IEEE Approves Baseline Standard for Broadband Power Lines

The Institutes of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Standard Association’s P1901 Working Group recently approved Panasonic’s Wavelet Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) technology baseline standards to allow it to coexist with broadband over power line (BPL) technologies. This baseline technology was proposed by the Consumer Electronics Powerline Communications Alliance, of which Panasonic is a founding member. Wavelet OFDM is used in Panasonic’s proprietary High Definition Power Line Communication (HD-PLC) format that delivers data and multimedia content over existing, in-home power lines at the wall outlet.

Meanwhile, the IEEE P1901 Working Group is finalizing a comprehensive BPL standard for multimedia home networking, power utility smart grids, energy conservation and transportation applications.

“The final adoption of this standard by IEEE is a step towards expanding the market for a technology intended to simplify and enhance a consumers’ ability to access the benefits of high-speed home networking,” said Paul Liao, chief technology officer of Panasonic Corp. of North America.

According to Panasonic, Wavelet OFDM technology offers an advantage because its highly efficient data transmission format operates at lower power consumption. For this reason, Panasonic believes it will help promote a greener environment. Wavelet OFDM also enables high-speed data transmission for both home networking and commercial applications using existing power lines, eliminating the need for additional wiring. Home BPL makes it possible to transmit HD data anywhere in the home to network computers, audio/video equipment and appliances. The technology also is applicable for commercial BPL applications, such as accessing commercial buildings, factories and utility infrastructures. The IEEE P1901 baseline standard using Wavelet OFDM is expected to help advance future BPL applications.

The recently confirmed P1901 baseline technologies will be improved and further refined into a final standard, intended to further contribute to the growth of BPL use. Panasonic intends to continue to secure network connectivity with current HD-PLC product lines and coexist with other BPL products. Panasonic also intends to provide a joint certification program based on IEEE P1901 standards with other organizations, such as the HD-PLC Alliance, which is sponsored by Panasonic. Of course, if BPL continues on this current course, more technicians trained to work with high voltage will be needed as the demand grows.

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Mike Breslin

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Mike Breslin is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. He has 30-years experience writing for newspapers, magazines, multimedia and video production companies with concentration on business, energy, environmental and technical subjects. Mike is auth...

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