IEEE Approves Standard Supporting Low-Frequency, Narrowband PLC and Smart-Grid
IEEE has approved the IEEE 1901.2™ "Standard for Low-Frequency (less than 500kHz) Narrowband Power-Line Communications for Smart-Grid Applications." The achievement has been driven and is sponsored by the Power-Line Communications (PLC) Standards Committee of the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc). Designed to specify secure PLC at data rates up to 500kbps and at transmission frequencies of less than 500kHz for applications, IEEE 1901.2 addresses low-frequency, narrowband PLC over low-voltage lines of less than 1000V between transformer and meter, through transformer low-voltage to medium-voltage (1000V up to 72kV) and through transformer medium-voltage to low-voltage power lines in both urban and in long-distance (multi-kilometer) rural communications.
â€œThe IEEE 1901.2 standard raises the bar of performance with mandatory differential and robust coherent modulation, with added enhancements for increased data rates greater than 300kbps,â€ said Jim LeClare, chair of the IEEE Low-Frequency Narrowband Power-Line Communications Working Group. â€œThe design potential for low-frequency, narrowband OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) Power-Line Communications (PLC) has expanded past the energy industry, with designs spanning the globe in industrial automation, transportation, street lighting, mining, medical applications and more.â€
In August 2013, IEEE 1901.2 completed its first sponsor ballot, which paved the way for its approval. Because the standard was natively designed for the modern smart grid, it leverages techniques and recent innovations in communications technology and the smart grid security framework. Comprised of three foundational componentsâ€”physical/medium access (PHY/MAC) layer, coexistence and electromagnetic-compatibility (EMC) requirementsâ€”IEEE 1901.2 supports the balanced and efficient use of the PLC channel by all classes of low-frequency and narrowband devices. The standard defines detailed mechanisms for coexistence among standard technologies operating in the same frequency band.
â€œOver a two- to three-year time frame, the IEEE 1901.2 working group has worked very hard to bring this standard from draft form to full approval,â€ said Oleg Logvinov, vice chair of IEEE Low-Frequency Narrowband Power-Line Communications Working Group and director of special assignments, Industrial and Power Conversion Division, STMicroelectronics. â€œI would like to extend a hearty congratulations to the entire working group for reaching this milestone. Having this standard widely available is paramount to the forward progress of technologies provided by semiconductor manufacturers, meter and systems manufacturers, software developers, service providers, utilities and more.â€