Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Broadband Over Power Lines....Real Or A Fantasy?

Broadband Over Powerlins (BPL) technology enables businesses and homes to receive Internet services through their existing electrical lines. This means that customers can download movies, music, news in any room in their homes or offices through electrical outlets, at fast speeds, and often at lower prices than they are currently paying for Cable TV and Internet access. Speeds can range up to 200 Mbps full-duplex, a much faster and a more robust bandwidth in comparison with what is attainable with current DSL or cable modem broadband access technologies.

I was under the impression this technology would not work well in the US, due to the massive number of transformers the US uses, as opposed to the UK. This technology is in place in numerous UK areas, mainly because of the sparsity of the transformers used there.

Digging further I learned that factoring the possibility of interference via transformers is primarily based on the type of BPL service connection used, Low voltage or Medium voltage. So far tests have shown that the signal to noise ratio using low voltage connectivity infinitesimal. Since the range of a low voltage is typically 5 miles the amount of transformers deployed to service customers in that range would be low. So creating subnets with radii of 5 miles would be a significant improvement.

If anyone has any thoughts or insights...by all means leave a comment and share them. BPL looks interesting. But is it real or a fantasy?


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