporate wide area networks (WANs) via TCP/IP, serial communication or leased-line modem to cater for multi-services realtime energy management systems.

[edit] Transmitting radio programs

Sometimes PLC was used for transmitting radio programs over powerlines. When operated in the AM radio band, it is known as a carrier current system. Such devices were in use in Germany, where it was called Drahtfunk, and in Switzerland, where it was called Telefonrundspruch, and used telephone lines. In the USSR PLC was very common for broadcasting since the 1930s because of its low cost and accessibility. In Norway the radiation of PLC systems from powerlines was sometimes used for radio supply. These facilities were called Linjesender. In all cases the radio programme was fed by special transformers into the lines. To prevent uncontrolled propagation, filters for the carrier frequencies of the PLC systems were installed in substations and at line branches.

An example of the programs carried by "wire broadcasting" in Switzerland:

  • 175 kHz Swiss Radio International
  • 208 kHz RSR1 "la première" (French)
  • 241 kHz "classical music"
  • 274 kHz RSI1 "rete UNO" (Italian)
  • 307 kHz DRS1 (German)
  • 340 kHz "easy music"

[edit] Utility applications

Utility companies use special coupling capacitors to connect medium-frequency radio transmitters to the power-frequency AC conductors. Frequencies used are in the range of 24 to 500 kHz, with transmitter power levels up to hundreds of watts. These signals may be impressed on one conductor, on two conductors or on all three conductors of a high-voltage AC transmission line. Several PLC channels may be coupled onto one HV line. Filtering devices are applied at substations to prevent the carrier frequency current from being bypassed through the station apparatus and to ensure that distant faults do not affect the isolated segments of the PLC system. These circuits are used for control of switchgear, and for protection of transmission lines. For example, a protection relay can use a PLC channel to trip a line if a fault is detected between its two terminals, but to leave the line in operation if the fault is elsewhere on the system.

While utility companies use microwave and now, increasingly, fiber optic cables for their primary system communication needs, the power-line carrier apparatus may still be useful as a backup channel or for very simple low-cost installations that do not warrant installing fiber optic lines.

[edit] Low frequency (<kHz)

[edit] Utility

Power line carrier systems have long been a favorite at many utilities because it allows them to reliably move data over an infrastructure that they control. Many technologies are capable of performing multiple applications. For example, a communication system bought initially for automatic meter reading can sometimes also be used for load control or for demand response applications.

PLC is one of the technologies used in the automatic meter reading industry. Both one-way and two-way systems have been successfully used for decades. Interest in this application has grown substantially in recent history -- not so much because there is an interest in automating a manual process, but because there is an interest in obtaining fresh data from all metered points in order to better control and operate the system. PLC is one of the technologies being used in Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) systems.

In a one-way (inbound only) system, readings "bubble up" from end devices (i.e. meters), through the communication infrastructure, to a "master station" which publishes the readings. A one-way system might be lower-cost than a two-way system, but also is difficult to reconfigure should the operating environment change.

In a two-way system (supporting both outbound and inbound), commands can be broadcast out from the master station to end devices (meters) -- allowing for reconfiguration of the network, or to obtain readings, or to convey messages, etc. The device at the end of the network may then respond (inbound) with a message that carries the desired value. Outbound messages injected at a utility substation will propagate to all points downstream. This type of broadcast allows the communication system to simultaneously reach many thousands of devices -- all of which are known to have power, and have been previously identified as candidates for load shed. PLC also may be a component of a smart power grid.

[edit] Broadband over power line (BPL)

[edit] US FCC

On 14 October 2004, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to facilitate the deployment of "Access BPL" -- i.e., use of BPL to deliver broadband service to homes and businesses. The technical rules are more liberal than those advanced by ARRL and other spectrum users, but include provisions that require BPL providers to investigate and correct any interference they cause. These rules may be subject to future litigation.

On 8 August 2006 FCC adopted a memorandum opinion and an order on broadband over power lines, giving the go-ahead to promote broadband service to all Americans.[13][14] The order rejects calls from aviation, business, commercial, amateur radio and other sectors of spectrum users to limit or prohibit deployment until further study is completed. FCC chief Kevin Martin said that BPL "holds great promise as a ubiquitous broadband solution that would offer a viable alternative to cable, digital subscriber line, fiber, and wireless broadband solutions", and that BPL was one of the agency's "top priorities".[15]

New FCC rules require BPL systems to be capable of remotely notching out frequencies on which interference occurs, and of shutting down remotely if necessary to resolve the interference. BPL systems operating within FCC Part 15 emissions limits may still interfere with wireless radio communications and are required to resolve interference problems. A few early trials have been shut down [3][4], though whether it was in response to complaints is debatable.

The ARRL sued the FCC, claiming that the FCC violated the Administrative Procedure Act in creating its rules. On 25 April 2008, a US Court of Appeals agreed with the ARRL that the FCC violated the APA, especially by redacting data from the public that could have shed doubt on the FCC's decision.

"It is one thing for the Commission to give notice and make available for comment the studies on which it relied in formulating the rule while explaining its non-reliance on certain parts", D.C. Circuit Judge Judith Rogers wrote. "It is quite another thing to provide notice and an opportunity for comment on only those parts of the studies that the Commission likes best."[16]

[edit] Deployment

The following deployments are thought to be active as of December, 2007:

  • North America:
    • United States: The United Telecom Council publishes the FCC-mandated BPL Interference Resolution website, which provides a list of all BPL deployments in the US.
      • BPL vendors such as Ambient Corporation, Amperion Inc., Current Technologies LLC, Corinex Communications, IBEC Inc., and InovaTech have deployed BPL systems in limited areas. Duke Energy has entered into an $11 million contract to deploy Ambient Corporation's BPL over its systems, as of 1 April 2008. [5]
      • California: A plan was approved on 27 April 2006 allowing high-speed internet providers to begin testing delivery of online access using power lines in the state.[17]
      • Virginia: In October 2005, the city of Manassas began the first wide-scale deployment of BPL service in the nation, offering 10 Mbits/s service for under $30 USD per month to its 35,000 city residents, using MainNet BPL technology. On 16 June 2006, the FCC directed the Manassas BPL System to resolve the ARRL's interference complaints. The FCC minced no words in detailing what it wants the city and BPL operator COMTek to do to ensure its system complies with Part 15 rules governing BPL systems, and even hinted that it may shut down all or part of the system. [6]
    • Canada:
      • Quebec: As of 2005, PLC communication technology developed by Ariane Controls is being installed inside and outside existing buildings to control lights and other energy-hungry devices. The cheap devices allow energy consumption to be better managed, and so save much energy and bring a clear return on investment.
    • Sweden: Vattenfall is using PLC technology at 1200 baud for automatic meter reading based on an Iskraemeco product. [7]
    • Russian Federation: Electro-com has deployed widely BPL/PLC technology and offers internet access service in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Ryazan, Kaluga and Rostov-on-Don[8], planning to extend coverage to main Russian cities. Currently the company does not provide other services, though plans to start providing telephone, and television services someday. Base equipment is a DefiDev modem with a DS2 chipset. The company had 35,000 subscribers and an annual growth of 15-20%, according to the financial newspaper Kommersant on 21 September 2007. The company has, however, halted operations in Moscow in September, 2008, having sold its client network to an IDSL internet provider. [18]
    • Romania: In January, 2006, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology introduced a PLC trial in the rural locality of Band, Mureş County, offering phone and broadband internet access for €7 per month. The technology was introduced to 50 households. If successful, the technology will be extended to other rural areas throughout Romania.[9]
    • Hungary: The first powerline service in Hungary was realized in September, 2003, in the Riverside apartment house in Budapest by 23Vnet Ltd. The PLC equipment was supplied by ASCOM Powerline. After four months the service was counting 100 users from 450 apartment owners. The bandwidth is 4.5 Mbits/s. [10]
    • InovaTech has been particularly active, with many successful trials in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. InovaTech recently widened its focus to include Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where it has undertaken several successful field trials and is believed to be readying commercial operations in several locations. InovaTech is also understood to have a long-term trial running in Russia. One of the most active solution providers, InovaTech is the first vendor to develop an integrated offering which integrates telecommunications and energy management capabilities.
    • Indonesia is developing broadband over power line in apartment building, by PT. Broadband Powerline Indonesia since 2006. PT. BPI also produce data coupler to make broadband over powerline possible in three phases (R, S, T) with single master. The latest development can be seen in http://www.bpi.co.id/internet-kabel-listrik/
  • Africa and the Middle East:
    • Egypt: The Engineering Office for Integrated Projects (EOIP) has deployed PLC technology widely in Alexandria, Fayed, and Tanta. Based on a locally developed system, the company provides AMR for electricity utilities. Currently, the company has about 70,000 subscribers.
    • South Africa: Goal Technology Solutions (GTS) trialled the technology and is offering service in the suburbs of Pretoria, and plans to extend it to other areas. The tests were done with Mitsubishi equipment using a DS2 chipset, and the company claims a maximum throughput of 90 Mbits/s although initially only "512 Kbits/s ADSL equivalent speeds" are available. Now it uses DefiDev's equipment, and according to GTS's website, it will expand available bandwidth up to 5-20 Mbits/s.
    • Ghana:
      • Cactel Communications, Ltd. successfully deployed an MV solution pilot project in the Graphic Communications Group in Accra in June, 2005.
      • A Cactel Remote Energy Management System (REMS) pilot project for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is running a 40-user pilot project at the University of Ghana in Legon. The current project combines fiber, radio link, Wi-Fi and PLC to provide broadband internet access and telephony. It showcases the interoperability of PLC technology and the company's expertise in emerging market design and deployment. Cactel hopes to deploy nationally, and is in deliberations with the national stakeholders and with Ghana's Ministry of Communications (MoC).[11].
      • AllTerra Communications successfully implemented a pilot test of broadband over power lines in Akosombo. In partnership with VRA, this test involves demonstrating transmission of broadband from medium to low voltage signals. AllTerra is working with VRA to expand the pilot project to include essential grid management utilities that will help balance and manage the current electricity transmission throughout their various substations. Using IT as a catalyst for economic development, AllTerra is expanding into numerous areas throughout Ghana. [12]
    • Saudi Arabia:
      • ElectroNet has been working with the Saudi Electric Company since 2005 on a pilot project using broadband over power lines over medium voltage cables and linking into low voltage distribution within a shopping mall. The pilot project also integrates automatic meter readers. [13]
      • Powerlines Communications Co. Ltd. implemented an AMR pilot project for Saudi Electricity Company in 2006. The project was located in the city of Jeddah on the west coast of Saudi Arabia. Digital KWh meters were installed in parallel with analog KWh meters. Readings taken by the Saudi Electricity Company showed variations of less than 1%. A BPL pilot project was included. [14][15]
      • Saudi Arabian Computer Management Consultants (SACMAC) has signed a deal to become an official system integrator and distributor for Mitsubishi PLC. It is expected to become a great success, because the existing broadband service, monopolized by the Saudi Telecom Company, is expensive and has poor customer service (some clients report that company techs arrive months after ordering). SACMAC has declined to talk about specifics of availability and price but says it will start rolling out the service in a few months (as of May 2006) and its price will be lower than current broadband providers.

[edit] Concluded deployments

The following deployments have ended:

  • Australia, Tasmania: In November 2007, electricity retailer Aurora Energy ended its involvement with BPL and announced it was switching to Optical Fiber.[21] This ended their commercial trial begun in September 2005, offering BPL services to 500 homes in the suburb of Tolmans Hill near Hobart, which had followed a successful technological trial earlier that year.[22]
  • Portugal ended BPL/PLC deployments in the country in October 2006, reportedly for economic reasons. [16], [17], [18]
  • Russian Federation: In September 2008, Russia's only BPL provider Electro-com ended deployments in Moscow for economic reasons.


  • Spain: In May 2007 Iberdrola and Endesa (the main power companies in Spain) ended their projects to deploy PLC. [20]
  • United States: As of April 2007, Motorola has shuttered its Powerline LV Access BPL and reportedly plans to re-purpose the technology to a new system called Powerline MU, which is for use within multiple-unit dwellings. Motorola's system uses only residential-side low-voltage power lines for transmission to reduce the antenna effect, and successfully demonstrated frequency-notching for reduced potential for interference over the Amperion Inc. and Current Technologies LLC systems. Motorola invited the American Radio Relay League to participate with these tests, and even installed the Motorola system at their headquarters. Preliminary results were very positive with regard to interference, because the Motorola system does not use BPL on the powerlines leading up to the neighborhood. The BPL carrier is only used for the last leg of the trip from the pole to the house, and gets the signal to the pole via radio. This limits the interference to the area surrounding the last leg to the house.
    • The following other BPL deployments in the US are dismantled as of May 2008:[23]
Location Electric provider Equipment Service provider Reference (if not [23])
AL, Hoover (and other cities) Southern Company Various
AZ, Cottonwood Arizona Power Systems (APS) Mitsubishi
CA, Menlo Park Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Main.net
CA, Rosemead Southern California Edison (SCE) Current Technologies
CA, San Diego San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) Various
CT, Shelton United Illuminating Amperion
FL, Graceville West Florida Electric Cooperative Ascom
FL, Miami Florida Power and Light Amperion and Main.net
GA, Clarksville Habersham EMC Mitsubishi
GA, Douglasville Greystone Power Mitsubishi
GA, Young, Harris The Sphigler Group Main.net
HI, Honolulu Honolulu Electric Company Current Technologies
IA, Cedar Rapids Alliant Energy Amperion
ID, Boise IDACorp Various
IN, Liberty Whitewater RMEMC Corinex
MD, Hughesville Southern Maryland Electric Company Current Technologies
MD, Potomac PEPCO Current Technologies
MN, Rochester Rochester Public Utilities Main.net
MO, Lees, Summit Aquila Amperion
NC, Raleigh Progress Energy Amperion
OH, Cincinnati Duke Energy Current Technologies
NY, Penn Yan Penn Yan Power and Light Amperion
PA, Allentown Pennsylvania Power and Light Main.net and Amperion
TN, Fayetteville Fayetteville Public Utilities Grid Stream
TX, Dallas Oncor Electric Delivery Company Current
TX, Austin Austin Electric Energy Corinex
TX, Flatonia Broadband Horizons Unknown
TX, Weimar Fayette Electric Cooperative PowerWan
VA, Roanoke American Electric Power Mitsubishi
WA, Wenatchee Heights, Chelan County PUD Gridstream

[edit] Potential for interference

Power and telecommunications companies have started tests of the BPL technology, over the protests of the radio groups. After claims of interference by these groups, many of the trials were ended early and proclaimed successes, though the ARRL and other groups claimed otherwise. Some of the providers conducting those trials have now begun commercial roll-outs in limited neighborhoods in selected cities, with some level of user acceptance. There have been many documented cases of interference reported to the FCC by Amateur Radio users. Because of these continued problems, Amateur Radio operators and others filed a petition for reconsideration with the FCC in February 2005. Austria, Australia, New Zealand and other locations have also experienced BPL's spectrum pollution and raised concerns within their governing bodies. In the UK, the BBC has published the results of a number of tests (The effects of PLT on broadcast reception,PLT and Broadcasting, Co-existence of PLT and Radio Services) to detect interference from BPL installations. It has also made a video (Real Media format), showing broadcast of data and interference from in-home BPL devices.

In June 2007, NATO Research and Technology Organisation released a report titled HF Interference, Procedures and Tools (RTO-TR-IST-050) which concluded that widespread deployment of BPL may have a "possible detrimental effect upon military HF radio communications and COMINT systems."

New powerline modems are able to detect the existence of SW-Radio services at the location and time of operation by monitoring the ground noise at the socket where the modem is connected. The frequencies allocated by radio broadcast will be omitted from powerline communication. Such new technologies remove interferences from powerline modems to SW-Radio broadcast.

[edit] Automotive uses

Power-line technology enables in-vehicle network communication of data, voice, music and video signals by digital means over direct current (DC) battery power-line. Advanced digital communication techniques tailored to overcome hostile and noisy environment are implemented in a small size silicon device. One power line can be used for multiple independent networks. The benefits would be lower cost and weight (compared to separate power and control wiring), flexible modification, and ease of installation. Potential problems in vehicle applications would include the higher cost of end devices, which must be equipped with active controls and communication, and the possibility of intereference with other radio frequency devices in the vehicle or other places.

Prototypes are successfully operational in vehicles, using automotive compatible protocols such as CAN-bus, LIN-bus over power line (DC-LIN) and [DC-bus][21]. [24] [25]

LonWorks power line based control has been used for an HVAC system in a production model bus [22].

[edit] Failure Scenarios

There are many ways in which the communication signal may have error introduced into it. Interference, cross chatter, some active devices, and some passive devices all introduce noise or attenuation into the signal. When error becomes significant the devices controlled by the unreliable signal may fail, become inoperative, or operate in an undesirable fashion.

  1. Interference: Interference from nearby systems can cause signal degradation as the modem may not be able to determine a specific frequency among many signals in the same bandwidth.
  2. Signal Attenuation by Active Devices: Devices such as relays, transistors, and rectifiers create noise in their respective systems, increasing the likelihood of signal degradation.
  3. Signal Attenuation by Passive Devices: Transformers and DC-DC converters attenuate the input frequency signal almost completely. "Bypass" devices become necessary for the signal to be passed on to the receiving node. A bypass device may consist of three stages, a filter in series with a protection stage and coupler, placed in parallel with the passive device.

[edit] Standards organizations

ITU-T Home networking Recommendations
Common Name Recommendations
HomePNA 2.0 G.9951, G.9952, G.9953
HomePNA 3.0 G.9954 (02/05)
HomePNA 3.1 G.9954 (01/07)
G.hn/HomeGrid G.9960
G.hnta G.9970

During the early days of Powerline Communications, several competing organization developed proprietary specifications, including the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, Universal Powerline Association and HD-PLC Alliance. On December 2008, the ITU-T adopted Recommendation G.hn/G.9960 as the first worldwide standard for high-speed powerline comunications[26]. X10 is a de facto standard also used by RadioShack's Plug'n'Power system.

  • IEEE produces standards for several types of power line communications systems.
    • IEEE 643-2004 "Guide for Power-Line Carrier Applications" is a standard for communication over the transmission line network (above 69kV).
    • IEEE 1675-2008 "Standard for Broadband over Power Line Hardware" is a standard for hardware installation and safety issues.
    • IEEE P1775 "Powerline Communication Equipment — Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Requirements — Testing and Measurement Methods" is a working group focused on PLC equipment, electromagnetic compatibility requirements, and testing and measurement methods.
    • IEEE P1901 "IEEE P1901 Draft Standard for Broadband over Power Line Networks: Medium Access Control and Physical Layer Specifications" is a working group for delivering broadband over power lines. The aim is to define medium access control and physical layer specifications for all classes of BPL devices — from long distance connections to those within subscriber premises. Many companies and standard bodies are participating in the developing IEEE P1901 standard including HomePlug Powerline Alliance, UPA, CEPCA and OPERA. On December 2008, P1901 adopted a baseline text that includes three incompatible PHY/MAC specifications (one based on OFDM, another based on Wavelet modulation, and a third one that is compatible with the G.hn standard).
    • IEEE BPL Study Group — "Standardization of Broadband Over Power Line Technologies" drove the creation of the BPL related P1901 working groups. It still meets time-to-time looking to create new working groups if needed. website
  • LonWorks powerline communication is used worldwide, for example for Home Automation, Street Lighting, Energy Management and Utility Metering. The protocol can also use other media, such as IP-based networks, and it is standardized through ISO/IEC. Powerline communication can use CENELEC A-band (for utilities) or C-band (for general use, e.g. by consumers). Related standards can be found on [24]
  • OPERA (Open PLC European Research Alliance) is a R&D Project with funding from the European Commission. It aims to improve the existing systems, develop PLC service, and standardise systems.
  • POWERNET is a R&D Project with funding from the European Commission. It aims to develop and validate a ‘plug and play’ Cognitive Broadband over Power Lines (CBPL) communications equipment that meet the regulatory requirements concerning electro-magnetic radiations and can deliver high data rates while using with low transmit power spectral density and working at low signal to noise ratio.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ ITU Press Release: New global standard for fully networked home
  2. ^ IEEE P1901 Press Release
  3. ^ The Non-standard Powerline Networking Standard, When is a standard not really standard? When it’s the proposed IEEE P1901 standard for powerline networking
  4. ^ Recent Developments in the Standardization of Power Line Communications within the IEEE, (Stefano Galli et al, IEEE Communications Magazine, July 2008), provides an overview of P1901 PHY/MAC proposal
  5. ^ Denis Du Bois (2004-12-09). "Broadband over Powerlines (BPL) in a Nutshell" (HTML). energypriorities.com. http://energypriorities.com/entries/2004/12/broadband_over_1.php. Retrieved on 2008-05-27. 
  6. ^ K Dostert, 1997, Telecommunications over the Power Distribution Grid- Possibilities and Limitations Proc 1997 Internat. Symp. on Power Line Comms and its Applications pp1-9
  7. ^ R Broadridge `Power line modems and networks' 4’th International Conference on Metering Applications and Tariffs for Electricity Supply IEE conf. Publ 300 1984 pp 294-296 (London UK: IEE)
  8. ^ M Hosono et al, Improved Automatic meter reading and load control system and its operational achievement, 4th international conference on metering, apparatus and tariffs for electricity supply pp 90-94, 26-28 October 1982, IEE
  9. ^ D Cooper, T Jeans, Narrowband, Low Data Rate Communications on the Low-Voltage Mains in the CENELEC Frequencies- Part I: Noise and Attenuation, IEEE Trans on Power Delivery, vol 17 no 3 July 2002 pp 718-723
  10. ^ J Newbury, Communication requirements and standards for low voltage mains signalling, IEEE trans. on Power Delivery, Vol 13 no 1, Jan 1998, pp 46-49
  11. ^ T J Sheppard 'Mains Communications- a practical metering system' 7th International Conference on Metering Applications and Tariffs for Electricity Supply pp 223-227 17-19 November 1992 (London UK: IEE 1992)
  12. ^ G Duval, Applications of power line carrier at Electricite de France Proc 1997 Internat. Symp. on Power Line Comms and its Applications pp76-80
  13. ^ FCC
  14. ^ Memorandum Opinion and Order on Broadband Over BPL
  15. ^ FCC chief Kevin Martin statement
  16. ^ FCC dealt setback in broadband-over-power-lines push | Tech news blog - CNET News.com
  17. ^ Reardon, Marguerite (27 April 2006). "Calif. regulators OK broadband over power line test", CNET News.com, CNET Networks. Retrieved on 19 April 2008
  18. ^ "The Electro-com provider terminates the attempt to develop Internet via electric sockets in Moscow" (in Russian)
  19. ^ Philippine News - Manila Standard Today - Venture formed to spark ‘rural revolution’ - may08_2006
  20. ^ Manila Standard Today - Broadband project may trigger rise of Bataan - jan30_2006
  21. ^ Aurora shifts focus to fibre in telecommunications strategy
  22. ^ TasTel BPL: home of Broadband Over Powerlines
  23. ^ a b BPL Database and Interference Information: U.S.
  24. ^ "DC-LIN Over Power line"[1]
  25. ^ Y. Koren, Y. Seri "Using LIN Over Powerline Communication to Control Truck and Trailer Backlights" - SPARC 2007 [2]
  26. ^ http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/newslog/New+Global+Standard+For+Fully+Networked+Home.aspx
  • J. L. Blackburn (ed),Applied Protective Relaying, Westinghouse Electric Corporation (1976) Newark, New Jersey USA, no ISBN, Library of Congress Card No. 76-8060
  • X.Carcelle Les reseaux CPL, Eyrolles (2006), ISBN : 2-212-11930-5

[edit] External links

[edit] Associations or alliances

Internet Access
Network Type Wired Wireless
Optical Coaxial Cable Ethernet Cable Phone line Power line Unlicensed terrestrial bands Licensed terrestrial bands Satellite
LAN 1000BASE-X G.hn Ethernet HomePNA  · G.hn G.hn Wi-Fi · Bluetooth · DECT · Wireless USB
WAN PON DOCSIS Dial-up · ISDN · DSL BPL Muni Wi-Fi GPRS · iBurst · WiBro/WiMAX · UMTS-TDD, HSPA · EVDO · LTE Satellite
Personal tools