IEEE (Piscataway, NJ USA) has announced that the final IEEE 1901 Broadband over Power Line (BPL) standard was finalized in December 2010 and is now available at its website. Sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society, this BPL standard is designed for use in a wide range of applications including smart energy, transportation and Local Area Networks (LANs) in both the home and the enterprise.
Networking products that fully comply with IEEE 1901 are to deliver data rates in excess of 500 Mbps in LAN applications. In first-mile/last-mile applications, IEEE 1901-compliant devices are to achieve ranges of up to 1500 meters. The technology specified by IEEE 1901 uses modulation techniques to transmit data over standard AC power lines of any voltage at transmission frequencies of less than 100 MHz.
In the transportation sector, for example, the standard’s data rates and range make it possible to deliver A/V entertainment to the seats of airplanes, trains and other mass transit vehicles. Electric vehicles can download a new entertainment playlist to the A/V system while the car is charging overnight.
In the home, PLC should complement wireless LANs by providing a link through walls and other RF impediments as well as over distances beyond the normal range of wireless networks. It should complement wireless networks in hotels and other multistory buildings by carrying multimedia data over the longer distances and allowing wireless to complete the communication link over the last few meters.
IEEE 1901 should also benefit utilities, service providers, and consumer electronics companies – anyone with a stake in smart grid technologies – as well as smart-meter providers and home appliance manufacturers.