Power Line Communications: Understanding the Channel for Physical Layer Evolution Based on Filter Bank Modulation

Andrea M. TONELLO  Alberto PITTOLO  Mauro GIROTTO  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E97-B   No.8   pp.1494-1503
Publication Date: 2014/08/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.E97.B.1494
Type of Manuscript: INVITED PAPER (Special Section on EU's FP7 ICT R&D Project Activities on Future Broadband Access Technologies in Conjunction with Main Topics of 2013 IEICE ICT Forum)
power line communications,  power line channel,  channel model,  filter bank modulation,  

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This paper provides an overview of power line communication (PLC) applications, challenges and possible evolution. Emphasis is put on two relevant aspects: a) channel characterization and modeling, b) filter bank modulation for spectral efficient transmission. The main characteristics of both the indoor channel (in-home, in-ship, in-car) and the outdoor low voltage and medium voltage channels are reported and compared. A simple approach to statistically model the channel frequency response (CFR) is described and it is based on the generation of a vector of correlated random variables. To overcome the channel distortions, it is shown that filter bank modulation can provide robust performance. In particular, it is shown that the sub-channel spectral containment of filtered multitone modulation (FMT) can provide high notching capability and spectral efficiency. Reduced complexity can be obtained with a cyclic filter bank modulation approach that we refer to as cyclic block FMT modulation (CB-FMT) which still provides higher spectral flexibility/efficiency than OFDM.