T&D World Magazine

IEEE P1901.2 Standard for Low-Frequency, Narrowband Power Line Communications Enters Letter Balloting

IEEE P1901.2 – Standard for Low Frequency (Less Than 500 kHz) Narrow Band Power Line Communications (PLC) for Smart Grid Applications — has entered its final approval process in the Working Group. Letter ballot on the draft standard supporting indoor and outdoor communications over low-voltage power lines opened Dec. 20, 2011, and will continue through Jan. 25, 2012.

"Smart Grid projects worldwide are moving ahead, and broad adoption of flexible, globally applicable standards such as IEEE P1901.2 for low-frequency, narrowband PLC (power-line communications) are needed now to accelerate wider-scale rollout," said Jim LeClare, chair of the IEEE P1901.2 Working Group. "More than 30 semiconductor manufacturers, meter and systems manufacturers, software developers, service providers and utilities have contributed to the work of the IEEE P1901.2 Working Group since its inception in fall 2009, and this broad base of participation has been crucial in helping us grow industry consensus and develop a globally meaningful and useful standard."

Sponsored by the Power Line Communications Standards Committee of the IEEE Communications Society external link (ComSoc), the foremost international forum for the exchange of ideas on communications and information networking, IEEE P1901.2 is designed to specify secure PLC at data rates up to 500kbps and at transmission frequencies of less than 500kHz for applications such as grid to utility meter, electric vehicle (EV) to charging station, home area networking and lighting and solar-panel communications. The standard addresses low-frequency, narrowband PLC over low-voltage lines of less than 1000 V between transformer and meter, through transformer low-voltage to medium-voltage (1000 V up to 72 kV) and through transformer medium-voltage to low-voltage power lines in both urban and in long distance (multi- kilometer) rural communications. IEEE P1901.2 supports the balanced and efficient use of the PLC channel by all classes of low-frequency, narrowband devices by defining detailed mechanisms for coexistence among standard technologies operating in the same field, data rate and frequency band.

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