Performance Evaluation of Powerline Technology on Low Voltage Distribution Networks

Wills, Lister (2014). Performance Evaluation of Powerline Technology on Low Voltage Distribution Networks. PhD thesis The Open University.



Powerline technology (PLT) employs the electrical distribution network to transmit data in addition to supplying power. PLT is currently employed to provide data networking in many domestic environments, and is expected to play a major part in the development of the forthcoming Smart Grid.

Given that the electrical distribution network was not designed with data transmission in mind, electromagnetic radiation from the network can give rise to interference. Regulators and researchers have considered the impact of such widespread radiation, and investigations of the various aspects of powerline have been conducted over the last decade. Despite this prolonged period, however, there remains a lack of agreement on the typical performance of such networks or the implications for regulation policy.

An accurate model of the radio frequency (RF) properties of the typical electrical distribution network would be extremely valuable in developing standards and informing policy. The aim of this thesis is to provide a cohesive approach to determining the RF characteristics of a typical domestic property and applying such parameters to model the performance of PLT.

The thesis reviews the recent development of broadband PLT, the progress made by the more prominent regulators, and the trials undertaken to define the key parameters affecting propagation. A detailed experimental programme carried out both in the laboratory and at typical sites is described.

An empirical model of the RF performance of a UK domestic low voltage distribution network (LVDN) is developed from analysis of the experimental results. It is shown via this analysis that discrete measurements of the conducted and radiated parameters can be related and that the RF performance of the LVDN can be described by Conversion and Radiated Loss. The radiated field is shown to comprise the combined common mode current to the LVDN and common bonding network (CBN).

The thesis concludes with consideration of the future development of powerline technology, particularly in support of the Smart Grid development.

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