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Cross-layer energy efficiency of plc systems for smart grid applications

Ikpehai, Augustine (2017) Cross-layer energy efficiency of plc systems for smart grid applications. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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Though opinions are still divided over the specific choices of technology for smart grid, there is a consensus that heterogeneous communications network is most appropriate. Power line communication (PLC) is promising because it is readily available and it aligns with the natural topology of power distribution network. One of the emerging realities is that the communication system enabling smart grid must be energy-efficient. This thesis employs a cross-layer approach to address energy efficiency of PLC networks in different smart grid scenarios. At network layer, this work exploits the topology of a PLC-enabled advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to improve the probability of successful packet delivery across the network. The technique, termed AMI clustering, leverages the traditional structure of the low voltage (LV) network by organising the smart meters into clusters and locally aggregating their readings. Improvement in packet delivery inherently reduces energy wastage. Next, the adaptation layer exploits the low data rate transmission techniques to reduce the energy requirements of PLC nodes. To achieve that, this work developed a network model in NS-3 (an open-source network simulator) that considers PLC transceivers as resource-constrained devices and interconnects them to emulate home energy management system (HEMS). The model was validated with experimental results which showed that in the home area network (HAN), low-rate applications such as energy management can be supported over low-power PLC networks. Furthermore, at physical layer, this thesis proposes a more energy-efficient multi-carrier modulation scheme than the orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) used in most of the current PLC systems. OFDM is widely known for its high peak-to-average-power ratio (PAPR) which degrades energy efficiency of the systems. This thesis found that by employing vector- OFDM (V-OFDM), power requirements of PLC transmitter can be reduced. The results also showed the energy efficiency can be further improved by using a dynamic noise cancellation technique such as dynamic peak-based threshold estimation (DPTE) at the receiver. By applying the proposed methods, packet delivery can be improved by 3% at network layer (which conserves energy) and reduced data rate can save about 2.6014 dB in transmit power. Finally, at physical layer, V-OFDM and DPTE can respectively provide 5.8 dB and 2.1 dB reduction in power requirements of the PLC transceivers. These signify that if V-OFDM is combined with DPTE, future PLC modems could benefit from energy-efficient power amplifiers at reduced cost.

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