February 20, 2009
Here’s an option for isolated communities looking to get faster, cheaper broadband – use the power lines you already have. This is a rollout in progress by IBM for a group of community electricity collectives serving around 12% of the US electricity market. As a side benefit the power collectives gain computer-aided power monitoring and control functionality they wouldn’t otherwise have. The big gain here is in using existing cabling, of which there is a lot, strung all around the country.
Disclaimer: my day job is with IBM, but I have nothing to do with this, I just like the potential of BPL technology! Thinking of which, BPL, or Ethernet over power in general works just fine in most house-based applications (as opposed to the longer-distance power cabling above), as long as you avoid messy interconnects like power boards. If you have a clean installation it’s fast, easy and available now, off the shelf. Alas I love power boards so a “clean” install is a bit of a dream. Back to WiFi and Cat 5 for me.