Press releases

Smart Grid / 09.11.2016

Powerline expert devolo turns the medium-voltage level into a fast data network


Local network stations are the key interfaces for communications in the smart grid. They are connected by medium-voltage power lines. Load profile meter reading, smart metering data communication or the communicative connection of network control technology are all application scenarios where the medium-voltage power line is the proper form of communication. Offering both the devolo G3-PLC Modem MV and devolo BPL Modem MV product variants allows the Aachen-based company to provide the perfect technological solution for any scenario.

Whether it‘s used to enhance smart metering communication, to monitor and control the mains supply or as an information highway, the medium-voltage level is becoming increasingly important in the smart grid. This is why devolo AG added a broadband modem for data communication over medium-voltage power lines to its product range back in February 2016. The devolo G3-PLC Modem MV is now available as a technological alternative to the devolo BPL Modem MV. Providing this variety allows devolo to expand the application possibilities for Powerline communication in the medium-voltage network.

PLC applications in the medium-voltage network

The deactivation of analog landline connections and the conversion of mobile data communication from CSD (Circuit Switched Data) to IP-based communication requires a new communication path for load profile meters. A premature changeover to an intelligent measuring system is not yet an option for many measuring point operators due to a lack of certified smart meter gateways (SMGWs). Major customers are supplied with power directly from medium voltage. Thus it is useful to guide data communication between the customer‘s and the measuring point operator‘s load profile meter over pre-existing power lines. With this medium-voltage PLC solution, unnecessary conversion work can be omitted by end customers. Only a PLC modem for the medium-voltage level and an inductive coupler need to be connected. This usually takes place in only a few minutes. The data uplink from a medium-voltage grid to fibre optic (FO) cable can be made where present connections are already available. This saves time and money for the network operator.

Powerline communication is the ideal "last mile technology" for bidirectional communication with intelligent measuring systems in the low-voltage network. Data communication over the medium-voltage level is also a viable solution in situations where local distribution stations are not available as uplink points for the data due to lack of fibre optic cables or lack of a mobile network connection. In this way, the metering data can be transferred via the medium-voltage line to a more remote distribution station that has a fibre optic connection.Therefore, thanks to low-voltage and medium-voltage power lines, network clusters can be developed into smart grids quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

In addition to these smart metering applications, network technicians can use devolo PLC modems for medium voltage to integrate existing as well as additional measuring and switching devices reliably into a smart grid. Old forms of communication, such as CSD or analog telephony, become obsolete due to the fact that the existing infrastructure is used. PLC modems can be used to integrate a distribution station into the smart grid quickly, cost-effectively and without complications. Communicating during blackouts is possible through the incorporation of a backup battery or accumulator.

It‘s all about the right PLC technology

devolo‘s broadband PLC solution can be used to transmit extremely large amounts of data over the medium-voltage line. This makes it easy, for example, to transmit the smart metering data of a low-voltage cluster from the local distribution station over the medium-voltage cable to a distribution station with a communication connection. This saves the network operator from needing to make costly and arduous upgrades to a distribution station without a communication connection. With ranges of 400 and 800 metres (symmetrical and asymmetrical coupling, respectively), the typical distances between distribution stations are handled reliably.

In rural areas, the distances between the local distribution stations are larger. To solve this problem, devolo is offering a product variant with optimised range. The devolo G3-PLC Modem MV can be used to handle distances of up to several kilometres in length in the medium-voltage network without any problems. "Repeaters are not necessary. The data aren‘t running a relay from one power pole to the next. They are running the complete distance," emphasises Georg Offner, Director of Product Management for devolo Smart Grid. Offner continues by saying, "The G3-PLC variant also provides another benefit in cases of high attenuation on the medium-voltage line. And it does so exceptionally well."

Invitation to the technical discussion at E-World 2017

Stop by to visit devolo AG at E-World in Essen from 07-09 February 2017. You‘ll find devolo at the joint stand of the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers‘ Association in Building 6. For appointment requests, please contact Mr Walter Krott, Director of Sales for Smart Grid (