Powerline Communications

The Server

The Digital PowerLine base station is a standard rack mountable system designed specifically for current street electricity cabinets. Typically, one street cabinet contains 12 base station units, each capable of communicating over 1 of 40 possible radio channels. These units connect to the public telecommunications network at E1 or T1 speeds over some broadband service.

Several options, with different costs, can provide broadband Internet service to each base station. The simplest solution is connecting leased lines to each substation. This solution is potentially quite costly because of the number of lines involved. A wireless system has also been suggested to connect base stations to the Internet. This option reduces local loop fees, but increases hardware costs. Another alternative involves running high bandwidth lines, along side electric lines, to substations. These lines could be fiber, ATM, or broadband coaxial cable. This option avoids local loop fees, but is beset by equipment fees. The actual deployment of Digital PowerLine will probably involve a mix of these alternatives, optimized for cost efficiency in different areas and with different service providers.

These base stations typically serve approximately 50 customers, providing over 20 MHz of usable spectrum to near end customers and between 6 and 10 MHz of useable spectrum to far end customers. The server operates via IP to create a LAN type environment for each local service area.


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