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Powerline Communications

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Powerline Communications


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  • Copyright 2001
  • Dimensions: 6-1/2" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 352
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-029342-3
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-029342-8

Power line-based communications networks: research, standards, applications, economics, and more.

  • The state-of-the-art in power line communications: high-speed Internet access and beyond
  • Maximizing data rates and minimizing electromagnetic compatibility problems
  • Up-to-the-minute coverage of economic and regulatory issues
  • For system evaluators, planners, designers, and technical implementers

Power line communications (PLC) represents an exceptionally promising alternative for high-speed Internet access and data networking. Until now, however, little credible information has been available concerning R&D in the field. In Power Line Communications, leading researcher Klaus Dostert reviews significant technical progress toward high-speed information access over power lines at data rates of multiple Mbps. He explains how PLC can be integrated into existing telecommunications networks and reviews the economic and regulatory issues associated with deployment - including new opportunities in an era of utility deregulation. Coverage includes:

  • PLC in context: historical roots, limitations, and potential
  • Existing power networks and their characteristics
  • PLC networking based on Europe's CENELEC EN 50065 standard
  • Applications beyond Internet access: from home/building automation to digital audio and video from the wall-socket
  • Technical options for maximizing data rates
  • Solving electromagnetic compatibility problems
  • Promising transmission and access methods
  • The state-of-the-art in device and system development
  • A realistic assessment of the future of power line communications
  • An extensive bibliography, structured by issue

Whatever your role in evaluating, designing, or implementing PLC networks, Power Line Communications offers the first single source for authoritative information on the state of the art.

Sample Content

Downloadable Sample Chapter

Click here for a sample chapter for this book: 0130293423.pdf

Table of Contents

1. Introduction.

2. The Electric Power Supply System and Its Properties.

Topological and Electrical Structures.

3. Historical Development of Data Communication over Powerlines.

Possibilities and Limits of Classical Usage Types.

4. New Usage Possibilities of the Low-Voltage Level Based on European Standards.

The European CENELEC Standard EN 50065 for the Frequency Range Below the Long-Wave Broadcast Band.

5. Innovation Potential from Deregulation.

Deregulation of the Telecommunication Markets. Fast Data Transmission over Building Installations (Last Meter Solutions) the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. Telecommunication Access over the Low-Voltage Grid (Last-Mile Solutions). Energy Market Deregulation (Free Electricity Trade). Bandwidth Requirements and Frequency Allocation. Channel Characteristics, Coupling and Measuring Techniques at High Frequencies for PLC. The Powerline Channel Model. The High-Frequency Interference Scenario. Access Impedance. Estimating the Powerline Channel Capacity. Electromagnetic Compatibility: Problems and Solutions. Measures of Network Conditioning Analysis of Feasibility and Efficiency.

6. Appropriate Modulation Schemes for PLC and Communication System Concepts.

Introduction. Single-Carrier Modulation and CDMA. PLC Signal Characteristics and Level-Limit Measurements. OFDM A Multicarrier Scheme for High-Speed PLC. OFDM Signal Synthesis, Carrier Modulation and Demodulation. OFDM for High-Speed PLC Summary.

7. Conclusions and Further Work.

8. Reading List and Bibliography by Topics.

Carrier-Frequency Modulation in High-Voltage Lines. Ripple Carrier Signaling. Standards and Regulation Issues. Spread-Spectrum Techniques. Fundamentals of Communications, Systems Theory, and RF Technology. PLC-Related Electronic Circuit Design, Application Notes. Communication over the Electric Power Distribution Grid.



The term "powerline" has splashed across the media more or less spectacularly for quite some time. Many of these representations are not sound enough to convey a realistic view of this technology and its possibilities to the public. Even experts are not fully familiar with the subject, because powerline is a unique medium for message transmission. This may help explain why powerline research and development has had a shadowy existence until recently. The only worthwhile applications had been seen in niches like building automation or remote meter reading. Extremely restrictive regulations with regard to the usable frequency ranges and admissible transmission levels have also discouraged powerline developments. There has not been massive economic interest to drive the formation of a powerline lobby like those in other technological fields, which would be able to exert influence on standards and regulations.

This situation changed radically with the deregulation of the telecommunications and energy markets. One immediate consequence is the demand for alternative fast data connections on the local loop level. There is still a de-facto monopoly on this level, because all the copper in the telephone network still belongs to one source. Powerline communication could offer ideal solutions, mainly because the power supply infrastructure is denser than any other communication network. The full infrastructure from the provider to the home wall plug is there, ready for use without any additional installation cost. This means, for example, that fast Internet access from the wall plug will not remain just a vision but will gradually become reality. Development will advance at a pace so rapid that future users will have to be provided quickly with comprehensive information in easily understandable form, so that they can properly appreciate the new options at their fingertips.

Unfortunately, suitable literature has been lacking. The publications currently available can be divided roughly into two classes:

  1. Scientific papers addressing highly specialized experts and describing specific technical detail.
  2. Press articles made up in spectacular presentations to draw attention to the "powerline" novelty, without conveying useful technical background information.

Drawn from a large number of sources, this is the first book aimed at providing future users with comprehensive information about this new technology. It deals in an easily understandable way with all relevant aspects, from the historical roots to the possibilities and limits of powerline communication, taking the most recent results from research and development into account. In addition to physical and technical interactions, this book also discusses economic and regulatory aspects. The introductory chapter presents the most important information about the motivation for powerline communication and describes the properties of energy supply systems from the view of telecommunications. Subsequent chapters describe the possible uses of powerline communication based on existing standards, communication at very high data rates, and the physical limits. Another chapter discusses how problems regarding electromagnetic compatibility can be solved. Subsequently, promising transmission and access methods as well as the state-of-the-art in device and system development are presented. Finally, the last chapter discusses further developments and the future significance of powerline communication.

This book is intended to alert all potential users to the fascinating possibilities offered by powerline communication. Considering that its capacity allows theoretical data rates of over 100 Mbits/s, one can easily imagine the enormous innovation potential, which could be used to create considerable economic values. Meanwhile, the massive commitment of leading companies and a large number of research institutions certainly suggests that worldwide communication over powerlines may become as commonplace and omnipresent as the use of electric energy. The author sees this book as a mediating link between science and practice to put the complex powerline issue in the right light for the public. Hopefully, it will not only awaken interest and technical curiosity, but also lead to immediate practical application of the new possibilities.

The contributors to this book are too numerous to name them all. It will be easy for the readers to find them in the bibliography. We would like to thank all of them for their help.

The author wishes especially to thank his wife for her support and patience throughout the writing of this book, and to thank his editor and all the people at Prentice Hall who helped shepherd him through the book-writing process.

Klaus Dostert
Krickenbach, December 2000


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