Power lines (PLC), mainly dedicated and optimized for delivering electricity, are, nowadays, used to transfer data. Its low cost and wide coverage makes it one of the pivotal technologies in building up smart grid. The actual role of PLC technology is controversial while some preconize that PLC systems are very good candidates for some applications others discard it and look at wireless as a more elaborated alternative. It is obvious that Smart Grid will include multiple types of communications technologies ranging from optics to wireless and wireline. Among wireline solutions, PLC appears to be the only technology that has deployment cost comparable to wireless as power installation and line are already existent. Narrowband PLCs are a key point in smart grid that is elaborated to support several applications such as Automatic Meter Reading (AMR), Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), demand side management, in-home energy management and Vehicle-to-grid communications A critical stage in designing an efficient PLC system remains in getting sufficient knowledge about channel behavior characteristics such as attenuation, access impedance, multiple noise scenarios and synchronization. That's why; characterizing power line network has been the interest of several research works aiming to compromise between robustness of powerline communication and higher data rate. This interest in narrowband PLC systems to find the adequate one is inciting to deeply focus on channel characterization and modeling methods. It represents a first step to simulate channel behavior then propose a stand-alone hardware for emulation. Authors are investigating the building blocks of a narrowband PLC channel emulator that helps designers to evaluate and verify their systems design. It allows a reproduction of real conditions for any narrowband PLC equipment (single carrier or multicarrier) by providing three major functionalities: noise scenarios, signal attenuation and zero crossing reference mainly used for single carriers systems. For this purpose, authors deploy a bottom up approach to identify a real channel transfer function (TF) based on a prior knowledge of used power cables characteristics and connected loads. A simulator is, then, defined based on Matlab that generates a given TF according to defined parameters. The AC mains zero crossing variation is also studied. In field exhaustive measurements of this reference have shown a perpetual fluctuation presented as a jitter error. It is the reflection of variant AC mains characteristics (frequency, amplitude) which could be related to non-linearity of connected loads at network and used detection circuit in PLC systems. Authors propose a ZC variation model according to system environment (home/ lab, rural). This model will be embedded on channel emulator to reproduce ZC reference variation. Regarding noise, few models are found in literature, specific to narrowband PLCs. An implementation of some models is done and tested on a DSP platform which will include the two previous elements: TF and ZC variation.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error