Digital Powerline (DPL) definition

Digital Powerline (DPL) technology provides the transmission of data to users over the same lines that bring electric power to homes and businesses. Using the Internet's TCP/IP protocol, companies using DPL across the mains electricity grid plan to deliver data at speeds up to 1 Mbps. DPL would allow a user to get Web pages and other Internet information over power lines with a 24-hour continuous connection (since your power lines are always connected). This would free your telephone for voice use. In addition, since many home appliances are attached to the power system, they could easily be addressed as Internet devices when plugged in.

NOR.WEB, a joint venture of Northern Telecom Limited (Nortel) and the UK-based United Utilities PLC, plans to offer a service to users in the UK. Trials of DPL are ongoing in Manchester, UK., and Milan, Italy. Utilities in Sweden and Germany have also shown interest and are planning trials.

The DPL technology has, however, been dogged by allegations that it has failed to overcome line noise on the power grid; in addition concerns have been addressed in certain countries that DPL will cause the power grid to emit unwanted radio frequency (RF) interference. NOR.WEB says, however, that their technology has overcome the line noise problem.

This was first published in March 2010

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