Talk:Power-line communication

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Computing / Networking (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Computing, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of computers, computing, and information technology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by Networking task force (marked as Mid-importance).

Discussion by sections[edit]


What's wrong with this page[edit]

Overall it seems to be well formated. The external links are well structured and huge. Their may be minor problems, but is the editing banner really needed? Indolering

    • I agree Jacoplane 20:13, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
    • The Internet Access section is pretty long. It also as some repetition about differences between Europe and North America (pars. 4 and 6). Parksy 14:57, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
    • I don't understand why there is a table of DSL technologies at the start of the article. I think instead, the passing reference to DSL with a link is all that is needed. PLC doesn't use DSL. If there are no objections, I plan to delete the table but leave the link. --DavidDHaynes 19:32, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
    • OK, hearing no objections, I have moved the DSL table into the "See Also" section. (DSL is a telephone technology -- not as far as I'm aware, a powerline technology.)--DavidDHaynes 14:29, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
    • Also on the subject of "what's wrong with the page", it doesn't recognize the many other well established technologies. I'm adding material to represent the other technologies and re-organizing the page to be a bit more fair. The content otherwise completely intermingles discussions regarding different technlogoies and probably leaves the reader confused.--DavidDHaynes 14:29, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Interesting slides: 28 Nov 2005

    • The speeds don't seem right and shoulg be listed in either Kb or Mb (or Gb/Tb, but i dont thing they can compete with fiber) per secondShawnlandden (talk) 07:22, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

The [hrase "The most robust low-speed powerline technology uses DCSK technology available from Yitran Communications" is untrue thhis is old technology surpassed by EU initiatives such as PRIME. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:55, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Frankly, such statements should not be appearing in Wikipedia in the first place. The only suitable similiar statement I would should be things such as "this [reliable independant survey] judged this [make and model] to provide best speed, reliability etc". Statements such as the above are stating as fact things will always be open to argument, and generally come over as something which has been written by a biast author. Jatos (talk) 12:45, 8 May 2010 (UTC)


The introduction is now very clearly disambiguating DC from AC, smart grid applicable from broadband standards, but this does require a separate HomePlug Green PHY article and probably more redirects like IEEE 1905.1 and IEEE 1905 (both of which should currently redirect to IEEE P1905 as the standard is still in the process).

Perhaps two different articles should describe PLC for short haul which is what the IEEE 1901 standard covers, and the longer haul technologies still in R&D like E-line from which supposedly compete with fibre over 1km and between transformers? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:22, 6 October 2012 (UTC)


  • Okay, whoever put the glossary in: that's what wikilinks are for, and in any case the server smashed your formatting. It had to go; please do not restore it. If you wish to add information to the article, please please please learn how to do it right. Haikupoet 03:28, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)


I think the technology section should describe "what" the technology is rather than "who" makes it. We can refer the reader to the PLC manufacturer's page for this type of information. --DavidDHaynes 17:48, 15 November 2007 (UTC)


An effort needs to be made to sort out the standards and organize them by the technology they attempt to address. Perhaps we should combine the Technology and Standards sections into a single section. Thoughts? --DavidDHaynes 18:07, 15 November 2007 (UTC)


It may be unreasonable to attempt to list all of the deployments. Many of the BPL citations in the current article were perhaps newsworthy at one time, but not of much interest today. To balance it out and attempt to cite every deployment for the other technologies would swamp the article, since they continue at a pace of about one a week. BPL deployments are newsworthy because they are new, novel, and rare. Does anyone have an idea on what to do about the growing list of deployments?--DavidDHaynes 17:59, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

"all BPL deployments in the US."[edit]

The link "all BPL deployments in the US" only includes a few implementations, notably not the large (though still piloting) Cincinnati implementation.

Issues not necessarily covered by the current article[edit]

Ham radio[edit]

What are the dangers of BPL to the ham radio comunites?

  • If it is implemented properly, then the effects can be minimized, but the most common complaint is basically taking up bandwidth. If you have what are effectively giant antennas strung across neighborhoods broadcasting carrier waves, you get a giant CW transmitter with the key down. The Motarola system is probably the best performer in this catagory, but time will tell if the technology even gains wide acceptance at all. JVkamp 04:38, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Not ALL BPL causes interference or fails on long haul --Microwave BPL[edit]

While the above comments are appropriate to HF-BPL, microwave-BPL known as E-Line has been shown not to have these problems. It has multi-Gbps capacity and doesn't cause the interference devastation of previous methods. In addition, by using existing infrastructure, the powerline, it circumvents the expense and delays of stringing ariel fiber and the attendant pole "make-ready" fees. Even with periodic amplification, very high capacity installations can be achieved at approximately one-tenth the cost of aeriel fiber. Furthermore, each amplification site is potentially a location for placement of a user-access antenna as part of a large distributed antenna system. Expensive optical/electrical & electro/optical conversion equipment is not required at each drop point. Such a system, composed of line mounted antennas, ~15 meters above ground, can effectively provide extremely high capacity services for mobile as well as fixed end users, even those in rural environments.

added E-Line link N6gn 22:03, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

PLC, Automotive[edit]

since this is an encyclopedia article, wouldn´t it be reasonable to expose not only benefits but also potential problems? This may include a possible bigger cost, and a littler SNR.

  • Such analysis should focus on the actual proposed standards such as the SAE J1772 electric vehicle charger. It's absurd to engage in general criticism of de facto and de jure standards without a clear standard and an alternative to compare it to. It's hard to imagine guaranteeing any other bandwidth necessarily will be there when one starts to put a massive charge into a 500V car battery - and do you really want it starting to charge, or not charging, without the charging circuit itself being aware of what it's charging ? That kind of voltage amounts to a death penalty for any serious safety error. So I sure do not want to trust this to some telco or cableco consumer grade router or proprietary flakeware it runs! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:24, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Dirty power[edit]

Doesn't this technology make AC power "dirty" for sensitive electronic devices? -- Beland 21:09, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

The 50 or 60 Hz power is not a pure sinewave anyway. Many applications contribute some noise to the powerline -- its just in this case the contribution is intentional. There are FCC and IEC regulations to limit the emissions at the important parts of the spectrum. As long as the electronic device has a proper power supply, it shouldn't be affected. In fact, most of our PC's have switch mode power supplies. An office building full of PC's can contribute significant noise to the powerline. (Ironical isn't it!)--DavidDHaynes 19:26, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

advantages of power line communication[edit]

  • WRT fiber competitiveness, please see additions to microwave-BPL below.--N6gn 03:23, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
  • PLC per se has some advantages -- it allows power companies to automate switching tasks that would otherwise have to be handled by hand, and it also allows networking to be spread within a location by running powerline Ethernet in locations where standard Ethernet or 802.11x won't work as well (there's an interesting combination of powerline Ethernet and 802.11b in Rob Flickenger's book Wireless Hacks from O'Reilly that demonstrates an impressive use of PLC). It fails miserably when used for long-haul broadband use (i.e. BPL) though -- the spectrum devastation it causes, one can argue, just aren't worth the benefits, and special precautions need to be made to bypass transformers. For the level of effort needed to make BPL work, the power companies may as well string up fiber everywhere and call it a day. Haikupoet 05:35, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Home Control[edit]

The Main article link for the Home Control section should link to Home automation article instead of X10. If there are no objections I'll make the change. Kinema 06:11, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

OFDM system comparison table[edit]

Feel free to add a PLC column to the OFDM#OFDM system comparison table. Mange01 11:58, 17 July 2007 (UTC)


Anyone else getting a corrupt page for this article? 17:30, 3 December 2007 (UTC)SomeX

combining power and data[edit]

This article does a good job discussing systems that send data over conductors originally intended to carry power.

However, it fails to mention systems that send power over conductors originally intended to carry data (such as Power over Ethernet, AS-Interface, telephone line, etc.). Such systems run at less than 50 V, because various organizations have ruled that 50 V is a "safe" voltage (extra-low voltage).

Should another section be added to this article discussing such systems? Or am I overlooking some other article that already discusses such systems? -- (talk) 14:21, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

That sounds the inverse of this: sending power over lines intended primarily for communication. Should be mentioned as a sort of inverse but very briefly. W Nowicki (talk) 23:53, 22 July 2011 (UTC)


I enjoyed reading this article. My understanding is that it's possible to have a network of various home attached by PLC. Is anyone interested in making a diagram? How about one for North America? Here's my attempt for my neighborhood.

                                                                                                                    _ _ _ █ 
                                                                                                                   /║     ▓█
    _  __                                                                                                         / ║      ↑
   / \ ||                                                                                                        /  ║  power
  /   \││                Light                                                                                 _/_     plant
 /      │               ð──┐                                                                          High     /║    
/_______\              / \ │        ______              ______            ______                     Voltage  / ║     
│┌┬┐ ┌┬┐│                  │       /      \            /      \          /      \                            /  ║     
│└┴┘ └┴┘│                  │      /________\          /________\        /________\                  _______¥/   ║     
│CYCLE'S│                  │      │┌┬┐ ┌─┐ │          │┌┬┐ ┌─┐ │        │┌┬┐ ┌─┐ │                 ┌¥-----¥┐    ║     
│ ┌─┐   │    __            │      │└┴┘ │¡│ │          │└┴┘ │¡│ │        │└┴┘ │¡│ │           ______│_______│__________
│_│_│___│___|¥ |___________│_____┌┴────┴─┴─┴┐________┌┴────┴─┴─┴┐______┌┴────┴─┴─┴┐________/        ║ 
       ┴-----+╬------------┴---------┴-------------------┴-----------------┴                        ║ Transformer
       Meter  ║ main box             Smart meter        Meter              Meter                    ║
                                     Underground Medium/High Voltage                                                        

--CyclePat (talk) 05:59, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

This is quite an awesome diagram. I have bookmarked it. I hope it can be put into the article. (talk) 02:31, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Potential for interference section may not be neutral[edit]

The Checksection template has been inserted into this section as the last sentence of the last paragraph contains a word implying NPOV violation. PatrickDunfordNZ (talk) 02:55, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Hopefully this neutrality problem will be resolved soon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:04, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
  • If all the problem was the last sentence with the "blow" comment, then simply remove it, it isn't worth the not neutral sign... So.. I have just removed it. Regards! --Alchaemist (talk) 05:04, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Resolved, the US administrative law issue has been more clearly explained and the pre-EIST disputes separated from the current ones. Unless someone has a complaint with the various complaints about powerline networking in the home are moot, and unless someone believes the IEEE really can't solve this problem for good, the amateur radio dispute already got far too much coverage. As for the stupid statement about fibre resolving this, it was clarified because there is no way that a pre-existing-wiring solution like can be in any way compared to anything that requires new provision of fibre optic cable. It's something like an order of magnitude in cost difference, BPL will certainly still be used at the edges of the new AU national fibre network backbone, even if it's not used to carry the aggregation.
  • It would be interesting to ask how much interference the wireless spectrum gets from all the wall warts, and from dirty generation processes to provide vampire power, due to all these wireless users using dumb power ports.  ;-) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:01, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Ultra-High-frequency communication (≥100 MHz)[edit]

I moved the previous E-Line information out of the High-Frequency section, the previous upper limit, and added a new section for Power line communication above 100 MHz. As the characteristics, technology and applications are completely different from the other types, this seems warranted. It still needs cleanup (citations converted to references etc). N6gn (talk) 14:06, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Well it certainly would have been less lazy to use citations yourself instead of assuming others will do your work for you. I do think this is undue weight right now to mention it twice and near the front. I will re-org to go in more historical order of bands, e.g. low bandwidth first and then highest last. W Nowicki (talk) 21:15, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Usual "Broadband" confusion[edit]

Lots of material in this, but much is overlapping and confusing. One problem is that broadband has lost its technical meaning. I think often it means Internet access, and it seems in theory possible to use power lines for Internet access (although one would need citations for actual providers). I think that is what most politicians mean when they say "Broadband"? Then there is using power lines as a LAN within a home. Might be called "Broadband" too if video is sent for example. These both seem different than the "Smart Grid" idea, which might include the power companies to send data on the lines themselves. These seem all mixed together. W Nowicki (talk) 22:41, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Also a recent edit added more confusion by taking out some citations and adding inline links instead. Please do not do this. Read how to use the <ref></ref> tags first before adding more inline links. The confusion is even worse due to the changing acronyms thrown around. In the subsection on PLC for example the text uses PLT instead, and this is within the section labeled BLP! Please clarify the TLAs. W Nowicki (talk) 19:50, 22 July 2011 (UTC)


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.

Radio users may experience some interference to their systems when in the near proximity of overhead power lines. For two way radio systems utilizing digital schemas, such as the P25 systems, this may appear as loss of received signal caused by the radio's front end (desensitising the receiver). For analog radios the interference appears as a buzzing sound eminating from the radio's speaker. 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.

More recently, narrowband PLC communications techniques have also started to include implementations of more sophisticated communication technologies like OFDM, that were till date used in broadband domain. PRIME is one such system that operates within CENELEC A band and uses OFDM as the technology at physical layer to provide data rates of up to 128 kbit/s. The PRIME Alliance is an industrial consortium that is putting forth this open specifications of physical and MAC layers and allowing for utilities to pick solutions from different vendors.

This entire section had no citations, just inline links to mostly defunct web sites. Will try to summarize with citations. W Nowicki (talk) 23:53, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

British or American English?[edit]

As per WP:ENGVAR, we should stick to one variety of English per article. It seems to use British style dates and some words, but "power line" seems more American than "the mains" would be. Does anyone have any strong thoughts either way? W Nowicki (talk) 17:13, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Let's call it Canadian English and move on to more relevant problems with the article. --Wtshymanski (talk) 18:39, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the humor (humour??) and good point (eh?). I did a pass a couple days ago, but there is much more to be cleaned up. I got distracted (also worked on IEEE 1901 a bit). Am I heading in the right direction? For example, using citations instead of inline links, trying to form a historical narrative, etc. W Nowicki (talk) 23:36, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Time to split BPL?[edit]

I suggest we split the broadband-over-power-line material out to its own article; it's notable in its own right and gets into details that bog down this overview. --Wtshymanski (talk) 20:15, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Oppose see above. The word broadband has a technical meaning that encompasses most of the variants in this article. My guess is that you mean Internet access over power lines? I do agree that it needs to be clearly distinguished with other applications, especially communication within a single building, for example, or power companies themselves sending internal communication. The verbage now that talks about "indoor" and "outdoor" is very bad. Electricity behaves exactly the same indoors and outdoors. My guess is again the intra-building vs. wide area distinction is meant. Another big gap is discussing how power companies (at least in the US?) have generally given up on using the wires for communication and are using wireless technology for example in smart meters. All sorts of red wikilinks and inline web links also appeared again. Sigh. I vote we clean up this article first before spinning off multiple ones. No need to have two bad articles if we cannot maintain one well-cited one. W Nowicki (talk) 22:14, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
No, I mean broadband over poower line, which is distinct from power line carrier communications, X10, and broadcasting over the powerline. BPL has its own set of issues that don't apply to the other narrow band modes. "Indoor" and "outdoor" is a short hand for "intrabuilding" and "interbuilding". Getting all that internet crap out of here would help focus this article, and a Broadband over power line article could then just talk about that topic instead of line couplers to 230 kV transmission systems. --Wtshymanski (talk) 22:22, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Of course shorthand should not be used in the article but precise language. We engineers might understand, but the article is going to be read by people who do not know the subject; that is a good reason why they are reading it. Thanks for taking those details out of the lead; I was doing it at the same time and got an edit conflict. Still much more to do. It would seem that issues like interference depend on power and frequency, not if the waves happen to be Internet access or teleohone calls or whatever. And of course in the technical sense, home LANs can have higher data rates and perhaps broader bandwidth than Internet access technologies. So I am still not sure how to organize, but maybe you have a point that readers use "broadband" in its marketing sense as "Internet access". Maybe we can start with getting information sourced by citations. W Nowicki (talk) 23:34, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
It appears from the sources that HomePlug and IEEE 1901 both use the term "broadband" to refer to their home LAN variants too. Do you have sources that make a clean distinction? Also it looks like the E-Line stuff is a single person pushing this in general, no indication it was ever used for Internet access, so no clear where it belongs. W Nowicki (talk) 01:14, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Suggest merge[edit]

PLC carrier repeating station is a very small stub on a topic with little independant notability; it should be merged to this article to give it context. --Wtshymanski (talk) 21:34, 28 November 2011 (UTC)