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Power Line Communication
By: Bruce Coker
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    2009-01-07

    Table of Contents:
  • Power Line Communication
  • How does it work?
  • Limitations and risks
  • Which hardware?

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    Power Line Communication - How does it work?


    (Page 2 of 4 )

    From a practical perspective, PLC could hardly be easier to implement. At the heart of the system is the PLC adapter. This truly plug-and-play device can be plugged in wherever there is a standard power socket, providing an Ethernet port to which any standard network device can be connected with a regular Cat5 cable. A pair of such adapters plugged in to sockets in two different rooms forms a quick, simple and easily-extendable network.

    But the real power of the system is immediately apparent. First, moving the network wherever it's needed is a no-brainer. Unlike standard Ethernet which must have cables fed to wherever it's needed, moving the PowerLine network is as trivial as unplugging the adapter in one room and plugging it in again in another. Expanding the network with additional adapters is equally straightforward.

    And performance is usually more than adequate for most modern applications. Although significantly slower than typical Ethernet speeds of up to 100Mbps, PLC nonetheless boasts adapter-dependent speeds rated up to 200Mbps, which is easily fast enough for the transmission of HD video and for gaming.

    An additional benefit is the ease with which different rooms can be hooked up to an existing network. The typical scenario in many homes is an office network based in one room, with a full range of peripherals and services such as printers, storage devices and the Internet connected to it. By linking one PLC adapter to the hub or switch of this existing network and plugging in further adapters elsewhere in the building, all of those services can be made instantly available wherever they're needed.

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