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Broadband Power Line (BPL)

A Broadband Power Line (BPL) communications system, also known as a power line telecommunications (PLT) system, is a type of powerline communication (PLC) system capable of providing significantly higher data rates than traditional PLC systems. BPL is a technology that allows data to be transmitted over utility power lines by modulating high frequency radio waves with digital signals from the Internet. BPL typically occupies the frequency range between 0.5 and 30 MHz. They have the potential to provide simplified in-house interconnection of computers and peripherals, and cost effective last-mile delivery of broadband data services. The use of the existing electrical power supply network wiring reduces costs and provides convenient access to broadband interconnection between devices. BPL can achieve data rates of 20-400 Mbps. BPL is effective over short distances, up to one mile, without repeaters and at longer distances of up to tens of miles with repeaters.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), AEP and Amperion have tested BPL over a 69 KV, 5-mile line connecting three AEP stations. The report says that reliable communications at over 10 Mbps, with typical latency of about 5 milliseconds, have been achieved. [1]


BPL meets some of the needs for data communications with Automatic Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Distribution Automation (DA) and Demand Response (DR). It may also serve remote substation supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), phasor measurement unit (PMU) data streaming, station surveillance, extension of utility fiber networks to remote stations, and provide high speed data links between substations. [2, 3]


[1] National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), "Broadband Over Power Lines Could Accelerate the Transmission Smart Grid", Mar 2010. URL: http://www.netl.doe.gov/smartgrid/referenceshelf/articles/06.02.2010_Broadband%20Over%20Power%20Lines.pdf
[2] National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), "Integrated Communications", Feb 2007. URL: http://www.netl.doe.gov/smartgrid/referenceshelf/whitepapers/Integrated%20Communications_Final_v2_0.pdf
[3] Motorola Wireless Broadband solutions: http://motorola.wirelessbroadbandsupport.com/solutions/bpl/

Key Technology Area: 
Integrated Communications

Sample Vendors:

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