Embrace The SGRwin Broadband Over Powerlines Monitoring and Management

27 Dec 2022

The need for high-speed internet access has led to multiple innovations and improvements in current technologies. One of the most significant advancements is the adoption of Broadband over Powerlines (BPL), a Power Line Communication (PLC) technology that relies on the ubiquity of existing electrical wiring in buildings to transmit data over medium voltage power lines.

However, like any other network technology, BPL also requires monitoring and management to ensure optimal performance and availability. Read on for an informative resource on PLC, BPL, and monitoring and management!

An Overview of Power Line Communications

Power Line Communications (PLC) is a method of communication that takes advantage of existing power transmission lines to send and receive data. PLC is an attractive alternative to other communication methods, such as fibre optics or wireless, because of the ubiquity of power lines.

A PLC system typically consists of a modem on both the transmitting and receiving ends, a repeater, and the power lines, which act as the medium for carrying the data. The transmitting modem encodes the data into a series of signals that can be transmitted in the power lines.

The receiving modem then decodes the signals and delivers them to the recipient. PLC is relatively simple to set up and can be used to send data over distances of up to several kilometres.

Data signals in the PLC system utilise a higher frequency band than the typical AC, which falls between 50 and 60 Hz, to ensure the two don’t interfere with each other.

Overview of Broadband over Power Lines

Broadband over Powerlines (BPL) is an emerging Power Line Carrier (PLC) technology that uses existing electrical infrastructure in an area to transmit high-speed data, allowing for broadband services such as streaming and video calling for electric utility customers.

BPL is considered a promising technology due to its potential to provide high-speed Internet access to people living in rural areas who would otherwise not have access to broadband services. It also has the potential to reduce electric power consumption and reduce the cost of powering Internet services.

Using the existing infrastructure of electric power lines saves BPL companies the cost of building and operating separate broadband networks. Additionally, BPL eliminates the need for customers to purchase WAN equipment such as routers and data cables, further reducing installation costs.

The access BPL system comprises two main components: the in-home network and the access network. The in-home network consists of a BPL modem, which is connected to the customer’s electrical outlets and the customer’s computers and other devices. The access network consists of BPL equipment installed on the medium voltage power lines, including a BPL injector, repeaters to amplify the signal, and an extractor. BPL transmits data signals using frequency bands between 1.8 and 250 MHz, which are out of the typical AC, so the data signals do not interfere with electric power. The signal is picked up by a BPL modem and converted back to its original form at the receiving end/.

SGRwin For Broadband Over Powerlines Monitoring and Management

SGRwin is a multifunctional network management solution that enables operators to monitor and manage BPL networks. We have collaborated with several clients to provide BPL solutions that meet their requirements.

The following features and functionalities make SGRwin unique:

1. Upgrades and inventory

Our NMS monitors and reports the details of all connected devices, including their location, creation date, and how they were created. The system also reports when devices are updated, added, or removed from the system. In addition, SGRwin also offers synchronicity. Since the NMS is connected to the database, any changes executed on the network are updated in real-time.

2. Visualization

SGRwin comes with a very rich and flexible visualization module. The module is in its Cluster feature and allows users to visually represent the BPL devices on their network and how they are connected.

SGRwin accesses each wave carrier’s MAC address from the network’s Management Information Base (MIB) and uses them to draw the BPL networks.  The MIB is a standard table defined in the NMS and used to represent the device’s attributes and status.

3. Advanced Statistics

As described above, BPL communication signals are transmitted via the power transmission lines that make up the electrical utility network, meaning they have limited bandwidth.

Therefore, statistics are of utmost importance to BPL network operators since the data sent over these networks is highly susceptible to interference and loss. The network operators require accurate data of the network. Crucial data includes speed level, gains, and signal qualities.

SGRwin was designed with this requirement in mind. The system can collect data from the network, analyse it, and give reports on overall performance. Operators can then use the highly advanced statistics to optimise the network.

4. Monitoring profile

In SGRwin, the monitoring profile describes the frequency of asking the devices about their status, configuration, and statistics. The monitoring profile is a crucial feature of the system that should be regulated to ensure that it is not too frequent. Saturating the device with questions will overload the network and the device. The user can customise the frequency to meet specific requirements. Different monitoring profile modes include:

  • Real-time mode This is a demanding mode that allows you to frequently ask the device about its status, performance, and statistics.
  • Maintenance mode This mode minimizes the frequency of the monitoring requests to the device and allows the user to perform maintenance operations. With this mode set, the user can only request the equipment’s details once a day or according to another frequency.

In addition, BPL networks are usually an intricate connection of numerous devices. Configuring the question frequency device per device is a tedious and inefficient task. SGRwin has a feature that supports bulk monitoring profile creation.

5. Security

The critical nature of a network’s security cannot be understated. While BPL networks are not as vulnerable as typical public WAN networks, there are still some security risks associated with them. At SGRwin, your network’s security is our top priority. That is why we designed our system to enable active directory accounts (for example, LDAP) to authenticate users’ accesses. We understand that modern networks commonly have internal and third-party collaborators whose access to the network must be controlled.

Watch this short introduction and demo video on the NMS.

Contact us to install the high-performance SGRwin for advanced BPL monitoring and management!

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