BPL is a gift of the entire HF radio spectrum to a handful of electric utilities BPL might be a "perfect" match It no doubt sounds reasonably attractive at first. An additional competitive source of broadband Internet access to the home, courtesy of the power lines.
Several companies have introduced products, and trials are under way in several places. So what's the problem? But a better way to frame the question is to ask, what's not a problem? BPL is a truly wacky idea, but in the bad sense, one of those half-baked concepts that would never get off the ground if regulators and investors understood what they were talking about!
The idea is to take digital information and modulate it, using wideband spreading techniques, across the shortwave radio spectrum MHz, also known as High Frequency, or HF and feed it onto high-voltage power transmission lines, and put similar transmitters in the neighborhoods for the return path. The sad part is that it kind of works. But then, so does dumping one's raw sewage into the nearest river.
Access BPL: bringing broadband to your home
Both move the goods, but both cause pollution in the process. Transmission lines are not all transmission lines BPL's main problem is that it attemtps to use power transmission lines, designed to carry 60 Hz high-power electricity, as radio transmission lines. Those are two very different tasks! As frequencies rise, alternating current waves become more and more prone to radiate away from their transmission lines. At 60 Hz, this is not a sereious problem. But once frequencies get up into the Megahertz range, it's mighty serious indeed.
Power lines, which are untwisted pairs usually separated by some matter of feet, are not shielded, or in any way designed to confine radio waves that they might happen to be carrying. They act as big antennas. This is in marked contrast with, say, coaxial cable, whose outer layer is usually a grounded shield designed specifically to isolate the signal being carried from its environment.
Coaxial cable is designed to be a radio frequency transmission line.
Telephone cable is tightly twisted hence the moniker "twisted pair" which delivers similar shielding at lower frequencies. Ironically, power lines probably have less attenuation than coax, and thus can carry radio waves a longer distance without regeneration, because they are so big. But for the most part they're too big to shield. The low attenuation theoretically makes BPL potentially attractive in suburban areas, though it is unlikely to be useful in rural areas that currently lack any broadband access.
- Broadband over power lines (BPL)?
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So as a result of this lack of shielding, BPL emits radio frequency interference. Lots of it, and -- being "broadband" -- across lots of frequencies. Americans aren't the world's most avid shortwave radio listeners, to be sure, but if they were, then they'd rapidly notice that BPL systems put out noise all across the shortwave broadcasting bands.
They put noise across the HF amateur radio bands. It's often loud enough to basically obliterate almost everything else! It's within legal limits for unintentional radiation, but those rules were written with the expectation that the unintentional radiator would be a narrowband signal in a single location, not broadband along the entire power line. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Broadband over power lines
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Broadband Over Power LinesMagnaquest Technologies
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- Access BPL: bringing broadband to your home.
- Understanding Broadband over Power Line!
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It reviews power line operations, analyzing how electricity is generated and delivered to consumers, and how the wiring inside buildings forms individual circuits. An appreciation for how technologies work allows for an understanding of how broadband over power line has the potential to provide ubiquitous communications that offer home users, network managers, and LAN administrators with another solution to meet their high-speed networking requirements.
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