Table of Contents
ISRN Power Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 517940, 30 pages
Review Article

Broadband over Power Lines Systems Convergence: Multiple-Input Multiple-Output Communications Analysis of Overhead and Underground Low-Voltage and Medium-Voltage BPL Networks

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, 9 Iroon Polytechniou Street, Zografou, 15780 Athens, Greece

Received 26 April 2013; Accepted 6 June 2013

Academic Editors: V. Fernao Pires and W. Jaikla

Copyright © 2013 Athanasios G. Lazaropoulos. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This review paper reveals the broadband potential of overhead and underground low-voltage (LV) and medium-voltage (MV) broadband over power lines (BPL) networks associated with multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology. The contribution of this review paper is fourfold. First, the unified value decomposition (UVD) modal analysis is introduced. UVD modal analysis is a new technique that unifies eigenvalue decomposition (EVD) and singular value decomposition (SVD) modal analyses achieving the common handling of traditional SISO/BPL and upcoming MIMO/BPL systems. The validity of UVD modal analysis is examined by comparing its simulation results with those of other exact analytical models. Second, based on the proposed UVD modal analysis, the MIMO channels of overhead and underground LV and MV BPL networks (distribution BPL networks) are investigated with regard to their inherent characteristics. Towards that direction, an extended collection of well-validated metrics from the communications literature, such as channel attenuation, average channel gain (ACG), root-mean-square delay spread (RMS-DS), coherence bandwidth (CB), cumulative capacity, capacity complementary cumulative distribution function (CCDF), and capacity gain (GC), is first applied in overhead and underground MIMO/LV and MIMO/MV BPL channels and systems. It is found that the results of the aforementioned metrics portfolio depend drastically on the frequency, the power grid type (either overhead or underground, either LV or MV), the MIMO scheme configuration properties, the MTL configuration, the physical properties of the cables used, the end-to-end distance, and the number, the electrical length, and the terminations of the branches encountered along the end-to-end BPL signal propagation. Third, three interesting findings concerning the statistical properties of MIMO channels of distribution BPL networks are demonstrated, namely, (i) the ACG, RMS-DS, and cumulative capacity lognormal distributions; (ii) the correlation between RMS-DS and ACG; and (iii) the correlation between RMS-DS and CB. By fitting the numerical results, unified regression distributions appropriate for MIMO/BPL channels and systems are proposed. These three fundamental properties can play significant role in the evaluation of recently proposed statistical channel models for various BPL systems. Fourth, the potential of transformation of overhead and underground LV/BPL and MV/BPL distribution grids to an alternative solution to fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) technology is first revealed. By examining the capacity characteristics of various MIMO scheme configurations and by comparing these capacity results against SISO ones, a new promising urban backbone network seems to be born in a smart grid (SG) environment.