Background: This review paper synopsizes the recent efforts regarding the mitigation of the
poor capacity performance of today’s transmission and distribution broadband over power lines (BPL)
networks. In fact, this paper considers the broadband potential of transmission and distribution BPL
networks when multiple repeaters are additively deployed between the transmitting and receiving ends
of their existing cascaded BPL connections.
Methodology: The contribution of this paper is three-fold. First, the broadband performance of a
plethora of BPL connections with multi-hop repeater systems -either overhead (OV) or underground
(UN), either high-voltage (HV) or medium-voltage (MV) or low-voltage (LV)- was investigated in
terms of capacity and capacity outage probability (COP). Second, the adaptability to different capacity
requirements was examined through the appropriate deployment of multi-hop repeater systems. Third,
further integration of BPL connections with multi-hop repeater systems upgraded with multiple-input
multiple-output (MIMO) capabilities is highlighted. This last contribution may act as a counteracting
technique against the significant capacity losses due to different electromagnetic interference (EMI)
policies adopted with the intention to suppress BPL EMI to other radio services.
Result: Except for a low-cost and quick technology upgrade of today’s BPL networks, multi-hop
repeater systems successfully deal with the majority of inherent BPL technology deficiencies, which
have hindered widespread BPL technology adoption for decades.
Keywords: Smart grid, Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) networks, modal analysis, power line communications (PLC),
transmission and distribution power grids, capacity, multi-hop repeater systems, multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)
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