HD-PLC Network Solutions: How HD-PLC Tackles The 4 Main Networking Challenges

HD-PLC network solutions can help resolve several key networking challenges — such as the dreaded cable mess

The global telecommunication industry is enormous. In 2020 alone,  global telecom spending added up to over $1.5 trillion.

Because of its size, the telecom industry is also incredibly competitive with many different vendors and solutions, available for both individual and commercial applications.

HD-PLC is one of them.

It might not be the most widespread communication solution on the market — at least for the time being.

However, HD-PLC has several strong advantages over other communication standards and boasts the ability to solve common challenges other network options often present.

In this blog post, we will explore these advantages in detail and establish why HD-PLC is a superior solution for grid networking and IoT applications, in many different circumstances. But first, let’s take a look at the market.

Network Solutions — Market Overview

The global networking market is largely dominated by Ethernet, wireless and mobile network solutions.

Here are a few numbers to give you an idea:

  • In 2019, the global market for enterprise wireless solutions reached

$6.2 billion

  • The global revenue of Ethernet switch manufacturers is even more impressive —it reached

$9.1 billion in the first quarter of 2020

  • The global market for 5G and LTE gateways and routers is expected to reach approximately

$3 billion by 2024

By comparison, the total global market size of power line communication solutions was estimated at $8.1 Billion in 2020.

Considering that the global revenue of Ethernet switch manufacturers alone is currently $9.1 billion, power line communication is still quite far from a leading position in the market.

However, that might not be the case for much longer. PLC is expected to grow at a 17.6% CAGR, reaching $25.2 billion by 2027. Moreover, the market for broadband PLC solutions — such as HD-PLC — is projected to be worth $13.4 billion in 2027.

Power line communication might still be an underdog in the network solutions industry — but its growth is picking up, for one simple reason: The most popular network solutions aren’t always superior.

There are many use cases where Ethernet, Wi-Fi or mobile networks are not effective enough, in terms of cost or performance.

That’s where power line communication and, more specifically, HD-PLC comes in and helps resolve some of the key challenges that some wired and wireless solutions present.

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Challenge #1:
Some Network Solutions Result In Slow Connection Speed

IoT applications, such as high-definition video streaming across multiple devices, do require fast connections.

And It’s not only because the application itself is very speed-sensitive.

Such sophisticated networks usually consist of dozens, if not hundreds of devices.

As a result, there is no such thing as “too fast” when it comes to networking.

The most popular wired communication standards in this segment that are not Ethernet are:

  • RS-485
  • Narrow-band PLC, such as G3-PLC and PRIME
  • IEBus
  • HBS (Home Bus System)

However, these standards do not exceed connection speeds of several hundred kbps — which is hardly adequate for the latest IoT applications.

Solution: Megabit Connectivity Of HD-PLC

By comparison to narrowband PLC and other low-performance wired network solutions, HD-PLC sets a whole new standard of high-speed power line connectivity.

In most iterations, the typical effective data transmission rate ranges between several Mbps and tens of Mbps.

Because of the fast connectivity, HD-PLC is the perfect choice for application such as:

  • Building Automation
  • Smart Buildings
  • HVAC systems
  • Energy Management
  • CCTV systems
  • Smart factories
  • Intercom systems
  • Call button systems

The cost-effectiveness and reliability of HD-PLC network solutions make them perfect for multiple IoT application — such as building automation

 

Challenge #2:
Other Network Solutions Provide Poor Coverage In Hard-To-Reach Areas

In some cases, getting a network to reach a specific area can be a difficult task.

For example, supplying an elevator shaft, a remote cabin or a basement with an internet connection can be difficult using a wired solution and nearly impossible with wireless solutions.

Wi-Fi usually has difficulties reaching isolated equipment in buildings where metal or concrete is used for the wall material.

That’s why Ethernet cables are usually the go-to network solution in such cases. However, the cost of such a solution can be significant and hardly practical.

The Ethernet cable has to go through ceilings and floors, and a connection hub may be required as often as every 100 meters.

Solution: HD-PLC Uses Existing Wiring

This wiring installation challenge can be solved by using HD-PLC and building a network using the cabling that already exist in the environment.

Because an HD-PLC network uses existing wiring, it doesn’t require any additional investment of resources, time or labor, while providing a connection that is more than adequate in most use cases that involve hard-to-reach areas.

Moreover, HD-PLC functions with almost any type of wiring, such as:

  • Coaxial cables
  • Twisted pair
  • AC lines

As such, it’s a solution that can provide an unmatched return on investment — both in terms of resources and labor.

Challenge #3:
Comprehensive Wireless Network Solutions Require Significant Investments

The irony of comprehensive wireless networks is that they still require a wiring infrastructure to cover large areas.

The most common  wired communication standard used to supplement wireless networks is Ethernet. And while it’s a reliable solution, it has one significant drawback — cost.

In the United States, the average cost of installing a consumer-grade wiring communication network typically ranges between $2,500 and $5,000.

And in sophisticated large-scale IoT and grid network applications, this number could be even higher.

As such applications become more common, more business owners and individuals are becoming aware of the considerable cost-inefficiency of Ethernet-enabled Wireless network solutions.

For instance, in buildings and factories, technologies such as data visualization, device control, automation, and camera installation are rapidly advancing.

These technologies require high-speed, reliable, stable wireless networks to operate. While wireless networks interconnected by Ethernet cables can certainly provide that, their cost can be prohibitive.

Solution: HD-PLC Is Compatible With Wireless Solutions

As mentioned previously, HD-PLC supports almost any cable and equipment. Because of that, it can be used as a solution for wireless infrastructure interconnectivity.

HD-PLC can replace Ethernet to connect the bridges and terminals in a wireless network, providing the same level of stability and data transmission rate as Ethernet — at a considerably lower cost.

Installing an Ethernet cable network can be time consuming and costly — between $2,500 and $6,000 on average

 

Challenge #4:
Ensuring Connection Quality & Stability Across Long Distances

Long-range communication networks do not only require a high data transmission rate — they also require stability and wide bandwidth.

These two parameters can be critical in a large network that includes a multitude of devices and equipment, such as actuators and sensors that are connected by cable to elevators, robots, vehicles and more.

In such cases, network issues can lead to more global problems such as increased manufacturing lead time, increased failures or increased inspection man-hours.

Solution: HD-PLC Multi-Hop Range Extension Functionality

The broadband connectivity that HD-PLC provides ensures that all of the equipment connected to the network will function properly — even over long distances.

The technology that makes this possible is called Multi-hop — a range extension protocol that allows you to build networks that span as far as 10 kilometers.

An HD-PLC Multi-hop network can include as many as 1,024 nodes — individual devices or pieces of equipment, all connected to a single, broadband environment at speeds up to 10 Mbps.

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HD-PLC As An Effective Network Solution: Takeaways

While Ethernet, wireless and mobile networks remain among the most popular network solutions on the market, they are not always suitable for cost-sensitive, demanding applications.

HD-PLC can help resolve common network solution challenges by offering some unique benefits, as compared to both older PLC standards and more widespread solutions.

The benefits of HD-PLC compared to other network solutions include:

  • High-speed communication compared to the legacy communication methods
  • Low cost of network construction
  • Capability of replacing costly Ethernet wiring in network systems
  • Long-distance communication up to several kilometers using multi-hop technology
  • Possibility of network access in areas that are otherwise hard-to reach

These benefits mean that HD-PLC should be at the top of your list when it comes to network solutions for:

  • Building Automation
  • Smart Buildings
  • HVAC systems
  • Energy Management
  • CCTV systems
  • Smart factories
  • Intercom systems
  • Call button systems

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