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In this article, signal processing techniques to combat the adverse communications environment on power lines are addressed, so as to enable reliable high speed data communications over low-voltage power distribution networks for Internet access and in-home/office networking. It is seen that multicarrier code-division multiple access, multiuser detection, and turbo decoding, having demonstrated their limit-approaching capacity in DSL and wireless communication systems, are readily applied to power line communications. In particular, it is argued that these methods can successfully mitigate the influence of the principal impairments in PLC channels: time-varying channel attenuation, multipath frequency-selective fading, multiple access interference, and background noise. Strategies to deal with the most unfavorable noise source, the impulse noise, are also discussed.
Date of Publication: May 2003