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On Improving Communication Robustness in PLC Systems for More Reliable Smart Grid Applications

Rabie, KM and Alsusa, E (2015) On Improving Communication Robustness in PLC Systems for More Reliable Smart Grid Applications. IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, 6 (6). pp. 2746-2756. ISSN 1949-3053


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Power-line communication (PLC) has been the main enabler for modernizing the aging electrical power grid. As such, PLC systems have been the subject of intensive research in the community. One of the major aspects of PLC is the link interface, for which orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) has been widely adopted. In this paper, we propose the application of orthogonal poly-phase-based multicarrier code division multiple access (OPP-MC-CDMA) due to its inherent better flexibility and signal-envelope properties which can be utilized to further enhance the reliability of PLC signals. The proposed OPP-MC-CDMA system is implemented with a minimum mean square error equalizer and nonlinear preprocessing to overcome the effects of bursty noise and multipath frequency-selective fading commonly experienced in PLC channels. We study the performance of this system in terms of the output signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and symbol error rate with various constellation sizes of OPP codes under different noise scenarios and nonlinear processor's thresholds. For comparison-sake, the performance of the OFDM scheme is included. The results reveal that the proposed approach always provides superior performance over the OFDM one with a maximum output SNR gain of up to 5.25 dB. It is also shown that the performance of the OPP-MC-CDMA technique improves when increasing the constellation size of the OPP codes, which consequently enhances the reliability of PLC.

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