On the capacity of narrowband PLC channels

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50 Scopus citations


Power line communications (PLC) is the central communications technology for the realization of smart power grids. As the designated band for smart grid communications is the narrowband (NB) power line channel, NB-PLC has been receiving substantial attention in recent years. Narrowband power line channels are characterized by cyclic short-term variations of the channel transfer function (CTF) and strong noise with periodic statistics. In this paper, modeling the CTF as a linear periodically time-varying filter and the noise as an additive cyclostationary Gaussian process, we derive the capacity of discrete-time NB-PLC channels. As part of the capacity derivation, we characterize the capacity achieving transmission scheme, which leads to a practical code construction that approaches capacity. The capacity derived in this work is numerically evaluated for several NB-PLC channel configurations taken from previous works, and the results show that the optimal scheme achieves a substantial rate gain over a previously proposed ad-hoc scheme. This gain is due to optimally accounting for the periodic properties of the channel and the noise.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7052380
Pages (from-to)1191-1201
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Power line communications
  • channel capacity
  • cyclostationary noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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