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Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Volume 2011, Article ID 154040, 12 pages
Review Article

A Review of Wireless and PLC Propagation Channel Characteristics for Smart Grid Environments

1Department of Electrical Engineering, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, ENB-118, Tampa, FL 33620, USA
2Power Center for Utility Explorations, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, ENB-118, Tampa, FL 33620, USA

Received 21 March 2011; Revised 13 August 2011; Accepted 14 August 2011

Academic Editor: Nikos Sagias

Copyright © 2011 Sabih Güzelgöz et al. 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.


Wireless, power line communication (PLC), fiber optic, Ethernet, and so forth are among the communication technologies on which smart grid communication infrastructure is envisioned to be built. Among these, wireless and PLC-based solutions are attractive considering the cost of initial deployment. Wireless communication deployment in smart grid covers a variety of environments such as indoor, outdoor, and electric-power-system facilities. Similar diversity is expected in PLC deployment as well covering low voltage (LV), medium voltage (MV), and high voltage (HV) segments of the grid. In spite of being attractive, wireless and PLC channels are very harsh posing great challenges to performance of communication systems. In proposing solutions to smart grid communication needs, two approaches are likely to be followed. One is based on the use of existing wireless and PLC technologies with some modifications, and the other relies upon developing novel communication protocols particularly addressing the smart grid needs. Both of these approaches require an in-depth knowledge of communication channel characteristics. The aim of this study is to reveal the wireless and PLC channel characteristics of smart grid environments in terms of several parameters such as path loss and attenuation, time dispersion, time selectivity, amplitude statistics, and noise characteristics.