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BBC demonstrates HomePlug PLC turns electrical wires into antennas

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Published on Oct 20, 2013

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) engineers demonstrate how a power line communication system turns household wires into transmitting antennas. The BBC is interested in this, since it can interfere with the reception of the BBC World Service shortwave broadcasts.

In the video, we see a large file be transfered between two laptop computers, using two HomePlug PLC modems. One modem is connected to a wall outlet, the other is plugged into a power strip, which also feeds a string of lights on a Christmas tree.

The plug is then pulled on th power strip, so the lights on the Christmas tree go out. There is now no electrical connection between the two HomePlug modems, but the file transfer continues. We now have a wireless connection between the two HomePlug modems. One uses the wires in the walls as antennas, the other uses the wires on the Christmas tree. Note how this PLC system creates static on the shortwave radio.

In Britain, PLC is referred to as Power Line Telecom (PLT).

For more details on this demo, see BBC White Paper WHP099 by J.H.Scott.

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