IEEE Wireless Communications Magazine, submitted June 1, 2019.

Hybrid Powerline/Wireless Diversity for Smart Grid Communications: Design Challenges and Real-time Implementation

Junmo Sung (1), Mostafa Sayed (2), Mahmoud Elgenedy (3), Brian L. Evans (1), Naofal Al-Dhahir (3), Il Han Kim (4), and Khurram Waheed (5)

(1) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Wireless Networking and Communications Group, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX USA -

(2) Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., San Jose, CA USA

(3) Department of Electrical Engineering, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX USA -

(4) Texas Instruments Inc., Dallas, TX USA

(5) NXP Semiconductors, Austin, TX USA

Paper Draft

Smart Grid Communications Research at UT Austin


Smart grids manage an intelligent energy delivery network enabled by two-way communications between data concentrators operated by utility companies and smart meters installed at the end users. In particular, dynamic power-grid loading and peak load management are the two main driving forces for bidirectional communications over the grid. Narrowband power line communications (NB-PLC) and wireless communications in the unlicensed frequency band (sub-1 GHz or 2.4 GHz) are the two main communications technologies adopted to support the growing smart grid applications. Moreover, since NB-PLC and unlicensed wireless links experience channel and interference with markedly different statistics, transmitting the same information signal concurrently over both links significantly enhances the smart grid communications reliability. In this article, we compare various diversity combining schemes for simultaneous power line and wireless transmissions. Furthermore, we developed a real-time testbed for the hybrid PLC/wireless system to demonstrate the performance enhancement achieved by PLC/wireless diversity combining over a single link performance.

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Last Updated 06/02/19.