Thursday, February 24, 2005

European Researchers Select DS2's 200 Mbps Powerline Technology

The Open PLC European Research Alliance, which brings together electric utilities, telecom companies, equipment suppliers and university research groups under an EU-sponsored program, has selected 200 Mbps power line communications technology developed by chip supplier Design of Systems on Silicon (DS2). This technology has been selected as the baseline to develop and complete the OPERA Power Line Communications (PLC) solution within Work Package 3 of the Project with major contributions from WP partners, notably, ASCOM, ADD, Dimat, Elsys, Mainnet, Mitsubishi, Robotiker, Telvent, University of Dresden, University of Karlsruhe, and Itran. The OPERA PLC solution will be promoted to the European Standardisation organisations.

OPERA is an ambitious industry-led consortium of 37 companies and universities from 10 European countries, with a total budget of EUR 20 million, partially funded by the European Commission under its 6th R&D Framework Programme.

OPERA aims to: (i) improve current low voltage (LV) and medium voltage (MV) PLC systems in particular in relation to couplers, EMC aspects and improving PLC equipment; (ii) to develop optimal solutions for connection of the PLC access networks to the backbone network (Wi-MAX, LMDS, satellite, MV PLC, WI-Fi etc.) so as to reach all end users independent of location, and (iii) to develop "ready to sell services" over PLC technology and design or improve low cost user terminals.

To meet these ambitious objectives, the OPERA Steering Committee endorsed a technology selection process based on the Marketing and Functional Requirement Document submitted by the Standardisation Working Group of OPERA, which includes those from the PLC Utilities Alliance (PUA). Major European utility companies including ENDESA, ENEL, EDF, and IBERDROLA, all of them members of the OPERA Steering Committee, have managed the selection process, that followed an open call for proposals and a test plan to evaluate performance, notching capabilities and industrial maturity of the state of the art available technologies.

The technology selection process is the first step in a process that will produce multiple sources of future standard, interoperable PLC equipment. Field trials are scheduled to start from mid-June 2005.


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