Interesting results from research at Penn State:
Penn State engineers have developed a new model for high-speed broadband transmissions over U.S. overhead electric power lines and estimate that, at full data rate handling capacity, the lines can provide bit rates that far exceed DSL or cable over similar spans. Dr. Mohsen Kavehrad, the W. L. Weiss professor of electrical engineering and director of the Center for Information and Communications Technology Research, led the investigation. He says, “Although broadband power line (BPL) service trials are now underway on a limited basis in some locations in the U.S., these trials run at DSL- comparable rates of 2 or 3 megabits per second.
“We’ve run a computer simulation with our new power line model and found that, under ideal conditions, the maximum achievable bit rate was close to a gigabit per second per kilometer on an overhead medium voltage unshielded U.S. electric power line that has been properly conditioned through impedance matching. The gigabit can be shared by a half dozen homes in a neighborhood to provide rates in the hundreds of megabits per second range, much higher than DSL and even cable.”
Kavehrad adds, “If you condition those power lines properly, they’re an omni-present national treasure waiting to be tapped for broadband Internet service delivery, especially in rural areas where cable or DSL are unavailable.”