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Load Profile and Communication Channel Characteristics of the Low Voltage Grid

Abstract

Communication over the power line has become an opportunity for the power distributors to implement new services both for the utilities and for their customers. As the applications evolve, the requirements on the communication system is increased. An efficient communication system should be designed with respect to the characteristics of the power line communication channel and hence, a knowledge of these characteristics is valuable. In this paper, the properties/behavior of the power line communication channel is studied by observing an existing system used on the low voltage grid in a typical application (meter reading). Here we focus on large-scale variations of the channel, e.g. how its quality depends on different time-windows, distances and loads. This study is based on collected data representing communication with 59 households, i.e. 59 communication channels are considered. To investigate the influence of a specific load on the quality of the communication channels, a moveable load was connected to several locations in the grid. Large variations in the quality between the individual communication channels have been found. Furthermore, a period of high energy consumption in the grid, typically mornings and evenings, have a tendency to decrease the quality of the communication channels.

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