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Power line telecommunications option in rural KwaZulu-Natal

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2 Author(s)
Mhlongo, T.E. ; Centre of Excellence in Rural Tecommun., Kwa Zulu-Natal Univ., South Africa ; Afullo, T.J.

Since its introduction in the early 1990's, use of the Internet has exploded. Access to the Internet is fast becoming a need, not just a want, for most homeowners. Ethernet and phone line solutions provide fast, reliable service but require snaking cable to each connection. Network nodes must be identified and placed during construction of new homes. Considerable renovation is required to retrofit older homes or to place additional nodes. Wireless networks provide nodes everywhere. They are ideal for hand-held or battery-operated devices, but the addition of RF conversion hardware makes this an inherently costlier solution. Additionally, wireless networks suffer from security concerns and competing standards. Power line networking uses power lines existing in the home. Nodes are already available throughout the household, making it a low-cost solution. Each room in a residence possesses one, two, or more outlets. Any device requiring power will already be attached to the power line network making it convenient and accessible to low-tech users. Home network users seek three major factors in any solution: ease-of-use, low cost, and ubiquitous node availability. Power line networking delivers all three. So, while it is true that power line networking faces some technical hurdles, it remains a compelling choice. This work starts by describing the power line as a communication medium and then the problems encountered in the power line communication channel in terms of frequency response and noise characteristics. A transmission technique (OFDM) that avoids power line noise and uses the common modulation formats is also explained. Finally, traffic projections are also estimated based on Brady's measurements.

Published in:

AFRICON, 2004. 7th AFRICON Conference in Africa  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

15-17 Sept. 2004