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IEEE Approves BPL Interference Measurement Standard

This week the IEEE announced the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Standards Board approved IEEE Standard 1775 – Standard for Powerline Communication Equipment – Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Requirements – Testing and Measurement Methods.

The standard provides test and measurement guidance, as well as EMC criteria, for BPL (broadband over power line) equipment and installations. The IEEE said that it will act as a bridge between national spectrum regulations, power utility practice, and other interested concerns and identify the basic definitions of the applicable EMC parameters for BPL equipment and installations as well as measurement conditions and settings.

BPL typically uses carriers in the 3 to 54 MHz range superimposed on power lines to provide communications for broadband and utility monitoring. Other users of this portion of the spectrum have expressed concern about interference to communications. The American Radio Relay League, representing amateur radio operators, has documented interference.

IEEE Standard 1775 is controversial.

The ARRL reported earlier this year IEEE EMC Society Standards Development Committee Withdraws as Cosponsor of IEEE BPL EMC Standard citing concerns about parts of its technical content.

According to the ARRL, the organizations laboratory manager and BPL "guru," Ed Hare, the decision came about not long after the IEEE standards board had approved publication of the standard. Hare is an SDCom member and is a member of the IEEE working group that developed the standard.

Some of the issues with the IEEE 1775 standard are outlined here.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.