HD-PLC Alliance

The IEEE Standard for Coexistence between Different PLC Systems

HD-PLC Alliance was an exhibitor at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES, January 7–10, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA), the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show. With the ratification of draft 2.0 in late 2009 by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) P1901 working group, tasked with standardizing high-speed power line communication (PLC), the industry expects the era of internationally standardized high speed PLC to soon become a reality.

The scene in front of the HD-PLC Alliance's booth

Presenting the IEEE P1901 draft 2.0 ratification

Approval of High-Speed PLC Standard is Fast Approaching

The specification draft 2.0 from the IEEE P1901 working group was approved by the working group and published on January 4, 2010. Among the show-goers who visited the HD-PLC Alliance booth at CES, the heightened interest of the many who stopped to read the article presenting the approval of draft 2.0 was palpable. Between drawing up draft 1.0 in July of last year to the publication of draft 2.0, work has been progressing at a fever pitch. Deciding on the standard specifications within the year has become a distinct possibility.
With the announcement by IEEE-SA, the parent organization of IEEE, of the release of draft 2.0 and the press release touching on the development of a standard for smart-grid technologies by the IEEE—to be under the purview of P1901—interest in the smart grid applications being presented at the HD-PLC Alliance booth was also high.

Demo at the main stage

Demo at the main stage

A Proactive Approach to the Smart Grid, and Product Demos

At the main stage, demos were given touting how easy it is to set up and connect to the internet with HD-PLC, improved conveniences long sought after. Also on stage were: Electric Monitoring System (prototype), which visually shows the amount of electricity usage within a Smart Grid-era home, and PLC Bridge Board and Electric Meter Multiplexer (prototypes), to be used on the Smart Grid to connect the information about electricity both inside and outside the home. Through the use of easy-to-understand graphics and animation, applications of “Smart Electricity”—“new” energy such as solar-generated electricity and electric cars—and the Smart Grid, which increases efficiency of electricity use were introduced. The interest of the show-goers was visible: many stopped at the Smart Grid display and demonstrations to ask questions and take pictures. To show how HD-PLC can be integrated with televisions, a television’s network port was connected to an HD-PLC adaptor connected to the internet, allowing videos on YouTube to be enjoyed on a large-screen television.

Electric Monitoring System, which through HD-PLC visually shows the amount of electricity usage
As an example, the device was connected to an electric fan and measured its electricity use. (Prototype by Panasonic)

The “Power HD Link” network video streaming device allows you to watch full HD video from anywhere in your house.
(Prototype by AverLogic and Fujitsu Microelectronics America)

Electric Meter Multiplexer for the Smart Grid
Used as an extension to a home’s external electricity meter. Multiple signals can be controlled at the electricity meter. (Prototype by ACN)

Devices with Integrated HD-PLC: Small and Compact

Until now, most devices presented at HD-PLC Alliance exhibits would connect to an HD-PLC adaptor, but for future devices, a new trend is afoot. AverLogic Technologies (Taiwan) and Fujitsu Microelectronics America (U.S.) presented their HD-PLC–compliant, video streaming device, “Power HD Link”. This device uses the H.264 video codec to encode and send high-definition video to a television at a separate location. The current unit connects to an HD-PLC adaptor to transmit data over power lines, but the manufacturers are considering developing a version that integrates HD-PLC functionality in the box, which will allow a future set-top box to send video data directly through the power cable. Doing so will allow for the creation of more stylish devices, with less clutter from wires. AOpen (Taiwan) connected an HD-PLC–ready power strip with surge filters, made by OEM manufacturer GigaFast (Taiwan) to its network-enabled digital signage player during its exhibit and demo.

The "Power HD Link" network video streaming device allows you to watch full HD video from anywhere in your house.
(Prototype by AverLogic and Fujitsu Microelectronics America)

With just a power outlet, you can set up the HD-PLC–ready digital signage system. (Prototype by AOpen)

Collaborative Exhibition with Chinese Home Network Industry Group IGRS

For the first time as an Alliance member, the China-based home network standardization body called IGRS (Intelligent Grouping and Resource Sharing) participated in the HD-PLC Alliance member exhibition corner. IGRS, which is comprised of 132 of the major computer and home appliance manufacturers in China, is considering HD-PLC as the standard for power-line communications in China, and has formed a partnership with the HD-PLC alliance. This year, a test HD-PLC adaptor, currently being jointly standardized by the two groups, was used under the IGRS brand to demonstrate streaming IPTV. At IGRS’s own exhibit booth at CES, they presented the same IPTV streaming video demonstration using the test unit and a Panasonic-brand HD-PLC adaptor, indicating the collaborative efforts between both parties.

Sample of HD-PLC adaptor SX-PLC01, presented under the IGRS brand. (Prototype by IGRS)

In addition to the items mentioned above, the HD-PLC Alliance booth highlighted the continued adoption of HD-PLC technologies, containing a showcase of HD-PLC–ready devices and a board presenting the HD-PLC Alliance’s activities. HD-PLC–ready devices include a wide assortment of PLC adaptors including routers with integrated HD-PLC functionality and signal carriers, and PLC accessories such as power strips, hubs and noise filters. Through the wide assortment of devices taking advantage of this technology, the continued future of HD-PLC was apparent at the booth.

Showcase of HD-PLC–ready devices

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