What is Powerline

What is Powerline Communications

Powerline Communication (PLC) is a proven, well-established and recognised technology that enables data transfer at narrow or broadband speeds through the existing electrical cables already installed in the buildings by using advanced modulation technology.

Multiple applications can be carried over the electrical network using PLC such as Ethernet, Internet, Ultra Wide Band, Audio, HDMI, Triple-Play services and Smart Metering among others.

Power Ethernet network

How it works (the techie bit)?

All the PLC units sharing the same power rail are able to communicate with each other and mesh together to create a single switched network. The electrical mains cable is used for data transmission in such a way that all the units can see each other.

A PLC system typically operates by superimposing a modulated carrier frequency on the AC signal carried on a mains power line (usually running at 50Hz). In a basic PLC system the components consist of a transmitter unit capable of sending the communication signal over the AC power line and a receiver unit capable of extracting the communication signal from the AC power and creating a communication layer from it. The signal type for the data is transmitted via a generated modulated RF carrier signal between the PLC devices.

As shown in the Figure below (from left to right) the electrical voltage is big (240v) and modulation is slow (50Hz) compared to the data signal's voltage (Hz versus MHz) which is small (5v) but the modulation (30-200MHz) is fast. The Powerline signal utilises the 50Hz frequency to adapt its signal to make sure that there is no cross interference when combining the waves as they have different frequencies. The overlapping signals are divided and the data signal is extracted by a PLC device which makes possible to send data signals through mains power lines.

Powerline explained


  • High speed data transmission via existing electrical wires
  • Easy to deploy: no need of new wires
  • Fastest and easiest way to setup a network
  • Cost savings: Eliminates cost and disruption of installing CAT5/6 cables
  • Minimises installation disruption
  • Service Quality: Supports QoS
  • Easy to expand -- just add more units