@A.C. -- Re: I'd dump my HomePlugs tomorrow...
"Give me a break, change the record."
Not Bloody Likely!!
The more you ignore us, the more annoying we'll become!! BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug is an environmental issue--just it's about the radio spectrum environment (but the rules are the same). Like other rabbit Greenies, we'll whinge, annoy and irritate you until all BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug spectrum hazards have been regulated out of existence. We 'Greenies' have more persistence, tenacity and resilience than you quiet-lifers, that's why we'll eventually win.
Get used to the fact there's a war in progress and that you spectrum polluters are clearly in our sights.
"Oh, and I stopped reading after your first paragraph."
Correct, you're clueless about Spectrum Management because you've never read anymore than a headline about the subject. Whilst somewhat debased now through government downsizing and outsourcing, but once an important branch of government, Spectrum Management's raison d'être is to protect legitimate users from you spectrum polluters and to see that the radio spectrum is efficiently used by ensuring minimum mutual interference. BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug is NOT a legitimate radio service but a spectrum polluter, and thus it will always be a key target of spectrum environmentalism. Spectrum vandals won't get off scot-free! Got that? (Better not forget it either.)
Get it into your thick head that the BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug issue is not only a radio amateur issue, it equally concerns many other legitimate users who share the radio spectrum. Moreover, the legitimate users of the spectrum share it in a precise and orderly way and they've done so according to ITU rules for going on a century--unlike BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug interference which pays no heed to the rules--any rules, except those of self interest.
I don't approach this argument as an amateur; thus it's unlikely I'll regularly experience the deleterious effects of HF band interference caused by BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug, rather I come to it as one who has previously spent time on spectrum management committees. From that perspective, if anything, amateurs could be perceived as more trouble through the less predictable nature and variability of their service but in practice this was never the case.
The fact is that effective spectrum management is and has to be one of the ultimate forms of agreement and cooperation, and over the past century or so this has been mostly the case. Not only is Spectrum Management a highly technical matter but it also involves very different and conflicting issues, both technical and political. Coherent (message-producing) transmitting devices (TV, radio, communications, amateurs etc.) must coexist in close proximity to sensitive receiving devices with almost no mutual degradation being caused to each other's service. Protection from non-message-producing transmitters (noise-producing motors etc.) is axiomatic and thus legally enforceable. It has to be thus if radio communications is to work at all. Add to this mix the intense politics of competing demands for scarce spectrum resources and thus we end up with the highly complex animal that's Spectrum Management.
Into this complex environment comes BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug. No, it's nothing like wireless and WiFi which compete with and are allocated spectrum and obey the spectrum management rules as do all other wireless services. Rather, BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug obeys no spectrum management rules whatsoever. Intrinsically and by design, it cannot because its signal is fundamentally different and cannot comply on technical grounds (in that it was designed to travel in a bidirectional manner over wires and NOT be radiated). Thus, whilst its signal is coherent within itself, BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug is little more than wideband random noise when compared to normal wireless signals that are sent over the highly regulated RF spectrum--i.e.: those which comply with international regulations.
BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug was NOT designed to radiate into the spectrum but is does so by virtue of the world's biggest antenna to which it is connected--the powerline grid. The power grid is the means of network distribution for PL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug systems, but to HF signals, thousands upon thousands of miles of power cable strung high into the air are also an enormously effective antenna.
In radio spectrum parlance, BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug is a 'DC-to-daylight', broad-spectrum incoherent signal. In electrical engineering parlance it is nothing more than electrical noise, exactly that--unwanted ELECTRICAL NOISE/INTERFERENCE (RFI). Facts are facts, no amount of dressing up can or will ever change that.
No matter, how its advocates try to dress it up, BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug cannot be made into anything other than what it is. Attempts at making it comply to certain 'standards' such as restricting its output amplitude/level or notching its output over particularly susceptible bands/frequencies (for example, some amateurs bands) are nothing other than painting over rust, as its signal remains fundamentally incompatible with spectrum management norms.
Nothing can disguise the fact that BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug is an extremely wideband, highly complex signal that's rich in high-order harmonics and which spans over many, many octaves. Moreover, as its advocates would try to have us believe, this wideband signal is supposed to coexist within an environment where whole bands are only a small fraction of an octave and where the very narrowband signals contained within them are only a few kHz wide.
To make matters worse, these 'incoherent' noise signals, having been fed into and disseminated by the world's largest antenna, effectively increase the RF spectrum's noise floor right across the planet. Increasing the noise floor has a widespread, profound, and detrimental effect on other radio communication circuits worldwide, as effectively all radio circuits require additional transmitter power to overcome the additional noise. Environmentally friendly it is certainly not!
A simplistic but reasonably realistic analogy of an increased noise floor would be if one were to add some black pigment to a tin of white paint. Later, adding various colour pigments to the now grey paint will still result in one achieving a substantial range of colours, however, all the light and delicate hues will be irretrievably lost. In essence, the signal-to-noise ratio falls for all other legitimate users of the spectrum when BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug's interference increases the noise floor across the planet.
In computer vernacular, BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug is effectively a virus which pervades most of the HF spectrum and much of the VHF, and the only effective way of totally eliminating it is to kill it off at its source.
Ultimately, there's no other solution other than to get rid BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug and replace it with proper engineering and technology. If you and other users of BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug-like systems think we RF spectrum environmentalists will eventually go and fade away, then, frankly, you're in for a big shock. If you think we'll stand idly by and let you ruin the spectrum, then think and think again.
We've only just begun, and rest assured you'll lose interest first. Just use proper engineering and we'll leave you completely alone.