Talk at the 2013 National Instruments Week Conference

Smart Grid Communications

Prof. Brian L. Evans

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Wireless Networking and Communications Group
The University of Texas at Austin

August 7, 2013
Austin, Texas USA

Slides - Software Releases

Notes from IEEE Smart Grid Short Course - Tutorial paper - Video demos of impulsive noise


Smart grids intelligently monitor and control energy flows to improve efficiency and reliability of power delivery. A local utility smart grid receives customer load profiles from smart meters via a data concentrator. Either powerline or wireless communications may be used on each link. Powerline communication (PLC) over the 3-500 kHz unlicensed band is severely limited by interference, e.g. from switching power electronics and wireless signals. We model interference as impulsive noise, develop transceiver methods to mitigate it, and prototype ideas in our NI PLC testbed. Our impulsive noise model has been adopted in the IEEE 1901.2 PLC standard. Next-generation smart meters are likely to deploy the IEEE 802.15.4g-2012 standard and/or the emerging IEEE 802.11ah standard in the unlicensed 900 MHz band. In this band, uncoordinated transmission leads to interference. We show preliminary results in modeling the interference as impulsive noise and developing receiver methods to mitigate it.

This research is supported by National Instruments, as well as SRC GRC ICSS Task 1836.063 with sponsors Freescale Semiconductor, IBM and Texas Instruments. The PLC project Web site is


Prof. Evans holds the Engineering Foundation Professorship at The University of Texas at Austin. He researches embedded real-time digital signal processing for communication and image processing systems. His research group develops theory, algorithms, design methods and full-system testbeds. He has published 200+ peer-reviewed journal/conference papers, and graduated 20 PhD and 9 MS students. He was elevated to IEEE Fellow "for contributions in multicarrier communications and image display". He received a US National Science Foundation CAREER Award.