For the Grid and Through the Grid: The Role of Power Line Communications in the Smart Grid

Galli, S., Scaglione, A., Wang, Z.

Proceedings of the IEEE, vol.99, no.6, pp.998,1027, June 2011.

Visit Publisher Online Entry:

Are Power Line Communications (PLC) a good candidate for Smart Grid applications? The objective of this paper is to address this important question. To do so, we provide an overview of what PLC can deliver today by surveying its history and describing the most recent technological advances in the area. We then address Smart Grid applications as instances of sensor networking and network control problems and discuss the main conclusions one can draw from the literature on these subjects. The application scenario of PLC within the Smart Grid is then analyzed in detail. Because a necessary ingredient of network planning is modeling, we also discuss two aspects of engineering modeling that relate to our question. The first aspect is modeling the PLC channel through fading models. The second aspect we review is the Smart Grid control and traffic modeling problem which allows us to achieve a better understanding of the communications requirements. Finally, this paper reports recent studies on the electrical and topological properties of a sample power distribution network. Power grid topological studies are very important for PLC networking as the power grid is not only the information source but also the information delivery system-a unique feature when PLC is used for the Smart Grid.

** 2013 Donald G. Fink Award for Best IEEE Proceedings Paper

Publication Status:
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Publication Date:
Copyright Notice:

This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

  1. The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in IEEE publications: "Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/publish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from IEEE."

  2. The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in ACM publications: "© ACM, effective the year of publication shown in the bibliographic information. This file is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in the journal or proceedings indicated in the bibliographic data for each item."

  3. The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in IFAC publications: "Document is being reproduced under permission of the Copyright Holder. Use or reproduction of the Document is for informational or personal use only."