Power Line Communication (PLC) – Wake-Up Transceiver

Intelligent energy management requires the exchange of information such as sensor values, control commands, and status information. Power Line Communication (PLC) uses existing power lines to carry data, saving additional installation costs. However, PLC systems have consistently high power consumption compared to other methods. Using a PLC-based wake-up transceiver, it is possible to slash power consumption and therefore the energy demand of PLC communication nodes.

From a communications engineering perspective, power lines are far from an ideal transmission medium. In addition to frequency-selective fading behavior, the transmission channel is often also strongly affected by connected power consumers. Complex processes and algorithms have to be worked through before a PLC modem can ensure reliable communication. In combination with the comparatively high transmission power required, this means that PLC uses relatively large amounts of energy not only to transmit data, but also at times when there are no data payloads awaiting transmission.

This is precisely where Fraunhofer IIS’s PLC wake-up transceiver comes in. The PLC modems are deactivated when idle and reactivated only when data is awaiting transmission. To make this possible, we developed a method that can address specific communication nodes in a PLC network and wake them up exactly when they are required. To do this, the PLC wake-up transceiver transmits a wake-up sequence that is based on an innovative new sequence recognition method and works without complex signal processing.

In our technology, the activation and deactivation of the actual PLC connection is controlled by the application. When no connection is required, the main PLC module remains in low-power mode and consumes very little energy.

Advantages of the method:

  • Energy savings in idle state
  • Implementation as add-on to existing PLC systems
  • Resource-efficient design
  • More robust against frequency-selective channel effects than ordinary FSK
  • Easy to implement
  • Targeted waking up of specific communication nodes to be addressed