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Channel characterization for broadband powerline communications.

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The main limiting factor in broadband powerline communications is the presence of impedance discontinuities in the wired channel. This phenomenon is present in both outdoor and indoor powerline communication (PLCs) channels. It has been established that the impedance of the electrical loads and line branching are the main causes of impedance discontinuities in PLC channel networks. Accurate knowledge of the expected impedances of the corresponding discontinuity points would be vital in order to characterize the channel for signal transmission. However, the PLC channel network topologies lead to different branching structures. Additionally, the existence of a myriad of electrical loads, whose noise and impedance vary with frequency, are a motivation for a rigorous design methodology in order to achieve a pragmatic channel model. In order to develop such a channel model, an approach similar to the one applied in radio propagation channel modeling is adopted, where specific attenuation determined at a point is used in predicting the attenuation for the entire power cable length. Therefore, the powerline is modeled with the assumption of a randomly spread multitude of scatterers in the vicinity of the channel with only a sufficient number of impedance discontinuity points. The line is considered as a single homogeneous element with its length divided into a grid of small areas with dimensions that range from 0.5 to 3 mm. Thus, each small area transmits an echo and the forward scattered response gets to the receiver. With this approach, point specific attenuation along the line is proposed and used to derive the channel transfer function. Measurement results show that both the analytical specific attenuation model developed in this work and the channel transfer function are feasible novel ideas in PLC channel network characterization. It is seen from the measurements that the signal attenuation is directly proportional to the number of branches, and this is in line with the findings of previous researchers. A comparison between the measured values and the simulation results of the frequency response shows a very good agreement. The agreement demonstrates applicability of the models in a practical enviroment. Thus we conclude that the models developed do not require knowledge either of the link topology or the cable models but requires an extensive measurement campaign.


Ph. D. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2014.


Broadband communication systems., Telecommunication systems., Theses -- Electronic engineering.