Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Switching on power line Internet connectivity

07.10.2005


One in five Europeans today enjoy broadband Internet access via competing technologies. Low-cost and fast data access over electricity network power lines is one such technology that is being extensively tested in four European nations.



“Electric utility companies have long used the electric network for communication purposes,” says Luis Legorburu, OPERA project coordinator. “But offering broadband Internet over power lines was only recently made possible by a number of key patents.”

Power line communication (PLC) is mainly proprietary and the technology has less than one per cent of the broadband market, trailing far behind digital subscriber lines (DSL) and cable. It has been hampered by regulatory issues, including concerns that PLC may interfere with existing users of the radio frequency spectrum.


“We face similar problems to competing technologies,” says Legorburu, “such as the need to have repeaters when our lines are more than 200 metres from the backbone. But that is because we mainly use low emission power for our PLC, to avoid radio-interference problems.”

PLC has much in its favour, notably the fact that almost every home and business is connected to the electricity grid. End-users can access the Internet from any power socket, without worrying about additional wiring. They can also enjoy all the usual benefits of broadband Internet – such as video on-demand, TV and IP telephony – as well services such as security monitoring and remote control of devices.

The OPERA consortium is working to establish PLC as one of the leading broadband access technologies. Research in the first two years focused on the technology side, developing prototypes such as terminals, filters and couplers. The partners have also assessed issues such as bandwidth, reach distance, electromagnetic compatibility and network management.

“Our main result is the current draft of the OPERA specifications for a standard, now being presented to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI),” says Legorburu. “We will defend this over the next two years of the project and hope it will lead to a European PLC standard.”

Two-month trials in Austria, Spain, Italy and Portugal begin in August 2005, using project-developed equipment. Because the electric utilities involved have different topologies and interests, they will concentrate on different areas, such as IP telephony in Austria, Automatic Meter Reading in Portugal and the Internet in Spain.

Says the coordinator: “The goal is to sign up around 15 customers per country, which will be enough to build a business case for PLC.” The trials will also look at complementarity with other broadband technologies. A rural village, for example, could use a satellite to connect to the Internet backbone and distribute this access to individual homes by powerline.

Testing will be at 200 Mbps, ten times the average speed of current PLC services in Europe. “This is critical for utilities, because the number of customers depends on the bandwidth,” says Legorburu. “By having available 200 Mbps, we can offer broadband PLC-based services to up to 200 customers – with upload and download speeds of at least one Mbps.” It is this connection speed symmetry that beats many services now available on ADSL and cable.

OPERA partners are convinced broadband PLC could achieve 10 per cent market penetration, if a new European standard for equipment and transmission systems can be agreed. This would convince utility companies to invest more in the technology, especially for their own services related with the electrical business, such as automatic meter reading and electricity network control.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Equipping form with function
23.06.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

nachricht Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity
23.06.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Individualized fiber components for the world market

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How brains surrender to sleep

23.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>