Power Line Carrier Communication (PLCC)
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Written By:Ashok Sharma
Different communication technologies are being used for the transmission of information from one end to another depending on the feasibility and needs. Some include Ethernet cables, fiber optics, wireless transmission, satellite transmission, etc. A vast amount of information travels through the entire earth every day and it creates an essential need for a transmission medium that is not only fast but economically reasonable as well. One of the technologies that fit in the above stated criteria is PLCC.
PLCC, Power Line Carrier Communication, is an approach to utilize the existing power lines for the transmission of information. In today’s world every house and building has properly installed electricity lines. By using the existing AC power lines as a medium to transfer the information, it becomes easy to connect the houses with a high speed network access point without installing new wirings.
This technology has been in wide use since 1950 and was mainly used by the grid stations to transmit information at high speed. Now a days this technology is finding wide use in building/home automation as it avoids the need of extra wiring. The data collected from different sensors is transmitted on these power lines thereby also reducing the maintenance cost of the additional wiring. In some countries this technology is also used to provide Internet connection.
The idea of using an existing medium to send the communication signals is as old as the telegraph itself. But it had not been possible until the recent decades. The first significant step in the field was when two patents were issued to American Telephone and Telegraph Company in the name of 'Carrier Transmission over Power Circuits' in 1920. After four years later in 1924 two other patents were filed for the systems transmitting and receiving communication signals over three phase power lines.
Harsh characteristics of the power cables were the key problem in further development. Researchers were involved to overcome the unpredictable characteristics of the power lines. Since the early 1980, spread spectrum power line communication was the main focus of the research. This technology is now developed far better than that initial improvement and is promising a reliable utilization in home automation and security systems.
Applications of PLCC
PLCC technology can be deployed into different types of applications in order to provide economic networking solutions. Hence merging with other technologies it proves useful in different areas. These are few key areas where PLC communications are utilized:
a. Transmission & Distribution Network: PLCC was first adopted in the electrical transmission and distribution system to transmit information at a fast rate.
b. Home control and Automation: PLCC technology is used in home control and automation. This technology can reduce the resources as well as efforts for activities like power management, energy conservation, etc.
c. Entertainment: PLCC is used to distribute the multimedia content throughout the home.
d. Telecommunication: Data transmission for different types of communications like telephonic communication, audio, video communication can be made with the use of PLCC technology.
e. Security Systems: In monitoring houses or businesses through surveillance cameras, PLCC technology is far useful.
f. Automatic Meter Reading – Automatic Meter reading applications use the PLCC technology to send the data from home meters to Host Central Station.