The international standardization of Power Line Communications (PLC) by IEEE is in its final stages. The draft for this standard, which uses HD-PLC technology as the baseline, was completed in July 2009. A new version of the document (draft v2.0), which reflected the opinions of various industry manufacturers, was approved in December 2009 and subsequently released. Further, draft v3.0 was released in March 2010, which took the standard from being discussed in a working group to being reviewed by the IEEE review committee.
In order to be able to release the international standard as an IEEE official standard by the end of 2010, it is necessary to proceed with amending the standard in accordance with the review’s findings. Since several drafts have already been released, manufacturers are already in a position to start developing PLC equipment based on the international standard. This should fuel the market to grow at a rapid pace.
|Dec. 2008||Approval of basic HD-PLC technology and combined technology with other formats as baseline technology for IEEE standard|
|Jul. 2009||Draft completed with specifications based on the baseline|
|Latter part of 2009||Collected opinions about the draft from manufacturers in the industry|
|Dec. 2009||Draft v2.0 reflecting the opinions collected is released and made public|
|Mar. 2010||Draft v3.0 approved by IEEE committee|
|Fall 2010（scheduled）||Final check by IEEE standardization committee|
|End of 2010（scheduled）||Official approval as IEEE standard|
Discussions with Unprecedented Speed
The international standard for PLC, created by IEEE, includes all the specifications for the physical layer and the MAC layer above it, used in HD-PLC, making it compatible with HD-PLC products. Coexistence specifications to prevent communication interference between equipment of different PLC formats are also included.
In the past, having equipment of different PLC formats on the same network would cause communication to halt. However, with the new international standard, equipment of different PLC formats will be able to coexist. Users can now set up networks with ease, without having to think about differences in equipment (and formats).
Over 5,000 comments were received by the standardization committee from engineering experts, associations, and research institutes in the industry between the release of the first draft in July 2009 and the third draft in March 2010. The number of comments is a surprise in itself, but the speed in which those comments were reflected into the draft was also a surprise. This process is normally said to take 2 years, but due to the cooperation of manufacturers, the committee processed the opinions in just 6 months. This shows the high degree of expectation from manufacturers hoping for early standardization.
Draft v3.0, which was released in March 2010, will officially become IEEE1901 standard after the sponsor committee, the committee that ranks above the IEEE P1901 working group, holds a review. It is likely that the final content will be very similar to that of draft v3.0. This is why the development of PLC equipment for the international standard has already begun based on that draft. A flurry of new equipment will most likely hit the market as soon as the official IEEE standard is approved at the end of 2010.
HD-PLC: Possibilities for Innovation for the Environment
One of the reasons HD-PLC has won such support is the possibility of it making a big impact in lessening the burden on the environment. HD-PLC will have less of an impact on the environment, based on the concept of ‘Green Ubiquitous’, allowing for a world where users can connect to the network from anywhere they want. Considering the environment is a must for society as a whole, and all industries and companies must be environmentally conscious when striving for improved efficiency and creativity. HD-PLC has won wide support for providing the possibility of innovation for the environment in various areas.
<Examples of Environmentally Conscious Practices using HD-PLC>
- Reduction of LAN cables and power cables
- Reduction of electricity consumption of PLC communication modem
- Reduction of electricity by Smart Grid application
(eco-monitor, automatic meter reading, electricity control)