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With the decision to construct the smart grids around China, the power line communications (PLC) on the low-voltage (LV) distribution networks have become one of the potential technologies to commute the information between the end users and the power provider. In order to provide communications services with different priorities under the smart grids environment, it is a must to design a completely new PLC system with variable information rate, which means understanding of the LV PLC channel characteristics become vital. This paper presents the measurement results of channel properties of LV PLC systems after giving a general overview of the topologies for the typical LV distribution networks in China. The testing results show that the main reason influencing the reliable communication of high-speed data of power line is the attenuation of the high-frequency signal, which exhibits more obviously in the branch of power line. It is almost impossible to use the frequency range from 10 to 20 MHz for the reliable communications from distribution transformer to end user, so it must be solved with the aid of such means as the repeater and the modulation schemes. Considering the signal's attenuation, the lower frequency range from 2 to 10 MHz is more suitable for the high-speed data access system. Based on the general topologies of the LV distribution networks, a new method with the help of the reflection matrix based on the multiconductor transmission line theory is proposed to model the channel transfer functions, taking into account of the source inner impedance matrix. The simulation results fit the measured data quite well and verify the feasibility of the proposed modeling scheme.