The PLC (Power Line Communications) technology is an innovative and versatile solution for data transmission through the electrical network installation. As an alternative to both wireless transmission of information via WiFI networks or Ethernet networks, with dedicated cable runs, PLC allows an option that makes use of something that already exists in homes and offices: the existing electrical installation.
The PLC uses the existing wiring of the electrical installation to transmit data.
In essence, it converts the electrical wires of the electrical infrastructure (pre-existing or even a new power line to be installed) into a data communication network. This means that, instead of relying on Ethernet network cables or WiFi signal, already installed electrical wires can be used to send data throughout a home or office.
This can be done by simply purchasing one of the PLC connection modules for sale that feature a traditional plug that connects to the power supply and an Ethernet port. Some of them include their own power connector, so that both power supply and data network are solved with a single device.
PLC technology has a wide range of applications, making it a versatile choice for a variety of communication needs. Here are some of the most common applications:
-Home networks: One of the most popular applications of PLC is home networking by being able to use the home power grid to connect devices such as computers, smart TVs, video game consoles and even IP security cameras. This is especially useful in buildings where the WiFi signal can be weak or spotty.
-Domotics control: PLC technology is used in smart home systems to control devices such as lights, HVAC thermostats and motorized awnings or blinds. This allows automation and remote control of home elements through an existing electrical network without incurring additional works or installations.
-Communications in buildings and offices: In commercial and office environments PLC is used for transmission of both data and voice over the electrical network. This can simplify the cabling infrastructure and reduce costs as there is no need to install a dedicated Ethernet network.
Advantages of PLC over WiFi and Ethernet
Some of the advantages offered by this technology compared to traditional technologies, such as Wi-Fi and Ethernet, would be the following:
-Ease of installation: One of the main advantages of the PLC is its ease of installation. It does not require running additional Ethernet cables or setting up a Wi-Fi network. It simply takes advantage of existing electrical wiring. In the event that the network needs to reach a point where there is not even a power line, it would be sufficient to bring the electrical connection cable to that point in order to have access to the data network at that location.
-Wide coverage: Unlike WiFi signal, which can be affected by obstacles and distances, PLC uses the power grid, providing wider coverage throughout the building. This is especially useful in large homes or multi-story buildings.
-Connection stability: PLC technology tends to be more stable than WiFi connection, as it is not subject to interference from other wireless devices or signal fluctuations. It provides a consistent and reliable connection.
-Broader bandwidth: PLC, particularly the newer versions, can provide significantly higher bandwidth compared to many WiFi networks. This is particularly noteworthy for high-speed data transmission for activities such as 4K video streaming or online gaming.
-Security: Communication over the electrical network is inherently secure, as it is not susceptible to third-party intrusion. In that sense, and unlike WiFi, a wired network (whether Ethernet or PLC) can only be accessed physically and directly. In addition, many PLC systems offer encryption and authentication options to further protect the transmitted data.
-Lower latency: In latency-sensitive applications, such as online gaming or video calls, PLC often offers lower latency compared to WiFi.
Disadvantages of PLC
But not everything is positive, the PLC also has some important limitations:
-Compatibility: Not all electrical wiring is suitable for PLC connection. A professional should verify that the electrical wiring is compatible before implementing this technology.
-Interference: Electrical devices that generate interference can affect the performance of the PLC. It is important to minimize this interference whenever possible.
-Initial cost: Although PLC can save money in the long run by avoiding the need for additional wiring, it can have an upfront cost associated with it, including the purchase of adapters and PLC modules.
-Transfer speed: PLC transfer speed may depend on the quality of the power cables and other factors. In some cases, it may be lower than the theoretical maximum speed.