EMC Standards Activities

Broadband Over Power Lines (BPL) Communications Takes Front Stage
The EMCS Standards Development Committee (SDCom) is fully engaged in what is needed to standardize EMC measurements of emissions from power lines which will be (some installations are already on line) sending data to customers who simply plug their computer into the power outlet. The data of course will be what we now get by our Internet access via cable, satellite, or dial up telephone connection. BPL typically occupies between 5 and 25 MHz of spectrum to operate in the frequency range between 2 and 80 MHz. Hence, BPL energy and emissions are found over a relatively broad band of frequencies that are used by radio services. Therein is the issue as these radio services should not be degraded but at the same time, the BPL should also be allowed to be present providing the EMC aspects of non-interference is maintained with the radio services.
The SDCom at its 7 March meeting in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina discussed in some depth the subject and the role of the EMC Society and its SDCom on this topic. In particular, Don Heirman presented the history of the EMC standards proposal for making radiated emission measurements of BPL signals and the involvement of the IEEE Power Engineering Society (PES) which is very interested in this subject for obvious reasons as the power line is the transmission medium. Then SDCom member Ed Hare described the emission measurements he has made and the potential for interference to radio services including those of the amateur radio operators working in the same frequency band as BPL. This was then followed by a discussion by the SDCom chair, Stephen Berger, who indicated the need for EMCS involvement in any standard that has in its scope EMC measurements such as one that is being proposed by the PES. A motion was made and approved to request that this project (identified as P1775) be co-sponsored by both the PES and EMCS. To further solidify the SDCom interest in this project, a motion was made and approved that an EMCS study group be formed on the subject.

ANSI Subcommittee 1 members enjoy some social time following their Spring committee meeting held at IEEE in Piscataway, New Jersey, including (from left) Ed Hare of the American Radio Relay League, Ken Hall of Hewlett Packard, Mike Windler of UL, Janet O’Neil of ETS-Lindgren, Jeffrey Silberberg of the FDA, and Dan Hoolihan of Hoolihan EMC Consulting.

Stephen Berger then described the project working group meeting activities, noting that there is a meeting that he is planning to attend this June along with the larger study group in conjunction with a PES meeting. This group is comprised of manufacturers of the hardware, those working on the communication interoperability, safety experts, regulators (the FCC in the United States has a notice of proposed rule making existent on the subject), EMC measurement experts, and the user community. Stephen is shown as the Point of Contact for the EMCS on this standards project and is planning to hold a meeting at the Chicago EMC symposium of the study group.
Finally, Don Heirman discussed two sessions on BPL issues that will be held at the Chicago EMC symposium. He is co-chair of these sessions. The first session will be on the Monday afternoon where issues will be presented from different perspectives, i.e. manufacturers, regulators, users, standards writers, and those radio service users who are to share the radio spectrum with BPL in a non-interference basis. The second session on Thursday afternoon will present measured data of the emissions, measurement methods, and any other data that has been recorded already. In addition, there are four papers from the open call for papers which have been accepted and which will be presented in this second session.
For those EMCS members, who have particular interest in this topic and can contribute to the standards that are being proposed, please contact Stephen Berger immediately on stephen.berger@ieee.org. He is asking for help in active participation in the face-to-face meetings as well as doing research and crafting inputs for the standard, which will largely be done via electronic means. So we are looking for a strong EMCS presence in this very interesting and potentially land breaking advance in technology—only if it can be done with EMC taken on board. EMC

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