Issue Date: January 2007
Abstract—The Internet’s proliferation has focused attention on the importance of providing widespread access to broadband services. Many studies show that such access can have profound positive socioeconomic impacts. Currently, however, broadband access is available to relatively few people worldwide. Broadband access has traditionally been provided via either DSL or cable. More recently, wireless and satellite broadband access has also gained significant momentum. Now, a third—wired—option is emerging: broadband over power lines (BPL). Power lines, however, were designed to deliver power, not communications, which poses three main hurdles for BPL. First, the variation in power line channel characteristics and performance over time and location must be appropriately considered. Second, measures must be put into place to ensure that BPL does not cause interference for the existing rightful owners of the spectrum. Third, the regulatory issues accompanying any new technology must be addressed. As these hurdles are overcome, as standards mature, and as inexpensive standards-based equipment becomes more widely available, the concerns about the risks of BPL investment and deployment will gradually diminish. Then, the right business and deployment models will enable BPL to capture a significant portion of the thriving broadband market. Key Words—access BPL, BPL, broadband over power lines, capacity, channel characteristics, coupler, extractor, FCC, injector, in-house BPL, interference, low voltage (LV) line, medium voltage (MV) line, noise, NTIA, Part 15, PLC, power line communications, repeater, Subpart G, transformer bypass



here are two basic means of providing communications services: wireless or wireline.

or even billions of dollars annually. These factors make widespread usage of wireless broadband relatively difficult and expensive! On the wireline side, there are currently two means of providing broadband services: digital subscriber line (DSL) through telephone company telephone lines, and cable modem through cable company coaxial cable lines. Now, with the advent of broadband over power lines (BPL or BoPL), a third wired option is emerging that uses electric utility power lines. Power lines are attractive for communications purposes because they have an omnipresence that reaches most homes and businesses, even in the most rural areas. This ubiquity implies a possible reduction in both time and cost for broadband deployment. In this sense, power lines, like RF spectrum, can be considered a very valuable national resource, or even a national treasure. And, of course, there is the inside-home power line wiring that can literally turn every outlet plug into a broadband communications access port.

Lee Lushbaugh

S. Rasoul Safavian, PhD

On the wireless side, the main hurdle is scarceness of radio frequency (RF) spectrum and the associated huge cost. In the US, spectrum is viewed as a scarce national resource, closely guarded by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Based on the FCC’s personal communications services (PCS) auctions, the median value of 1 MHz of spectrum per pop was around US$1.68 [1]. Simple math shows that a bare minimum of 10 MHz of spectrum (a pair of 5 MHz, enough for only one channel of current frequency division duplex [FDD] technologies such as universal mobile telecommunications system [UMTS]) that covers 300 million US pops could cost close to US$5 billion! And there is the cost of deploying the network. On top of this, there are the ongoing site rental or lease fees, which, on a nationwide basis, could translate to hundreds of millions

© 2007 Bechtel Corporation. All rights reserved.


ABBREVIATIONS, ACRONYMS, AND TERMS AC AMR AP ARRL AWGN BoPL BPL CALEA alternating current automated meter reading access point American Radio Relay League additive white gaussian noise broadband over power lines broadband over power lines Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act MV NEC NMS NOI NPRM NTIA OFDM OPERA OSS PC PCS PL PLC POP PSTN QoS R&D R&O RF RMS ROI SCADA SW UHF UMTS UPA USAC USF UTC VHF VoIP MTL multiconductor transmission line medium voltage (1 to 36 kV) numerical EM code network management system Notice of Inquiry Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FCC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration orthogonal frequency division multiplexing Open PLC European Research Alliance operations support system personal computer personal communications services power line power line communications point of presence public switched telephone network quality of service research and development Report & Order (FCC) radio frequency root mean square return on investment supervisory control and data acquisition shortwave (5.9 to 26.1 MHz) ultra high frequency universal mobile telecommunications system Universal Powerline Association Universal Service Administrative Company Universal Service Fund United Telecom Council very high frequency (30 to 300 MHz) voice over Internet Protocol

CENELEC European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization CFR Code of Federal Regulations (47 CFR addresses telecommunications) consumer premises equipment


CSMA/CA carrier sensing multiple access/collision avoidance DAS dBm DSL EHV EM EMC EMI ETSI FCC FDD FTTH GDP HDTV HF HV IEEE ISP LAN LF LV MAC MO&O distributed antenna system power in decibels with reference to 1 milliwatt digital subscriber line extremely high voltage (> 300 kV) electromagnetic EM compatibility EM interference European Telecommunications Standards Institute Federal Communications Commission frequency division duplex fiber to the home gross domestic product high definition television high frequency (3 to 30 MHz) high voltage (36 to 300 kV) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Internet service provider local area network low frequency low voltage (< 1 kV) medium access control Memorandum of Opinion & Order (FCC)


Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal

and end-users and a look at the main challenges for BPL. deploy and share knowledge in order to design. This paper first examines the current state of broadband access and the importance of having this access. Households connected to power lines may be quickly provided with telephony via voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and broadband Internet services. This is sometimes referred to as last-inch access or connectivity. or satellite systems. and related services. For many of those underserved communities. Internet. It is here that power line communications can be particularly useful and effective. or access network) is defined as the part of the network that links users with broadband services. out of the 6. Number 1 3 . generation of new high-paying jobs. This is followed by a brief examination of the potential benefits of BPL to the electric utility companies. a quick overview of the electric power grid and how it can be altered to allow BPL sets the stage for a review of the current BPL players. provide services. less developed countries may have access only to power line services and frequently lack well-established conventional telecommunications infrastructure. Friedman. BPL could provide a quick and attractive solution.7 billion (60 percent) have access to electrical power services. quality of health care. service providers. According to Thomas L. invent. Then. they may be considered as a possible third set of broadband wires reaching homes or businesses (the other two being DSL and cable modem). the huge growth potential for the broadband market is obvious. with minimal need for a new major infrastructure and its associated huge financial investment. field trials. can all lead directly to national economic growth (with a direct impact on gross domestic product [GDP]) and even enhanced national security. commercial deployments. including rural and low income areas in the US. out of a population of 300 million—and using a relaxed definition of broadband as only 200 kbps in at least one direction (Internet to user [receiving or downlink] or user to Internet [transmitting or uplink])—only roughly 50 million people currently have access to broadband services. In the US. In this sense. quality of education. successful BPL deployment requires not only a solid technical performance and field trial records.7 billion people who currently inhabit our planet. and the regulatory activities surrounding BPL. the frequently quoted op-ed commentator on globalization: Jobs. Importance of Access Numerous studies have shown a direct relationship between the availability and penetration rate of broadband and an improvement in productivity.7 percent) have access to broadband services [2. manufacture. communicate. significant regions of the world. their omnipresence and the fact that they have already reached electrical power users in homes and offices. The last mile (also sometimes referred to as the first mile. The wiring inside a home or office can also be used to provide a local area network (LAN) connecting computers. BPL could provide a quick and attractive solution. whereas only about 2 billion (30 percent) have access to some type of telephony services (wireline and/or wireless). would seem to solve this access issue. A major hurdle to deploying broadband services is the high cost of deploying the so-called last-mile access. [4] Considering that broadband penetration is currently less than 4 percent globally. power lines. In fact. The paper continues with a review of the BPL business models and economic issues before presenting conclusions and closing remarks. interference concerns. last-mile broadband access could also be provided wirelessly via fixed wireless. Of course. and smart appliances and basically turning every outlet into an Internet connection. due to January 2007 • Volume 5. cellular. From a communications perspective. and standards bodies. Of course. local loop. 3].Considering that broadband penetration is currently less than 4 percent globally. printers. knowledge use and economic growth will gravitate to those societies that are the most connected. this would be their first access to telephony. still do not have access to broadband services. namely harsh power line channel characteristics and performance issues. but also realistic and viable business and deployment plans. Connectivity is now productivity. These. educate and entertain. with the most networks and the broadest amount of bandwidth—because these countries find it easiest to amass. BROADBAND ACCESS Current State of Access Despite the widespread and spectacular growth of broadband technologies in the last few years. It is worth noting that while industrialized countries typically have several—albeit sometimes prohibitively pricey—telephony and broadband options. and facilitation of new channels for commerce. roughly 3. the huge growth potential for the broadband market is obvious. sell. and only roughly 250 million (3. in turn.

on April 26. Thus. power lines could perform double duty by delivering electrical power services and providing broadband information services. both nationally and globally. a large digital divide.7 billion people on our planet who have access to power lines! It is also worth mentioning that power line communications (PLC) is not a new subject. BPL could play an important role by offering: • Affordability: With no need for new wiring or major infrastructure deployment. ELECTRIC POWER GRID Overview of Grid Structure and Topology While the details of electric power grid structures and topologies differ from country to country.” Unfortunately. the lower portion of very high frequency [VHF]. Furthermore. More specifically. US President George W. • Universality: BPL could facilitate and speed up connecting the rural and low income parts of America to broadband services. Typical Electric Power Grid 4 Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal . or gap. 2004. thereby helping to bridge the digital divide. holds the promise of providing both telephony (via VoIP) and broadband services to all 3. a gap exists between people who have effective high-speed Internet access (the information haves) and those who do not (the information have-nots). and potentially beyond) without causing unreasonable interference to the rightful incumbent users of those RF bands.US President George W. BPL creates an alternative broadband solution that could lead to lower prices for broadband consumers. in turn. this has to be done in an economically and financially viable manner. With respect to the president’s broadband initiative. Power Plant High Voltage Transmission Lines Power Substation Medium Voltage Power Transmission Lines Substation Low Voltage Transmission Lines Low Voltage Transmission Lines Medium Voltage Transmission Lines High Voltage Transmission (69 kV and Above) Primary Distribution Medium Voltage (2. Bush. BPL deployment. Several power companies around the globe have been using power lines for low-speed applications (a few kbps in the low frequency [LF] portion of the spectrum).4 to 35 kV) Secondary Distribution Low Voltage (Up to 600 V) Figure 1. The recent renewed interest in using power lines for communications revolves specifically around providing BPL applications. The main idea is to use specialized equipment to slightly modify the existing power grid to allow it to also carry high speed data over a broad spectrum range (high frequency [HF]. Bush. such as power line metering and control. called for providing universal and affordable broadband access in every part of America by 2007 as part of his initiative to create “A New Generation of American Innovation. separates those with regular and effective access to digital technologies and those without. in April 2004. but one that has been around for decades. called for providing universal and affordable broadband access in every part of America by 2007 as part of his initiative to create “A New Generation of American Innovation” [5]. Realizing the importance of broadband.

000 volts). In the US. power substations with transformers to change voltage levels. transmission substations. Three-phase current is chosen because singlephase AC goes through a full cycle (from zero to peak to zero to other peak and back to zero) at the line rate. MV and LV lines. located 50 meters apart. This is performed successively. From Generation to Consumption: Power Grid Hierarchies a power grid basically consists of power plants or generators. More phases could be used. levels and structures of branching. A network of MV lines is usually referred to as the primary distribution. typically 155 to 765 kV) to high voltage (HV.MV HV EHV Generation Transformer HV HV Transformer MV MV MV MV LV LV LV LV LV LV Consumption LV LV LV Transmission Distribution Figure 2. typically 45 to 155 kV). Spinning can be performed by a steam turbine. EHV and HV are used to transmit AC electric power. MV lines typically run between 15 and 50 km. and finally from MV to low voltage (LV. current I must be made as small as possible. See Figure 1. transferred over lines and delivered to customers. power substations with transformers to change voltage levels. and distribution lines that collectively generate and carry the electricity from power plants all the way to wall plugs. network architectures. transmission lines. especially for long-distance transmissions. Transmission substations located next to power plants use large transformers to step up generator output from thousands of volts to hundreds of thousands of volts (typically between 155. The three single phases are synchronized and offset by 120 degrees. For instance. As mentioned. January 2007 • Volume 5. In the US. and support three wires that carry the three separate phases. on the other hand. transforming and branching out from extremely high voltage (EHV. where Rline is the line resistance and depends on the line material and increases with the length of the line. voltages are stepped down and lines are branched out to cover larger areas. typically 100 to 600 V) for delivery to homes or businesses. A generator’s output is three-phase alternating current (AC) power at voltage levels in the thousands. that is. in the US. transmission substations. and steam can be created by burning fossil fuel or from a nuclear reactor. Power plants are basically spinning electricity generators. are typically mounted on street poles.000 and 765. on the other hand. A power grid basically consists of power plants or generators. but this implies more wires and higher cost. In the US. one of the three phases is nearing a peak at any given instant. thus allowing megawatts of power transmission over distances of 300 miles or more. Number 1 5 . At power substations. three seems to be a good compromise between cost and performance. Power P. at the primary distribution level. transmission lines. The structures needed to support EHV and HV lines are typically tall. But underground lines are used less due to the prohibitive cost of burying cables. plus a neutral (possibly grounded) wire. most power lines are aerial or overhead. and then from HV to medium voltage (MV. is equal to the product of voltage V and current I (P = IV ). Power loss in the line grows with the square of the current. to reduce Ploss . which is 60 times per second in the US and 50 in the other parts of the world. and MV and LV are used to distribute it. most lines run underground. and voltage levels vary from country to country. Overhead lines are more susceptible than underground lines to producing radiation interference and to picking up interference. and distribution lines that collectively generate and carry the electricity from power plants all the way to wall plugs. particularly in newer urban areas. For a given generated P and a given Rline . With three synchronized phases. The result is a tree-structured power distribution hierarchy. a network of LV lines is the secondary distribution. street poles are typically 10 meters high. This means that the line voltage must be made as large as possible. See Figure 2. Ploss = Rline • I2. typically 2 to 45 kV). massive towers. At the secondary distribution level. Basically.

could add latency (especially if the signal is regenerated) Access BPL Internet Mobile Network PSTN In-House BPL Backhaul Network Backhaul Box MV Coupler MV Lines MV Coupler MV Lines MV Lines MV Coupler Repeater Box LV Lines LV Coupler Transfer Bypass Box Power Substation HV Transmission Lines PC VoIP Phone Power Generator MV Coupler MV Line LV Line Transformer LV Coupler LV Line to Home/Business LV Lines to Homes/Businesses Coax Transfer Bypass Box Figure 3.) Altering the Power Grid To Allow BPL EHV and HV lines are usually too noisy to transmit broadband communications signals. Typical BPL Architecture 6 Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal . This affects not only the communications characteristics. MV networks allow communication over longer distances because of their weaker signal attenuation and lower noise level. Repeaters.typically fewer than a dozen homes are served by a single MV/LV transformer. It is important that couplers be easy-to-install passive devices with low failure rates that can be used outdoors and installed on energized lines. Line noise. whereas in Japan this number is about 30 and in Europe it is several hundred. but also the economic viability of a BPL system. Inductive couplers are known to be rather lossy. and cost. MV couplers are typically inductive. they are safer to install on energized lines than capacitive couplers. To use power lines for broadband communications. In inductive coupling. LV couplers may be capacitive or inductive. on the other hand. and signal attenuation as the signal traverses the line make it necessary to regenerate or repeat the signal periodically. making point-to-point connections possible. and the signal is modulated onto the network’s voltage waveform. performance requirements. only MV and LV lines are used for BPL. MV lines are usually less branched than LV lines. but since they require no physical connection to the network. (BPL business models are examined later in this paper. the broadband signal must be injected into and extracted from the lines through couplers. In capacitive coupling. an inductor is used to couple the signal onto the network’s current waveform. limitations on the amount of signal power that can be injected into power lines without causing unacceptable interference for other spectrum users. a capacitor is responsible for Couplers should be easy-to-install passive devices with low failure rates that can be used outdoors and installed on energized lines. the actual coupling. depending on distribution system topology. This can be done by using MV couplers to couple the broadband signal off of the MV line so that it can be regenerated if necessary and amplified before being fed back onto the MV line through another coupler.

appear as open circuits for the passage of higher frequency signals and typically attenuate and distort the weak broadband signal beyond reconstruction and usability. Two of the three BPL deployment options involve the access BPL portion of an end-to-end system: the BPL signal can either (1) bypass the MV/LV transformer (as does CURRENT Technologies® equipment) or (2) go through the transformer (as does MainNet Communications equipment). and provides various backhaul Ethernet interfaces to fiber optic or wireless connections. also requires a network management system (NMS) or operations support system (OSS) to observe and manage network resources and perform billing and other back-end tasks. The third BPL deployment option is hybrid BPL. like any other communications network. or a mobile network. the bypass box can also have built-in repeating functionality at a small incremental cost. because a single bad repeater can bring down an entire communications line. This implies that BPL signals going between MV and LV lines need to bypass the transformers. generates billing and charging data. January 2007 • Volume 5. Number 1 7 . The backhaul network box is typically a bidirectional device that converts data formats. Figure 3 illustrates a typical BPL architecture. BPL can be deployed either as end-to-end BPL or as hybrid BPL. and in-house BPL modems are required.. For hybrid BPL. while the portion inside a home or office using the inside wiring is called the in-house BPL. typically only the MV lines are used. and a fixed wireless network replaces the LV lines and in-house BPL (Amperion™ takes this approach). typically next to a power substation where multiple MV lines are connected. BPL can be deployed either as end-to-end BPL or as hybrid BPL.e. aggregates and concentrates uplink data streams. Transformers. A BPL network. In hybrid BPL. For end-to-end BPL. The MV and LV line portions of the BPL are usually referred to as the access BPL. The distribution transformers that change voltage levels between MV and LV lines are particularly harsh on the weak broadband signal. BPL Deployment Options and could also create single points of failure. i. bypass boxes with wireless conversion boards. helps allocate bandwidth and resources. The connection is made through a backhaul network box coupled to an MV distribution line. the bypass box does not couple the broadband signal to/from the LV line but converts it to/from a wireless format and delivers it to the wireless access point (AP) also located on the pole. An end-to-end BPL system uses both access BPL and in-house BPL. A point-of-presence (POP) is needed to connect the BPL network to a backhaul network such as the Internet. BPL Deployment Options The MV and LV line portions of the BPL are usually referred to as the access BPL. The recent capability to effectively and safely bypass transformers has been instrumental to the success and deployment of BPL.Substation with Modem Injector Repeater Transformer Bypass System Coupler Option 1 Through Transformer Router Extractor Coupler Wireless Transmitter with Antenna Option 2 Wireless Connection Option 3 Wireless Receiver with Antenna Figure 4. These different deployment options have their associated performance and cost tradeoffs. Typically. using one of the three options illustrated in Figure 4. a public switched telephone network (PSTN). while the portion inside a home or office using the inside wiring is called the in-house BPL. bypass boxes and LV couplers must be installed on all LV lines. In this option. provides routing functionality. power lines are used all the way from the power substation to the end user. which are intended to pass low frequencies near 50 or 60 Hz.

and existing standard wireless user modems are required. including IEEE and ETSI [7]. and commercial deployments has been growing steadily in the last few years. equipment manufacturers. The UPA has also released a number of specifications related to different aspects of power line technology. Progress Energy and EarthLink® plan to provide BPL services in North Carolina using Amperion equipment. field trials. the number of BPL players (electric utility companies.wireless APs. with plans to expand elsewhere within Duke’s 1. Germany. To this end. using TXU Electric delivery. but LV transformer bypasses and LV couplers are not. CURRENT Technologies is currently offering commercial BPL services with Duke Energy in Cincinnati. The UPA also works with and through international standardization bodies such as IEEE and ETSI to promote its standards [9]. The HomePlug Powerline Alliance was founded in 2000 and currently has over 65 member companies. Standards Bodies Standardization is of paramount importance to the success of any new technology such as BPL. investors. Ohio. FIELD TRIALS. and testing and measurement methods.5-million-customer service territory in Ohio. and the UK. The IEEE P1901 “Draft Standard for Broadband over Power Line Networks: Medium Access Control and Physical Layer Specifications” Working Group is responsible for defining the medium access control (MAC) and physical layers for high speed (greater than 100 Mbps at the physical layer) for both in-house and access BPL. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). Iberdrola initiated service in Madrid and Valencia in the same year. high-speed power line communications. COMMERCIAL DEPLOYMENTS. The specifications of these working groups are scheduled for release in 2007 [8]. high-performance. PLC equipment manufacturers. called Digital Home Standard v1. OPERA—a consortium of currently 37 organizations. The IEEE P1775 “Powerline Communication Equipment – Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Requirements – Testing and Measurement Methods” Working Group is focused on PLC equipment. Korea. 2006. There are also commercial deployments in Spain. and Commercial Deployments Globally. Also associated with hybrid BPL are the usual existing issues regarding wireless performance in unlicensed spectrum and the current state of wireless quality of service (QoS). Its first specification documents were released on February 21. In the US alone.0 and also released in February 2006. there have been more than 39 trial deployments [6]. Chile. and the UPA in-house BPL specification. and HomePlug® Powerline Alliance have been leading the activities and creating their own standards. The IEEE BPL study group drove the creation of the BPL-related Pxxxx working groups. Field Trials. INDUSTRY PLAYERS. Texas.). European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). equipment manufacturers. the number of BPL players (electric utility companies. Power Plus Communications has started offering services in Germany. These specifications will be promoted through international standardization organizations. electromagnetic compatibility requirements. as has Scottish Southern Electric in the UK. the UPA access BPL specification. and universities—is a research and development (R&D) project with funding from the European Commission to create and promote open global specifications for low-cost. The HomePlug 1. Universal Powerline Association (UPA). the Open PLC European Research Alliance (OPERA). Virginia. etc. Three main specifications are the UPA coexistence specification. has been offering citywide BPL services using MainNet equipment since 2005. AND STANDARDS BODIES Industry Players. Globally. and Kentucky. The standard will focus on transmission frequencies below 100 MHz. released in June 2005. and commercial deployments has been growing steadily in the last few years. The IEEE P1675™ “Standard for Broadband over Power Line Hardware” Working Group is chartered to develop standards for power line hardware installation and safety. security. Endesa began service in 2003 in Saragossa and Barcelona.0 and AV) are for home networking over power lines (in-house BPL). The alliance’s standards (HomePlug 1. including electric utility companies. endorsed by OPERA and released in February 2006. The City of Manassas. Brazil. CURRENT Technologies is also planning to deploy BPL services to potentially 2 million residents of Dallas.).0 specification allows for speeds up to 14 Mbps. and so forth. The current HomePlug AV specification allows for speeds greater than 100 Mbps (suitable for 8 Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal . Indiana. In Spain. etc. investors. field trials.

0. in rural areas).g. factor is that the transmission medium. There is also no need for the difficult. and time-consuming site acquisition. the HomePlug Powerline Alliance started looking into creating an access BPL standard planned for completion by early 2007 [10]. • In some places. The explosive growth of the Internet and the recent deregulation of telecommunications in the US and Europe have led to the renewed interest in BPL. although satellitebased service may also be of interest in these areas.. both of which have significant deployment head starts. Extensive research on BPL channel modeling [13–20] and a considerable amount of interference analysis [21–25] have taken place. These factors imply potential cost and time savings that could level the BPL deployment playing field a bit more compared with DSL and cable. The next sections of this paper examine in more detail the key implementation challenges and regulatory concerns facing BPL. and verification • BPL-enabled electricity meters that enable time-of-day and real-time pricing through The explosive growth of the Internet and the recent deregulation of telecommunications in the US and Europe have led to the renewed interest in BPL. expensive. • BPL may provide a more ubiquitous and reliable service coverage area. as discussed later in this paper. Number 1 9 . and (2) it can help create a smart grid for the utility companies that would enable enhanced utility applications [11. and by far the most important. is already in place. grid and substations) Benefits to End Users End users can benefit from BPL deployment because: • BPL could create competition and thus help reduce end-user service prices. permitting.e. Nonetheless. i. connected and controlled through a PC and remotely. BPL’s benefits are twofold: (1) It can create new sources of revenue from an existing investment. While these devices could possibly be controlled through a DSL or a cable modem connection. The first. to provide a harmonized end-to-end BPL standard. despite its renewed attractiveness. 12] such as: • System monitoring from any point on the electric grid • Load shifting and balancing • Optimized asset utilization and management • Performance of preventive maintenance and improvement of service reliability and customer satisfaction by avoiding power outages and emergencies • Advanced supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) • Fault detection. • BPL could be used for smart appliances. Benefits to Electric Utilities For the electric utility companies. In 2004. BPL must overcome implementation challenges as well as regulatory concerns before it can become a viable avenue of broadband access. BPL may provide a more integrated (neater) solution. cheaper processors and electronics. Concurrently..high definition television [HDTV] and VoIP) and is compatible with HomePlug 1. and adaptive self-healing • Automatic outage detection.. there have been a large number of field trials and measurements to validate various models [21–31]. BPL could provide large cost savings. There is no need to purchase spectrum or to hang. and licensing tasks needed for a typical deployment. BPL also holds the promise of being able to provide genuinely ubiquitous coverage. along with advances in signal processing such as the newer adaptive modulation and coding techniques [28] and faster. IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGES The Nature of the Power Grid The most obvious challenges to implementing BPL arise from the fact that power line grids were originally developed to transmit electrical power January 2007 • Volume 5. dig. Given the omnipresence of power lines. restoration detection.g. automated meter reading (AMR) with remote disconnect (and reconnect) and theft detection • Real-time video surveillance of the sensitive national power infrastructure (e. • BPL could provide high user throughputs. because most of the required infrastructure already exists. BPL may be the only viable choice (e. POTENTIAL BENEFITS Benefits to Service Providers From a service provider’s point of view. or lay new wires. fault analysis. the power lines.

Channel Characteristics and Capacity Power Line Noise In general. The noise on the line is typically time. MV and LV lines have very different noise characteristics. The subsequent MTL models in [18. and potential interference concerns (in both directions). Power grids were neither designed nor devised for communications purposes. Channel Attenuation Power lines have been modeled in the literature by using either statistical approaches based on extensive measurements or deterministic approaches based on multiconductor transmission line (MTL) theory and numerical analysis. A related challenge facing BPL centers around data sensitivity. Noise levels on MV lines are typically as much as 20 to 30 dB higher than on LV lines in the frequency range of 1 to 20 MHz [21]. The MV grid is usually less branched than the LV grid. Carson’s earlier MTL model [17] allowed for ground impedance but did not include ground admittance. but becomes a valid regulatory concern. Thus. they can produce electromagnetic radiation that is easily detected by radio receivers. the channel attenuation) in the frequency range of 10 kHz to 100 MHz shows highly frequency-dependent attenuations of as high as 40 dB/km caused by reflections from abrupt discontinuities and The main challenges to BPL arising from the nature of the power grid have been the extremely harsh. addressing mutual interference is not only a challenge. For a complex overhead MV network. and frequency dependent. as the number of users goes up. there are typically 50 homes per substation. Even though the interest in using power lines for communications is not new. Noise on the LV grid is typically the sum of background noise. the distance between the customer’s home and the supplying substation is a factor in the bit rate available to the user. The narrow-band noise is caused by RF interferers such as amateur or shortwave (SW) radios and varies randomly across location and time. A simple matched uniform MV line segment with no connected device or junctions could have as little as 1 dB/km ohmic absorption or attenuation loss. In the US. data encryption is a must. power lines can also easily pick up nearby radio frequency signals. time-andlocation-variable characteristics of the power line channel. and elevation. and synchronous/nonsynchronous (with the power line frequency) colored noise. on the other hand. Furthermore. much like the multipaths typically seen in mobile wireless communication channels. Because power lines are not twisted and have no shielding.(high voltage AC at low frequencies of 50 or 60 Hz) from a small number of sources (the generators) to a large number of sinks (the end customers). this noise is certainly not an additive white gaussian noise (AWGN). unpredictable. The background noise is environmental noise that is highly dependent on weather. generated primarily by electrical appliances. and potential interference concerns (in both directions) [13–25]. Time-variable behavior is due mainly to the dynamically changing nature of the load connected to the power lines. the number and types of branches. per-user throughput goes down. equivalently. BPL is thought to be distance limited. unpredictable. segments. which cannot be ignored in higher frequencies and/or under poor conductive ground plane conditions. At the same time. background noise and narrow-band noise are dominant on MV lines. time-and-location-variable characteristics of the power line channel. a power line channel is a very harsh and noisy transmission medium. Because all users share the available channel capacity or bandwidth. The main challenges to BPL arising from the nature of the power grid have been the extremely harsh. impulsive noise. and the kinds of loads connected all affect channel characteristics. the amplitude of the channel frequency response (or. low-data-rate (a few kilobits per second) remote monitoring and meter reading applications at a low frequency (typically only up to a few hundred kilohertz). Line branching. 19] include ground admittance. On the MV grid. The fact that the power line grid is a shared medium and BPL is a contention-based system creates additional challenges. similar to DSL. Thus. their early use for data transmission was mainly for simple. location. the lengths of line 10 Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal . To prevent interception of sensitive data by unintended and unauthorized receivers. the on/off switching of the capacitor banks used to correct the power factor typically causes high noise peaks [14]. For the same reasons. a speed on par with the current average speeds delivered by DSL or cable modem. However. An average available throughput of 50 Mbps implies roughly an average of 1 Mbps per user. impedance mismatches caused by unterminated stubs and line branches cause signal reflections and create a frequency-dependent fading channel. location. the types of power line equipment connected (such as capacitor banks and transformers). and LV lines are typically terminated at time-varying consumer electrical appliances.

A carrier current system can be designed so that the RF signals are received by conduction directly from the connection to the electric power lines (unintentional radiator) or so that the signals are received as over-the-air radiation from the electric power lines (intentional radiator). The cellular network RF signal is picked up by the Corridor equipment. In BPL systems. Number 1 11 . Unlike the twisted wires of telephone companies and the shielded cables of cable companies. well known for its excellent robustness against channel distortions such as multipath and impulsive noise and for its good spectral efficiency. the Corridor equipment converts the signal back to its original format for re-radiation by local antennas. overhead power lines can act as large antennas and be natural sources and targets of electromagnetic interference (EMI). Thus. 2003.209 defining the corresponding general requirements and radiated emission limits. Part 15 addresses RF devices.mismatched impedances [23]. Performance Improvements Conditioning the grid can improve power line performance by minimizing impedance mismatches. Carrier current systems operate on an unlicensed basis under Part 15. may deteriorate or diminish the advantages of power line grids. such as video streaming. A system developed by Corridor Systems. untwisted. Subpart A.109 defining the radiated emission limits. Subpart C deals with intentional radiators. Section 15. At cellular dead zones. with Section 15. converted into a proprietary BPL format. or DASs. and government agencies. or part of a system. etc. of megabits per second and spectral efficiencies in the range of 1 to 20 bps/Hz can be achieved [20]. Capacity and Spectral Efficiency Depending on the bandwidth used on the power lines (typically a frequency range between 2 and 100 MHz). In the US. A better approach is to use modulation and coding schemes robust enough to work in the hostile power line channel environment. and on load and channel conditions. with Section 15. however. untwisted. or even hundreds. long unshielded. most BPL products use orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM).3 (f) defines a carrier current system as a system. that transmits RF energy by conduction over electric power lines. January 2007 • Volume 5. This raises concerns about interfering with the rightful owners of the radio spectrum in the BPL range of operation [30]. and even in the gigabit-per-second range if larger frequency bandwidths in the upper VHF/ultra high frequency (UHF) spectrum and higher input signal powers are used. addresses general issues. in the US uses MV power lines in frequency ranges from VHF through microwave as distributed antenna systems (DASs) to extend existing cellular network coverage [29]. LV network losses are typically higher than MV network losses and could be as high as 100 dB/km [14]. filtering noise. As a general condition of operation. Some type of MAC must be implemented to provide communications through shared bandwidth on power lines. These options. MV lines are used to carry cellular signals to areas too difficult or expensive to reach by cellular networks. this may not be a viable option.3 defines terms used in the FCC’s rules. conventional repeaters. also used in the wireless fidelity (IEEE 802. multiple user modems are connected in a bus or star topology. Interference Concerns and Regulatory Issues Unlike the twisted wires of telephone companies and the shielded cables of cable companies.. Part 15. Inc. The most concerned and vocal opponents of BPL in the US are amateur radio operators. Theoretical and field trials have also claimed throughputs of the same order of magnitude. and ability to avoid certain bands. BPL signals tend to radiate from the injectors and repeaters spaced along the power lines. throughputs in the range of tens. Section 15. reasonable cost. In addition. the carrier sensing multiple access/collision avoidance (CSMA/CA) protocol may be used. Currently. is suitable for power line channel characteristics. through the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). terminating stubs. and injected into and transported down the MV lines. considering that licensed spectrum in the VHF and UHF bands is heavily occupied. Subpart B addresses unintentional radiators. This widely used scalable protocol.11) MAC layer. however. The NOI sought information on potential interference from BPL systems and associated changes that may be needed to accommodate BPL systems in Part 15 of the FCC’s rules published in the Telecommunications Code of Federal Regulations (47 CFR). Part 15 devices may not cause harmful interference to authorized radio services and must accept any interference they receive. The US FCC started examining the use of power lines for broadband communications services by issuing a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on April 23. To provide the necessary QoS for applications that require bandwidth and performance guarantees. on the BPL injection power level (typically 1 to 30 dBm). overhead power lines can act as large antennas and be natural sources and targets of EMI. long unshielded.

g.7 to 30 MHz) and have temporal and spatial variability. Here. The Phase 1 Study focused on simple BPL deployment models. Some of the NTIA’s Phase 1 Study highlights include: • In the 1. a base or fixed-service station). “Potential Interference from Broadband over Power Line (BPL) Systems to Federal Government Radiocommunications at 1. Sky waves are particularly important in the HF band (for BPL. and sky waves. signal paths above the power line horizon.g. r < 0. and far-field. that sends radio frequency energy by conduction over electric power lines that are not owned. Sky waves can extend the signal’s reach to several kilometers. The Phase 2 Study is focusing on evaluating the effectiveness of the NTIA’s Phase 1 recommendations and on the results of a study of potential interference via ionospheric propagation of BPL emissions resulting from the mature large-scale deployment of BPL networks. a ship-borne receiver.3 (gg) – In-House BPL: A carrier current system. as follows: Section 15. and λ is wavelength. These regions are typically defined as: 3 The FCC amended the existing Section 15. Space waves involve only direct waves and occur over elevated signal paths. underground.3 (ff) for access BPL and 15. Ground wave propagation is pertinent on BPL signal paths below the power line horizon.3 (ff) for access BPL and 15. operating as an unintentional radiator.62 r>2 D < r < 2 D2 λ λ Radiating Near-Field D λ 2 Far-Field where r is the distance from the radiator. or inside the walls. e. and surface waves..3 (ff) – Access BPL: A carrier current system installed and operated on an electric utility service as an unintentional radiator that sends radio frequency energy on frequencies between 1. the victim receiver is typically in the radiating near-fields.62 3 D λ Reactive Near-Field 0.3 to include Sections 15. The study included various measurement campaigns and the use of numerical electromagnetic code (NEC) software to characterize BPL signal radiation and propagation and to evaluate interference risks. identified associated interference concerns. and an aircraft receiver in flight. the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the US Department of Commerce described the federal government’s usage of the 1.. space waves. • The space around a radiator is typically divided into three regions: reactive nearfield.3 to include Sections 15. As of the date of this paper. the NTIA defined interference risks to radio reception in the immediate vicinity of overhead power lines used by an access BPL system. although far-fields are important because of sky waves and at distances seen by aircraft receivers. ground-reflected waves. floors or ceilings of user premises. In its response to the FCC’s NOI. In April 2004. In-House BPL devices may establish closed networks within a user’s premises or provide connections to Access BPL networks. operated or controlled by an electric service provider. or both. radiating near-field. For BPL systems. Surface waves propagate close to the ground and have a substantially higher rate of attenuation than direct waves. The report also suggested means for reducing interference risks and identified techniques for mitigating local interference should it occur. the dominant propagation modes are ground waves. a receiver using a rooftop antenna (e. Groundreflected waves may be of no major concern if the radiator is relatively far from ground. In this report. Ground-reflected waves (along with direct waves) decay at the rate of distance raised to the power of four.7 to 80 MHz spectrum. and outlined the studies it planned to conduct to address those concerns. Section 15. the Phase 2 Study report had not yet been released. the NTIA published its Phase 1 Study technical report.The FCC amended the existing Section 15.7 – 80 MHz” [31].705 MHz and 80 MHz over medium voltage lines or over low voltage lines to provide broadband communications and is located on the supply side of the utility service’s points of interconnection with customer premises. signal paths are represented as rays reflected and refracted by the ionosphere. 12 Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal . Ground waves consist of direct waves.7 to 80 MHz spectrum. 1. The radio systems to be considered in interference analyses included a land vehicular receiver. Direct waves decay at a rate proportional to the square of their distance from their source. D is the largest linear dimension of the radiator. The electric power lines may be aerial (overhead). NTIA Report 04-413.3 (gg) for in-house BPL.3 (gg) for in-house BPL.

Each database should be available within 30 days before initiation of the specific system’s service and should include the following information: – The name of the access BPL provider – The frequency of the access BPL operation – The postal ZIP codes served by the specific access BPL operation – The manufacturer and type of access BPL equipment and its associated FCC identification. Systems operating in the Because BPL is a new technology.611. • Exclusion Zones: These are certain geographic areas within which access BPL operations are not allowed. and received more than a thousand comments and replies from many concerned parties [32]. The FCC basically decided to keep BPL under existing Part 15 unlicensed device rules and added Subpart G for access BPL.e.209. these include: • Mandatory registration of certain parameters of planned and deployed BPL systems • A requirement for BPL devices to be frequency agile (i. imported. the line is symmetrical or balanced. Certification is an equipment authorization by the FCC or its designated entities. after July 7. • Databases: Publicly available databases are to be created and maintained by an industrysponsored entity recognized by the FCC and the NTIA. or installed 18 months or later after the Federal Register publication of the R&O (i. Sections 15.613 of this new Subpart include the following new rules: • Exclusion Bands: These are certain bands of frequencies within which access BPL operations are not permitted. Subsequent to the above activities. and 15. which is a manufacturer’s selfapproval procedure. – Complete contact information for a person at the BPL operator’s company in charge of resolving any interference complaints – The proposed or actual date of access BPL operation • Interference Mitigation and Avoidance: Access BPL systems are basically required to adhere to the NTIA recommendations for interference mitigation and avoidance mentioned above. Symmetry is defined in terms of impedance between conductors and ground. If. • Consultation: A consultation is to be held between an entity operating access BPL and a licensed public safety or other designated point of contact. for a two-wire line. to have notching and retuning capabilities) and to have remote power reduction and shutdown capabilities to eliminate interference if any is reported • Use of minimal required power • Avoidance of locally used radio frequencies • Use of symmetry and differential mode signal injection to minimize radiation [31. and the new amended rules in 47 CFR. Balanced lines are necessary for differential mode transmission.601. the impedance between each conductor and ground is equal. 2006) must comply with the newly adopted requirements of Subpart G of Part 15 for BPL devices.The NTIA also provided some recommendations and suggested some interference mitigation techniques.705-to-30-MHz band over MV lines must comply with the radiation limits for intentional radiators provided in Section 15. They are to contain information regarding existing and planned access BPL systems. 2006. as opposed to verification. the FCC has required that all BPL-related equipment be certified. marketed. the FCC has required that all BPL-related equipment be certified. in which the currents are equal in magnitude and flow in opposite directions on the conductors. 15. Number 1 13 . the FCC released its Notice of Public Rule Making (NPRM) in February 2004. Certification is an equipment authorization by the FCC or its designated entities. • Equipment Authorization: Because BPL is a new technology. 23]. • Field Limits: Access BPL systems that operate in the 1. as opposed to verification. More specifically. the FCC denied other petitions to reconsider other aspects and published the final Memorandum Opinion & Order (MO&O) on August 7.607. 2004 (published in the Federal Register on January 7. 15. which is a manufacturer’s self-approval procedure. including certification of the equipment. The rules adopted in the R&O require that all access BPL devices manufactured. January 2007 • Volume 5. However. etc.. The FCC considered various petitions to reconsider the R&O and subsequently amended the Part 15 rules to modify some of the previous specified exclusion zones and add a few new exclusion zones.. The fields radiating from these conductors tend to cancel each other. for the purpose of avoiding potential harmful interference. 2005) [33]. The FCC eventually finalized its decision by adopting its Report & Order (R&O) FCC 04-245 on October 14.e.

even though access BPL systems remain under the newly added Subpart G of Part 15 for unlicensed device rules. the FCC’s Order finds that the transmission The FCC recognized the interference potential of BPL systems. without ceasing broadband service to the public. • Measurement Procedure and Guidelines: The FCC requires that access BPL system emissions be measured in situ to demonstrate compliance with the new Part 15 rules. the guidelines also specify how to extrapolate a distance correction factor from measurements made at distances other than as specified in the rules. as shown in Figure 5. if not all. 30-to-80-MHz band over MV lines must comply with the radiation limits for unintentional radiators provided in Section 15. to take into account the effect of line length. Furthermore. The guidelines also specify the type of measurement antenna (loop or linear) and the type of detector (peak. 2006. the measured values are reduced by 40 log(10) (30/r). the middle of a highway).. Because the distances r specified in the guidelines may coincide with unsafe locations (e.109 (b). quasi-peak. BPL services become free from many. Radiation Limits Power Line Type LV or MV LV MV Frequency (MHz) 1. to find the maximum Distance Specified in Rule (e. the received measurement antenna will be moved down-line parallel to the power line. The distance from the measurement antenna to power line is the slant distance or range.g. even though access BPL systems remain under the newly added Subpart G of Part 15 for unlicensed device rules. for frequencies at or above 30 MHz. That is why the FCC decided that. On November 3. For access BPL systems installed on overhead power lines. any BPL resultant interference must be corrected and resolved by the BPL operator immediately.. Radiation emission limits for access BPL equipment are summarized in Table 1. By virtue of being considered information services. the FCC also decided to classify BPL-enabled Internet access services as information services. Systems operating over LV lines must comply with the Section 15. the measured value is increased by 20 log(10) (r/10). common carrier regulations and associated fees and taxes.Table 1.705–30 30–80 30–80 Field Strength Limits (μV/m) 30 100 90 Measurement Distance (m) 30 3 10 emissions at each frequency within the frequency range of the access BPL device. It is worth mentioning again that the FCC recognized the interference potential of BPL systems. Interference Measurement Setup Sl an tR an ge Antenna Height 14 Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal .g.109 (a) and (e) limits. For frequencies below 30 MHz. their operations cannot cause harmful interference and the systems must accept any outside interference. The FCC also decided to eliminate conducted emission limits and testing for BPL systems because of the danger and inconvenience associated with measuring power line conducted emissions. Measurements are to be made at a minimum of three overhead and three underground representative points and according to the measurement guidelines outlined in Appendix C of the NPRM. That is why the FCC decided that. 30 m for <30 MHz) Ring Antenna E a xtr po lat e 2 at 0o r4 og 0l (R ) Figure 5. starting from the access BPL signal injection equipment location. Specifically. their operations cannot cause harmful interference and the systems must accept any outside interference. or root mean square [RMS]).

electric utility companies can choose one of three business models with respect to their BPL deployment. suburban. The FCC’s Order places BPL-enabled Internet access services on an equal regulatory footing with other broadband services such as DSL or cable modem Internet access services [34]. This is the lowest risk. BPL services become free from many. This model carries the most risk. The electric utility company only collects leases on its facilities. and a $100-per-home-passed deployment cost and a $100 CPE cost.component underlying BPL-enabled access services is telecommunications and that providing this telecommunications transmission component as part of a functionally integrated. and urban areas). By virtue of being considered information services. the FCC decided to classify BPL-enabled Internet access services as information services. and support. VoIP. and may also receive smart-grid services from the same BPL service builder/provider. such as BPL operators who provide VoIP services. and maintain the BPL network. which wholesales the bandwidth to communications service providers or Internet service providers (ISPs) that operate the network and interface with customers.and facilitiesbased broadband access providers. equipment replacement. End users interface only with this company for all customer care. This is a medium risk option. Assuming a conservative initial deployment with a subscriber penetration rate of 10 percent (blended over rural. Consumer premises equipment (CPE) costs currently range from $50 to $200. the electric company needs to acquire the communications expertise required to build. however. if any. The electric utility company builds and operates the BPL network and interfaces directly with the customers. The FCC’s decision was based on its desire to regulate similar services in a similar manner. and upgrades. the number of homes connected to the substation. precise data regarding BPL deployment costs is not publicly available. BUSINESS MODELS AND ECONOMIC ISSUES epending on their particular business and financial objectives. Number 1 15 . primarily to ensure that rural and low-income customers receive levels of telecommunications service similar to those in nonrural areas. The USF was created by the FCC in 1997. and similar factors. the need for repeaters. finished BPL-enabled Internet access service offering is an information service. must bring their networks into compliance with wiretap. each model has successively more associated risks and rewards: • The Landlord or Retail Model: In this model.100 per subscriber. In November 2006. billing. depending on the electric grid’s architecture. 2007. the FCC resolved a second R&O in the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and Broadband Access Services proceedings. surveillance. All telecommunications carriers that provide service internationally and between states are required to contribute to the USF. This cost includes not only the cost of equipment and installation. D January 2007 • Volume 5. the initial BPL deployment cost becomes about $1. based on a percentage of their gross revenues. the electric utility company leases its facilities to another company (preferably one with prior communications experience) that builds and operates the BPL system. As presented below. Here. which is typical of current initial deployment results. common carrier regulations and associated fees and taxes. The FCC also released a new R&O in May 2006 regarding law enforcement and emergency services [35]. The FCC may. • The Wholesale Model: In this model. and other official law enforcement and emergency services requirements by May 14. More specifically. if not all. Of course. still decide to require BPL operators who provide VoIP services to contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF). Currently. • The Service Provider Model: This is the most aggressive model. This model requires the lowest investment from the electric company and provides it with a new source of income along with its existing investments. model for the electric company. the electric company builds out the BPL network and leases it to another company. This number is in line with numbers published in the final BPL report from United Telecom Council (UTC) Research and The Shpigler Group. following enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. As a result of this FCC Order. but offers the greatest potential return on investment (ROI). The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) submits fund size and administrative cost projections for each quarter in accordance with FCC rules. and the BPL network can be used to provide smart-grid services for the electric company. Various estimates show that BPL costs per home passed could range from $50 to $300. the electric company must also market the broadband services. operate. but also the cost over time of maintenance.

BPL operators may choose. [( Cexisting – CBPL) +α [ log2(RBPL) – log2 ( Rexisting )]]}} where α is a weighting factor (e. and the growing availability of reasonably priced standardized and reliable equipment.600 2.200 1. Rasoul Safavian. A simple formulation could be: ven though the importance and direct socioeconomic impact of access to broadband services are well understood. or both. several staff members of the Federal Communications Commission. cable. See Figure 6.. the release of various standards. BPL could play a significant role in bridging the existing digital divide. PBPL becomes null if its cost and data rates are the same as those of existing broadband services. It also depends greatly on the appropriate business models and deployment plans. BPL service penetration PBPL would typically be some function of BPL service cost CBPL . to compete with DSL. and the data throughput of existing services Rexisting [38]. BPL’s future looks very bright! ACKNOWLEDGMENTS O PBPL = Min {100. and other service providers in suburban and urban areas where some sort of broadband services already exists. like that of any new technology in its infancy. As the regulatory uncertainties and interference issues surrounding BPL dissipate. Furthermore. the available data throughput of BPL RBPL . currently only 4 percent of the Earth’s population has access to some type of broadband services. BPL offers a new. But the success of BPL.408 $1. even though deploying BPL in rural areas could be less expensive than deploying DSL. have higher user throughputs). Ironically. it may still be prohibitively expensive per capita. 10 or 20) that reflects the importance of performance versus cost. installation and setup. cable. the service costs of existing broadband services Cexisting . 37]. and other broadband services to homes and businesses by using existing MV and LV power lines. and with the success of many field trials and early commercial deployments. Deployment Costs for Different Access Technologies which compares deployment costs for various broadband technologies [36. prior experience and research have shown that BPL service needs to be either significantly better (e. to be able to convince subscribers to change existing services to BPL or to attract new subscribers to this new technology. or fiber. this would defeat the main reason that the FCC adopted BPL: to accelerate the availability of broadband services in underserved areas. instead. cheaper.) CONCLUSIONS $828 $800 As the regulatory uncertainties and interference issues surrounding BPL dissipate. the road to BPL is becoming increasingly well paved. (Assessing the potential revenue and savings from BPL smart grid services would be the subject of another study. including CPE. Indeed. and David Shpigler of The Shpigler Group. depends on more than strong theoretical results or successful field testing. ne of the authors.g. and with the success of many field trials and early commercial deployments. 16 Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal . and a monthly service fee.007 $900 $1.g.000 0 400 800 Deployment Cost per Subscriber ($) Figure 6. With this in mind. S. typically via DSL or cable modem. Max {0. this formulation does not take into account the value that BPL offers by providing smart-grid services. E 1. the road to BPL is becoming increasingly well paved and broadband over power lines seems to be well energized. would like to express his gratitude for useful discussions with Professor Mohsen Kavehrad of the Electrical Engineering Department at the Pennsylvania State University. Because roughly 60 percent of Earth’s inhabitants have access to power lines. With this in mind. and the growing availability of reasonably priced standardized and reliable equipment.825 In this formulation. Of course.. potentially powerful alternative means of providing high-speed Internet services. VoIP.FTTH Satellite Access Method BPL Cable Modem DSL Wireless $1. the release of various standards. It is also interesting to note that.

4. Carson. Straus and Giroux. Dostert. 44.” BROADWAN Workshop. Vol. No. [21] J.M. 2000. 92–98.” Farrar. A. Howson.asp?category=Home&sid=2). Zaragoza. D’Amore and M. [18] M. 43.W. Las Vegas. No. pp. [23] P. No. [22] M. July 2006. South Africa. Zimmermann and K. “Evaluation of the Interference Potential of PLC Systems. Dostert. Inc. “Interference Characteristics of Broadband Power Line Communication Systems Using Aerial Medium Voltage Wires. [11] S.” Proceedings of the 2006 IEEE International Symposium on Power Line Communications and its Applications (ISPLC-2006). Zurich. pp. 539–554. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] HomePlug Powerline Alliance (http://www. pp. pp. “A Multipath Model for the Powerline Channel. 988–991. Light. “ATC: The Future of Mobile Satellite Services?” TMF Associates report. 50. [14]” IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility. 1292–1303.telenor. LLC. “Technical Considerations for Broadband Powerline (BPL) Communication.homeplug.pdf). Vol. “The Measurement of Broadband over Power Line Emissions.” Energy Summit 2006 (http://www. Vol. EarthLink is a registered trademark of technology/).” IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery. “Wave Propagation in Overhead Wires with Ground Return. Inc. 303–314. 553–559.TRADEMARKS Amperion is a trademark of Amperion. Spain. Dostert. Rapp. March 2006. pp.enrg. Ferreira.” IEEE Transactions on Communications. 2. Vol. Zimmermann and K. [20] P.whitehouse. May 1926.” Bell Systems Technical Journal. “High-Frequency Characteristics of Overhead Multiconductor Power Lines for Broadband Communications. 296–301. “A New Formulation of Lossy Ground Return Parameters for Transient Analysis of Multi-Conductor Dissipative Lines.lsu. 7. C. Vol. 1.” IEEE Proceedings of CCNC 2005. Cuenca. Spain. Gotz. Universal Powerline Association (UPA) (http://www.” IEEE Communications Magazine.asp). “Building the Smart Grid – TXU BPL Initiative” (http://www. Henry. No.G.pdf).L. 4.html). January 1997. T. “Measurements of the Communications Environment in Medium Voltage Power Distribution Lines for Wideband Power Line Communications. P1675 is a trademark of the IEEE. [17] J.” IEEE Conference Proceedings for AFRICON 1996.” IEEE Communications Magazine. and H.S. Lee. Olsen. 558–563. [15] M. pp. [19] conferences/energysummit2006/ Jay_Bradbury_2. and F. Kavehrad. Houle.upaplc. Orlando. pp. 1. [16] M. 3. Amirshahi and M. [24] R. No. 69–74. “Power Line Communications: An Overview. FL.S.utc. O. November 2005 (http://www. M. 78-86. pp. “Promoting Innovation and Competitiveness – President Bush’s Technology Agenda” (http://www. CURRENT Technologies is a registered trademark of CURRENT Communications Group. “Power Line Channel Characteristics and Their Effect on Communication System Design. Friedman. Vol. IL. Cohen. September 1996. Farrar. April” IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications. January 2005. Stellenbosch.pdf). Lauber.” Proceedings of ISPLC 2004. February 2002. United Power Line Council (UPLC) BPL Deployments Map (http://www. 354–358. REFERENCES [1] T.” Proceedings of 15th International Zurich Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC Zurich ‘05).J. Bradbury.pdf).org/ file_depot/0-10000000/0 10000/7966/conman/ BPL+Map+12_12. [12] J. pp. Zhang and page_viewer. February 2005. Number 1 17 . April index. 249–258.html). 4. Chicago. Grove. “Broadband over Power Lines a Foundation for the Utility of the Future. Hooijen. HomePlug is a registered trademark of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. and default/2-06meeting-houle-austin. Sarto. [13] M. de Graaf. IEEE BPL Study Group and Working Group meeting information re Standardization of Broadband Over Power Line Technologies (http://grouper. J. “Analysis and Modeling of Impulsive Noise in Broad-band Powerline Communications. published February 2006/updated August 2006 (http://www. (http://www. Vol. pp.” Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC 2005).S. April 2004. 24. Information about and images of the Earth in a website by The Ozone Hole. 42.solcomhouse. pp. [25] L.html).no/broadwan/ WorkshopNovember2005/ Howson_BROADWAN_Cuenca_Workshop. 5.gulfcoastpower. January 2007 • Volume 5. Open PLC European Research Alliance (OPERA) (http://www. 12. Sabath. pp. Vol. “Transmission Channel Model and Capacity of Overhead MultiConductor Medium-Voltage Power-Lines for Broadband Communications. “The Lexus and The Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization.R. Amirshahi and M. “Technology Outlook for Broadband & Mobile Networks. Kavehrad.

Telecommunications. Vol. and fixed networks. April attachmatch/FCC-04-245A1. as principal engineer at LCC’s Wireless Institute. [34] W. July & August 2004.D.ntia. in the Matter of Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and Broadband Access and Services. satellite communications.doc. “Broadband over Power Line (BPL) Interference: Fact or Fiction?” La Revue des Radioamateurs Canadiens (Canada’s Amateur Radio Magazine). February 2004 (http://hraunfoss. Vancouver. et03-104). 04-295 and RM-10865.80 MHz – Phase 1 Study. December 2006. he progressed through several positions.pdf). He is a Registered Professional Engineer in various states. provides day-to-day oversight for both business development and operational activities in the region. and mechanical engineering disciplines. 18 Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal . [38] P. [31] NTIA Report 04-413. Brown. “Identifying Some TechnoEconomic Criteria in PLC/BPL Applications and Commercialization. Vol. [37] David Shpigler.. [35] FCC 06-56. Canada. 2. May 2003. he was in charge of CDMA-related programs and activities. over an 8-year period at LCC[26] W. Lee received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland. pp. the FCC Notice of Inquiry on Broadband Over Power Line (http://www. he is well served by his background in cellular/PCS. 2006 (http://www. 39–44 (http://www. Rasoul Safavian brings more than 15 years of experience in the wired and wireless communications industry to his position as Bechtel Telecommunications’ vice president of Technology. the regional staff reached approximately 1. his exposure to the leading facets of technology development as well as its financial. Inc.V. files/Barry. Previously. and risk factors. Notice of Proposed Rule Making.500 employees working in 35 markets across the continental United States. [28] H. first as vice president of the Advanced Technology Group at Wireless Facilities. Bechtel 2004/bpl/). released May 2006/finalized December 2006. Americas Regional Business Unit. principal vice president. November 3. 41. [29] Corridor Systems.hraunfoss. 5. Inc. held both functional and operational roles in the fossil power and nuclear business lines. Lee joined Bechtel Corporation in 1974 and.. No. (http://www. and 4G technologies. in the Matter of Amendment of Part 15 regarding new requirements and measurement guidelines for Access Broadband over Power Line Systems and Carrier Current Systems. ET Dockets 04-37 and 03-104. including the plant design. “Potential Interference from Broadband over Power Line (BPL) Systems to Federal Government Radio Communications at 1. In fulfilling this responsibility. Next. fixed microwave. [33] FCC Report and Order 04-245. Malowanchuk. and his extensive academic. [36] “Opportunities in Broadband over Power Line. 234–239. his working experience with major 2G. in the Matter of Carrier Current Systems. as lead systems engineer/senior principal engineer. and a Six Sigma Champion. Lee has served as director of engineering and as the program director of several nationwide wireless programs and a fiber deployment program. edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-29A1. and general manager. including Broadband over Power Line Systems. Gardner.” NTIA. October 2004 (http://www.fcc. “Advanced Signal Processing for Power Line Communications.bopl. then as chief technical officer and vice president of engineering at GCB Services.html). Before joining Bechtel in June 2005. Department of Commerce.fcc. During 2006.” Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Power Line Communications (ISPLC) and its Applications. utc.” Report by The Shpigler Group and UTC Research. Safavian oversaw advanced technology research and development activities. U. and research experience. [30] ARRL comments on ET 03-104. private communication.S. 114–118. Widmer. Volume I.” IEEE Communications Magazine.corridor. Inc. [32] FCC 04-29.arrl. July 2004 (http://www. teaching. ET Docket No. Initially. wireless local loops.5G. April 2004 (http://www. Poor.A. He is charged with establishing and maintaining the overall technical vision for Bechtel’s American markets and providing guidance and direction to its specific technological activities. 100–107. including Broadband over Power Line Systems and Amendment of Part 15 regarding new requirements and measurement guidelines for Access Broadband over Power Line Systems. 41. Dr. He joined Bechtel Telecommunications in 1996 as vice president/manager of engineering and was the initial developer of its engineering department.7 . business.arrl. a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Dai and H. May 2003. and P. 5. [27] B. pp.igigroup. 3G. BIOGRAPHIES Lee Lushbaugh. Liu. “FCC Endorses Broadband over Powerline. civil. Earlier. Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order. Raffin.doc).” IEEE Communications Magazine. before joining Bechtel Telecommunications. Americas. “Broadband PLC Access Systems and Field Deployment in European Power Line Networks.” TechWeb Technology wire/mobile/193501695).pdf).techweb.

He is a senior member of the IEEE and a past official reviewer of various transactions and journals. he assisted key clients with the design. Safavian has spoken at numerous conferences and industry events and has been published extensively. where he has been an adjunct professor for several years. and the University of Kansas. Number 1 19 . where he received his PhD in Electrical Engineering. and was later a member of the visiting faculty. and operation of 3G wireless networks. where he is an affiliated faculty member. January 2007 • Volume 5. was a graduate research assistant. optimization. Dr. including technical papers in the previous three issues of the Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal. as senior technical manager/senior consultant. where he received both his BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering and was a teaching and a research assistant. Purdue University. Safavian is quite familiar with the Electrical Engineering departments of four universities: The George Washington University.he provided nationwide technical guidance for LCC’s XM satellite radio project. deployment. Then. Dr. The Pennsylvania State University.

20 Bechtel Telecommunications Technical Journal .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful