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 Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified
05.12.2016 | University of Sussex

nachricht UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>