Narrowband Powerline Communication: Applications and Challenges

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1 Narrowband Powerline Communication: Applications and Challenges Renesas Electronics America Inc.

2 Renesas Technology & Solution Portfolio 2

3 Agenda Powerline Communication 101 Modulation techniques Channel characteristics Applicable regulations Transceiver requirements No New Wires: Where and How Existing and potential applications Implementation challenges and solutions Market Trends Smart grid Standards and technologies 3

4 Powerline Communication 101 Why Powerline Communication? How it works? What are the typical challenges? Are there any applicable regulations? 4

5 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly No New Wires Send data on existing lines that transport electrical power High / Medium / Low Voltage AC/DC power lines Operate by superposing a modulated carrier signal on line voltage Narrowband modulation systems Broadband modulation systems Challenging conditions Unpredictable and widely varying channel characteristics Electromagnetic compatibility restrictions Emerging technologies and applications Slow development of acceptable standards and regulations 5

6 Once Upon a Time 1838 First remote electricity supply metering 1897 First patent on power line signaling 1920s First carrier frequency systems began to operate over high-voltage lines 1930s Ripple carrier signalling was introduced on the medium and low voltage distribution systems 1940s Emerge the expression Power Line Carriers (PLC) 1974 Early directive for transmitted power and frequencies 1980s Home-control PLC devices become available 1990s (X10, CEBus, LonWorks) 1997 First International Symposium on PLC (ISPLC) 2001 HomePlug 1.0 specification released 6

7 Broad and Narrow Narrowband PLC Broadband PLC Data rate Up to 200kbps Over 1Mbps Frequency Up to 500kHz Over 2MHz Modulation Applications Providers FSK, S-FSK, BPSK, SS, OFDM Building Automation Renewable Energy Advanced Metering Street Lighting Electric Vehicle Smart Grid Renesas Maxim ST Microelectronics Texas Instruments Echelon Yitran Cypress Ariane Controls OFDM Internet HDTV Audio Gaming Atheros Maxim Sigma Broadcom Lantiq Marvell 7

8 Single-carrier PLC Technologies FSK, S-FSK, BPSK, ASK An analog carrier signal is modulated by a discrete signal Digital data is represented by a finite number of distinct signals Proven performance (ex: X10, Echelon, ST, Ariane) Low complexity, low power, low cost Limited data rate (typically up to 10kbps) Sensible to narrowband noise (FSK) or phase distortion (PSK) Frequency Shift Keying (FSK) 8

9 Spread-Spectrum PLC Technologies DSSS, DCSK The original narrowband information is spread over a relatively wide band of frequencies The band spread is achieved by means of a higher data rate bit sequence Robust against narrowband noise Low spectral efficiency Limited data rate Few implementations (ex: Yitran) 9

10 Multi-carrier PLC Technologies OFDM A large number of closely spaced orthogonal subcarrier signals are used to carry data Each sub-carrier is modulated with a conventional modulation scheme (such as BPSK, QPSK or QAM) Emerging implementations (ex: PRIME, G3-PLC ) Robust against narrowband noise and multi-path propagation Higher data rates Able to adapt to channel conditions Increased complexity, cost, power consumption Large frequency bandwidth 10

11 Architecture of PLC Transceivers Signal Processing MCU Protocol Networking Application Modem PHY MAC Tx Rx DAC / ADC Filtering Amplification Coupling Circuit Capacitive / Inductive Protection Isolation Power Line AC / DC Power Supply Linear / Switched-mode / Capacitive 11

12 The Grid Transmission Grid High Voltage Lines Substations Medium Voltage Lines Distribution Grid Substations Low Voltage Lines Solar Farms Wind Farms Large Industry Small Industry Commercial Buildings MDU Homes 12

13 The Challenges Harsh medium for data communication Unpredictable and varying characteristics Time Frequency Location Limited and inaccurate theoretical models of power line environment Main technical challenges: Signal attenuation Signal distortion Noise 13

14 Signal Attenuation and Distortion Main causes: Impedance of connected loads Inductive, capacitive or resistive Can be as low as 1 Ohm Multiple phases Power transformers Wire impedance Reflection effects Highly varying with frequency and time Attenuation ranges between 10dB and 60dB 14

15 Noise Generated by loads connected to the power line Time, location and frequency dependent Main types: Continuous noise Time-invariant continuous noise (background noise) Ex: Thermal noise caused by internal circuitry Time-variant continuous noise Ex: inverter-driven fluorescent lamps Impulsive noise Synchronous to AC mains Ex: Thyristor-based light dimmers Asynchronous to AC mains Ex: Switching regulators Single-event impulses Ex: Switches, thermostats, capacitor banks Narrowband noise Ex: Interference from radio stations 15

16 EMC Standards and Regulations Frequency band allocation Maximum output power levels Electromagnetic emissions limits Conducted emissions Radiated emissions US FCC Part 15 for Carrier Current Devices 0kHz 535kHz Canada ICES-006 0kHz 535kHz Japan ARIB STD-T84 10kHz Europe EN kHz Band A Utilities B, C, D Consumer 3kHz 95kHz 148.5kHz 16

17 PLC Transceiver Requirements High transmission power capability Excellent receiving sensitivity High noise immunity Error detection and correction features Medium access mechanism Adjustable communication frequency Compliance with EMC regulations CENELEC EN50065, FCC Part 15, ICES-006, ARIB Data rate adapted to application requirements Low power consumption Low cost 17

18 No New Wires: Where and How Applications and benefits PLC implementations Specific challenges Typical solutions Market trends Smart grid Standards and technologies 18

19 Power Lines are Everywhere Homes & Buildings Lighting Control Energy Monitoring Smart Grid Remote Metering Demand-Response Distributed Energy PV Solar Panels Wind Turbines Dedicated Wires Electric Vehicles Fireworks Systems Connected Cities Street Lighting Traffic Lights 19

20 Home and Building Automation Automated environments in homes, hotels, offices, commercial buildings Energy savings Greater comfort Safety PLC applications: Lighting control Load shedding Energy monitoring PLC challenges: High density of loads Three-phase or split-phase Solutions: Line filters Phase couplers Repeaters Appliance Control Devices Wall Keypad Controllers Remote access Smart Thermostats Remote access Light Control Devices Phase Coupling Unit 20

21 Distributed Renewable Energy Generation Small-scale power generation provides an alternative and an enhancement of the traditional electric power system Reduced distribution losses Increased security Low pollution PLC applications: Solar panel PV systems Wind turbine systems PLC challenges: DC line: High attenuation from central inverter AC line: Three-phase or split-phase power Solutions: Phase couplers Line filters Inductive coupling 21

22 Connected Cities Cities are more and more concerned to manage public lighting Energy savings Reduced maintenance costs Power measurement PLC applications: Street lighting Tunnel lighting Parking lot lighting Traffic lights PLC challenges: Long distances Low line impedance Solutions: Increased Tx power Signal repeaters 22

23 Advanced Metering Infrastructure Systems that collect, analyze and control energy usage through communication with electricity/gas/water smart meters Increased network efficiency Reduced maintenance costs Improved customer service PLC applications: Remote metering Demand Response Fault/fraud detection PLC challenges: Long distances, transformers High noise levels Low line impedance Split-phase and three-phase Solutions: Signal couplers and repeaters Increased Tx power Transformer bypass 23

24 Charging of Plug-In Electric Vehicles Automotive solution for digital communication between charging stations and electric vehicles Safe energy transfer Customer information Access to energy provider PLC applications: AC charging DC charging V2G / V2H demand PLC challenges: PWM Control Pilot signal Noise Cross-talk Solutions: Adapted coupling circuit Reduced Tx power 24

25 Market Trends: Smart Grid Modernization of generation, distribution and utilization of electrical energy based on bidirectional communication between consumers, devices and utilities Improved network reliability, flexibility and efficiency Mix of wired and wireless communication technologies PLC, RS232/485, Ethernet, RF, ZigBee, GPRS, etc. 25

26 Market Trends: Standards and Technologies The fundamental challenge in the Smart Grid is to ensure balance of generation and demand while integrating a large variety of technologies Co-existence Inter-operability Smart-Energy Profile 2.0 (SEP 2.0) provides a common application layer enabling interoperability between technologies for both wireless and wired communication Development of PLC standardization Formal international standards: IEEE , ITU-T G.hn Industrial alliances specifications: PRIME, G3-PLC, HomePlug Green PHY 26

27 Summary Powerline Communication = No New Wires Narrowband vs. Broadband technologies Challenging conditions Power line environment: noise, attenuation, distortion EMC regulations: frequency bands, output power, emissions Power lines are everywhere Homes and Buildings: Lighting control, Energy monitoring Distributed Renewable Energy Sources: Solar Panels, Wind Turbines Connected Cities: Street/Tunnel/Parking Lot lighting systems Utilities: Remote metering, Demand-Response, AMI Dedicated Wires: Plug-in Electric Cars, RS485/RS232 replacement Market trends Smart Grid: application of digital processing and communications to the power grid Coexistence of various communication solutions Wired and Wireless Narrowband and Broadband 27

28 Questions? 28

29 Renesas Electronics America Inc.

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