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Subject: [IP] more on Plug-In Internet Connection to Get Test on Long Island]

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To:
  • Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 14:32:56 -0500

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: February 27, 2006 2:14:04 PM EST
Cc: &quot;'Dave Goldblatt'&quot; <>
Subject: RE: [IP] mo Plug-In Internet Connection to Get Test on Long Island]

In trying to look at the RFP and the Intelligrid proposals I'm even more confused. (As an aside, I wish we could get past the faux paper of PDF and use HTML).

I notice that is titled &quot; REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS BROADBAND OVER POWER LINE And WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS Demonstration Project&quot;. Wireless?

There is so much mind-numbing over-specification that it is difficult to figure out exactly what is going on. The document goes into painful detail about specific applications, marketplace and revenue models, functions and whatever. This is why took the approach I did in &#x2013; we have to start from the edge and view any of these paths as opportunistic (IP) transports rather than each one as a delivery system.

The basic assumption that these are each viable pay-as-you go operations is as bad as charging you for leaving your driveway to cover the cost of a trip across the country.

Trying to separate out the issues:

&#xE8; If we look generally at the various EPRI projects are they all purely over the power line or is the more general approach to use whatever transport works. In the case of LIPA is it required that all data be over the power lines or is that just an option?

&#xE8; Are the in-home and the external data distribution coupled or is there a device between the two. Is there any reason why the distribution within a home need use Homeplug? If so why and what does that mean anyway? One problem with home plug is that as I understand it it&#x2019;s less capable of being shared among competing protocols than the wireless space simply because the latter has no choice but to share.

&#xE8; There is a lot of detail about automatic meter reading. Why is it at all tied to BPL? Why isn&#x2019;t meter reading done over any available IP transport? Is this a misunderstanding? The Intelligrid documents ( seem to be transport agnostic even if the site is more a tutorial about all the different aspects of the Internet and networks. What I find most telling is Overview_Guidelines/Ovr_IECSA_Vision.htm that tries to silo energy distribution and information. The meter reading issue came up when I was looking at a PG&E project about 10 years ago as part of demand side management. It&#x2019;s a very low bit rate application that hardly justifies it&#x2019;s own infrastructure yet I still see how much it seems to be driving a special Internet.

&#xE8; What are the capacity and performance numbers for this specific implementation and other BPLs?

&#xE8; Can we just decouple the IP transport part from the myriad stifling agendas?

o        Is meter reading already being done over generic IP?

o Why so much attention to revenue models &#x2013; OK, I know why but see the comments below.

o Why so much attention to application protocols? (Again, I know but have to ask)

o To put it another way &#x2013; where is the simple proposal buried in here

Again, I like the idea of additional transports but this is all about which railroads will run tracks to your house. Or to use another metaphor, if we view this all as bit paths what&#x2019;s the difference between running multiple bit paths to my house and running multiple power grids? Perhaps the power DISTRIBUTION companies are right &#x2013; since their (one) transport is necessary for power then why not use it for IP. If so, then what is the purpose of the cable and phone company infrastructure that don't have a reason to exist other than as a redundant IP transport.

The basic requirement that the funding model suck the value out of the economy into the silos is a consequence of the fundamental misunderstanding that connectivity is not just another service but is part of the basic infrastructure like the roads. Until we get past that we&#x2019;ll continue to tax the present and starve the future.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Farber []
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 06:35
Subject: [IP] mo Plug-In Internet Connection to Get Test on Long Island]

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Re: [IP] mo Plug-In Internet Connection to Get Test on Long Island

Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 22:51:32 -0500

From: Dave Goldblatt <>


References: <>

> -------- Original Message --------

> Subject: RE: [IP] Plug-In Internet Connection to Get Test on Long Island]

> Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 13:08:29 -0500

> From: Bob Frankston <>

> To:,

> CC: 'Dewayne Hendricks' <>


> This snippet (or LIPA) seems to confuse connectivity via the power lines to

> the house and the technologies for the power lines within the house. They

> are very different and essentially unrelated.


> BPL is about using the long runs of the power lines and getting past

> transformers but sometimes it's just about rights of way and the use of

> fiber or other technology.


No, &quot;Broadband over Power Lines&quot;, aka PLC (Power Line Communication)

does indeed refer to using medium- and low-voltage power lines for

providing a data path.   There are various mechanisms of using those

lines; some versions are power line end-to-end from the substation to

the customer's outlet, others use medium voltage for the backbone and

WiFi for end-user access, and another uses licensed radio spectrum for

the backbone and low-voltage lines for the end-user.

LIPA is not confusing the technology - you can read the RFP at - it's quite specific as to

what they want.

> Power line within the house is something entirely different and there are

> some competing technologies including one going 200mbps. One can use BPL to

> the home and the wireless within or FTTH and then power line within the

> home. So far the within home power line products have not fared well

> against 802.11.



Again, I'm not sure why you believe that communication within the house

(aka in-home BPL) and access BPL (that using the utility's medium- and

low-voltage lines) are entirely different - they can use different

protocols, but not necessarily.   For example, DS2 provides a 200Mb

solution which is used for both types of deployment.  HomePlug is

developing a similar product.

BPL has a different set of issues than 802.11 - some better, some worse,

but definitely different.

There are several standardization efforts underway - UPA, OPERA,

HomePlug, and IEEE to name a few.  What was it Andy Tanenbaum said about

standards... ?

ObDisclaimer: My employer manufactures access BPL equipment.



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