IEEE Signal Processing Magazine,
vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 116-127, Sep. 2012.
Local Utility Powerline Communications in the 3-500 kHz Band:
Channel Impairments, Noise, and Standards
Marcel Nassar (1),
Jing Lin (1),
Yousof Mortazavi (1),
Anand Dabak (2),
Il Han Kim (2) and
Brian L. Evans (1)
(1) Department of Electrical
and Computer Engineering,
Wireless Networking and Communications Group,
The University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, TX 78712 USA
(2) Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX USA.
Smart Grid Communications Research at UT Austin
Future Smart Grid systems will intelligently monitor and control energy
flows in order to improve the efficiency and reliability of power delivery.
This monitoring and control requires low-delay, highly reliable
communication between customers, local utilities and regional utilities.
A vital part of future Smart Grids is the two-way communication links
between smart meters at the customer sites and a (decentralized) command
and control center operated by the local utility.
To enable these two-way communication links, narrowband powerline
communication (PLC) systems operating in the 3-500 kHz band are
attractive because they can be deployed over existing outdoor power lines.
Power lines, however, have traditionally been designed for one-directional
power delivery and remain hostile environments for communication signal
In this article, we review signal processing approaches to model channel
impairments and impulsive noise and mitigate their effects in narrowband
We examine ways to improve the communication performance based on current
and emerging standards.
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