NOTE: An excellent analysis of smart meter technology as it is being implemented in the UK is on the UK Powerwatch site at:
Comments from Alasdair Philips, Powerwatch:
I think smart meter data over PLC works fine. It is not really broadband – high-speed shared PLC broadband does not work well. The standard for smart meter data only runs at 9,600 baud (bits per seconds)- that would be between 12,000 and 19200 bits per second using typical coding schemes. Say a max of 20 kbps. High speed broadband does really start until 6 times this bit rate and is typically 50 to 500 times this bit rate.
It is similar to a 14k dLAN if you want to look at the signals and can still find the 14k versions. It has less noise that the original ADSL over telephone lines and much less noise than modern ADSL (that can support data rates up to about 8 Mbps or ADSL2 that can support data rates over 20 Mbps). Both are providing broadband via telephone lines all around the world.
This low-speed broadband uses low frequency broadband RF (under 1 MHz) and does not radiate much from the wires. It is very secure as each substation has a comms node and a hacker could only access the meters fed by that particular substation if he had the right codes and a real connection to the cables.
Scroll down to the bottom of this page for links to detail assessment reports:
There is also an agreed and used wired network specially for smart meters called M-bus (non-wireless as there is also now a wireless version on M-bus).
Smart meters will come in some form. I am incredibly concerned about the dangerous and naff ways it is being carried out at present. The UK Government is all gung-ho for wireless everything.. It is a nightmare.
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