Broadband over Power Lines

  Wendy J 10:51 05 Aug 2005

Our village in France is applying for PLC (power line communications). Has anyone any experience of this?

I've had a quick look at the info available on the web. It seems that there will be a satellite at the townhall receiving the internet by satellite which will then be distributed to subscribers via the powerlines. So basically all one will need is a PLC modem which decode the signal from any electrical socket in your house. It all sounds so simple, but I just wondered if there were any practical problems with it. Especially doing away with the telephone connection and using VOIP. For instance how will another person be able to ring you?

  Diemmess 11:26 05 Aug 2005

Are you sure that PLC will substitute for previous telephone network? It may well be a neat way of connecting BB, but I would think the "old fashioned" telephone system will continue as before.

Old Fashioned may be inappropraite to describe the French telephone system, even 30 years ago it seemed to knock spots off our "old fashioned" system.

  €dstowe 11:44 05 Aug 2005

When my studio was in London, I took part in an experiment on powerline Internet and networking. It was a disaster at the time (3 years ago) because there was so much electrial noise on the power that it swamped any digital signals.

Things have probably improved now but don't hold out too much hope.

  Graham ® 11:44 05 Aug 2005

With Skype, you can call and receive calls from ordinary telephones - Skype Out and Skype In.

  Batch 12:26 05 Aug 2005

I would guess one great advantage of using the power circuits is that you'd probably be able to plug in (or move around) the broadband modem anywhere in the property without having to worry about recabling.

  Bagsey 12:27 05 Aug 2005

Theoretically it should work. After all you are only superimposing a digital signal on to a line carrying an analogue signal. The general power ring main is opperating at 50 cycles so a filter specifically made to cover that frequency range should do the trick, as per the present digital, analogue filter we use. However we must remember that the signal down a power line is not necessarily constant due to surges as various pieces of machinery switches on and off. Fridges , washing machines etc. come to mind as culprits in our homes, these surges will create a lot of spurious noise on the line and would need aome serious filtering to control.
When I was a young boy living in a little village in Yorkshire some of us lads, after a physics lesson at school decided that we could use the neutral line on the ring main to run a phone link through our houses. We used the neutral and earth lines to carry a signal from a pair of head phones in each house all linked in parallel so that we could chat. This worked very well until a new kid tried to join in and used the live line instead. Of course he blew his phones and the company fuse which messed up our system because my father who was the village policeman was not impressed.Nore was the electricity company.
So I would say yes it is possible but would need a lot of engineering to sort out the expected problems.

  spuds 12:52 05 Aug 2005

There is quite a mass of information about PLC available, and a number of places around the world are experimenting on the idea as a community based provision for the future. Thing seem to have improved over the last year or two, as all modern technology progresses.

click here [abode required]

  Stuartli 13:08 05 Aug 2005

Also see this recent thread:

click here

  Aspman 14:52 05 Aug 2005

I worked at a school that used (and still does) powerline broadband.

Worked fine there. Been overtaken by cheaper and more widespread ADSL now.

It was data only not VoIP.

  VCR97 20:21 05 Aug 2005

It does not only suffer from interference but will generate inteference. For tech. info. have a look at click here

  VCR97 20:24 05 Aug 2005

That doesn't work. Go to click here and look for emc in the "Quick Links" on the left of the page.

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