Radio hams with a downer on powerline Ethernet are set to be even more upset by the debut of YouView. The IPTV platform is recommending the networking-over-the-mains technology. YouView is currently running a closed trial of service. Trial support documents seen by The Register recommend punters whose broadband box is more than …
Re: Apples and Oranges
Wrong on so many levels!
The meter in your property does not stop conducted emissions from mains-powered devices in your property from radiating back along the wires to other houses in your street, or vice-versa. If those mains cables are overhead, as in many villages, they will become aerials and radiate. In order to establish a clean mains signal, you would need a 100A-rated common-mode choke; and that would be the size of a fridge!
PLT's Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing signal injected onto mains wiring is at such a high level that it radiates along all of the phases, neutrals and earths in your property (with the earths connecting to the neutrals at the incoming supply as part of the PME installation). This signal is also conducted to neighbouring properties who are on the same 415V phase, and all properties on the same transformer thanks to the common neutrals. This signal is further radiated along the earth wires of the properties and up each lamp-post in the area. This is physics and you cannot change that!
You are right, in that PLT is not a particularly large concern to Radio Amateurs if notched correctly; however, CB users are quite pissed as their allocated bands are wiped out. It should be noted that each part of the planet is divided into three ITU zones, and each zone has slightly different operating frequencies allocated for amateur radio. So a device with notches for ITU zone 3 is not necessarily any good in zone 2. Of course, with non-linear devices, such as switched-mode power-supplies on the main wiring, the notches become useless and fill up with intermodulation products.
As others have mentioned, with these devices failing to comply with the EMC Directive's "essential requirements", they fall over and lock up in the presence of powerful radio fields. A fully licensed radio amateur can legally transmit up to 400W - maybe more in the future if the UK's rules are harmonised. If your precious PLT devices fall over due to a lack of RF immunity, there is sod-all you can do about it, you have no grounds for complaint and no-one to complain to!!
Re: Apples and Oranges
Dogged old chap, you can promise us all you like, but just because in your case you can't detect any interference from PLT does not mean that there is no interference in a great many other places and instances.
Every test result from accredited test laboratories had produced evidence of massive failures in compliance with EMC limits such as EN55022B, failures by as much as 40dB. That translates into 100 times the range of interference that is deemed acceptable, i.e. only interfering over 10m or so, but now apparently it's acceptable to do so over 1km.
The whole premise of power line networking is in error, mains wiring is not sufficiently balanced to suppress radiation when energised in the manner that PLT devices do it. Why do you think that real networking uses cables with 60dB balance between the internal twisted pairs? They don't do it for any reason other than it being essential for reliability and security.
I do wish that you would have a look at the documented evidence of the problem rather than saying that people with decades of experience of working in the EMC industry (and not just on the gamekeeper side either) are wrong.
Re: Apples and Oranges - not like X10 at all
It's not like X10 in any way that matters.
X10 is low bandwidth stuff over the mains and works in a relatively low power relatively controlled manner which makes it relatively easy for it to coexist comfortably with other RF users in the area.
The stuff being talked about here is neither low bandwidth nor low power, and it is in practical terms impossible for it to coexist comfortably with other legitimate RF users in the area.
@A.C. -- Re: Apples and Oranges
"The product described here uses the person's in house power wires to transmit data, and (similar to X10) is not likely to extend much beyond their power panel, thus not a great concern to Radio Amateurs."
"is not likely to extend much beyond their power panel" <== Not so!
Let's leave amateurs out of the equation for a moment as it can be argued that there's not many of them and they're only engaging in a hobby* anyway. However, there's a more general and significant argument which goes like this: one person or so using HomePlug-type equipment at home won't cause any noticeable interference, (this is essentially true and would cause very little concern), however, when many thousands do so it becomes a substantial problem. Even if these users are widely separated so that clusters of interference won't occur locally, it does cause interference on a global scale by raising the noise floor across large areas of the radio spectrum (it's a bit like the plastics/plastic bags accumulating in the ocean issue).
Increasing the noise floor across the RF spectrum has serious implications for all sorts of services--not just amateurs. These services are very important services such as emergency communications, government services and the military just to mention a few. Because of the nature of these services, the method of regulation, local rules covering what employees can say, ITU implications etc. it's often very difficult for individuals involved in these organisations to speak out, so it turns out that the amateurs are usually the only ones left to do the shouting for everyone else. (When you think of it, things really suck bigtime in government when officials who should be doing the shouting can no longer speak out with impunity over such issues.)
Nevertheless, it's of such concern to some organisations that they've had to speak out. NATO is very concerned about the increasing noise floor across the spectrum and the organisation says so in this document:
RTO TECHNICAL REPORT R-IST-050 HF Interference, Procedures and Tools (Interférences HF, procédures et outils) Final Report of NATO RTO Information Systems Technology (IST)
Noise floor references: Exec Summary; 2-7, para 2; 2-8, para1; 2-10, para 3; Specific BPL/PLC references: 2-14; 2-16 & 2.17, 4-5, 5.2, Annex B.
The fact is that all forms of BPL/PLC/PLT/HomePlug are and remain a threat to communications services and ultimately should be eliminated/banned.
* This comment is a little disingenuous, amateur radio operators no longer have the high profile they once did but they're one for the few groups in society who actively work with communications electronics as a hobby. They provide useful communications in an emergency and are a good source of fodder for communications and other technical industries.
Moreover, because of the nature of their hobby, amateurs have an extensive--almost innate--understanding of the radio spectrum, radio propagation and interference as their communications signals usually are only a few decibels above the background noise. In fact, I've seen cases where radio amateurs have had more knowledge about the subject of RF interference than the professional engineers who were investigating it.
As electronic circuits and designs continue to become more proprietary and secret and are locked away in corporations (something that was very foreign only a few years ago), across the community, the radio amateurs are probably the last bastion of general electronics knowledge that's still unencumbered and freely available.
@motoh - - Re: Apples and Oranges. Uh??
"...are different creatures entirely"
The definition would have made them identical when I was learning engineering. Have the laws of physics changed or something?
@dogged - - Re: Apples and Oranges
"you'll see is anecdotal bollocks about Powerline networking"
This is the Goebbels line -- spin enough bullshit and people will believe you (but unlike Goebbels you're an amateur, as you haven't fooled anyone).
The fact is you're either provocatively buying an argument or totally clueless, I strongly suspect the latter!
BPL/PLC/PLT HomePlug etc. is an abomination of a 'technology' in every respect. In fact, it's concept is flawed in so many ways that I contend that it's not even a technology, hence the quotes.
I'm not going to bother to list the diabolical issues that surround BPL/etc., as they've been well canvassed many times here at El Reg and elsewhere. Clearly, you're the type who can't think for yourself outside matters of self-interest, so you need a good authoritative reference to put you straight: I refer to the NATO document "RTO TECHNICAL REPORT, TR-IST-050, HF Interference, Procedures and Tools", the links of which are in another of my posts to this forum. Methinks however, your mind will be too closed to read it.
As I've pointed out elsewhere, this is an issue for everyone in communications. Amateurs are the most vocal for reasons that I've also enunciated--which incidentally, shouldn't be the case--but they're far from the only ones worried and complaining about he matter. When we've the likes of NATO, BBC, international broadcasters, radio astronomers and many other communications users worried and complaining then it's bloody clear there's something very wrong with this crap.
In future, get the real facts first. That way you'll avoid making an arse of yourself in public.
Re: Apples and Oranges
Utter crap! I have serious noise issues and can't hear even most local stations. I have everything engineered to the last filter. I have a rather good station, but cannot hear over the noise. BTW my station is independent of the mains, and I have positively identified the noise source as PLT from 3 neighbours who have disconnected them for me and the noise has gone when they do.
I am also in the progress of pulling together the resources to video that conclusively prove that they are RF devices radiating over the spectrum, and that they also have inadequate security allowing others to know what data you are sending about the house/street/town - lets just say, I'd never suggest you could or should use them for banking, Wi-Fi is more secure. Furthermore you should know that during a lift it's quite possible to see PLT signals going a lot further than the other side of town - half way around the planet, further increasing the chance of someone scraping your banking details by a money poor and time rich highly intelligent and motivated hacker.
I don't recommend them on many levels and you shouldn't either.
With regard to you microwave - microwaves haven't really given HF spectrum noise for decades. Noise around 2.4GHz maybe, but not much below 1GHZ.
I don't complain
about all these radio hams messing up my HP networked systems, so why should they complain the opposite.
I wish they would stop irradiating me with all those radio waves.
You want to hear about crap?
"My homeplug doesn't radiate on my house's wiring, therefore they must all be OK" (dogged @ 13:58)
"I don't complain about all these radio hams messing up my HP networked systems, so why should they complain the opposite."
Because their licensed kit generally conforms to the necessary regulations and is required to coexist with other stuff in a realistic environment. If it doesn't, it gets shut down, banned, or worse. If only the same could be said for the PLT kit.
Do radio hams still exist? I started off with CB in the early 80s, moving up to a UK Novice license in the early nineties using a friends equipment, RTTY on a Dragon 32, and finally before getting my own full license, it came to an abrupt end. The internet happened and everyone I knew simply moved their activities onto that, forums and IM. For well over a decade I haven't seen a tell-tale radio mast overshadowing a house, so I assumed it'd probably gone the way of the dinosaur.
Not that I didn't have fun mind. Most of my class at primary school had a CB and a Thunderpole in the back garden. It was our social network. I lived in a rural village, houses and farms spread out, and CB was the backbone of the community. That and "The Grapes" pub and it's front lawn that had a 2nd function as the local community green where all fetes were held.
Pirate for obvious reasons
Re: Hamateur radio?
Come now... A simple search on yon Internet will show things are still nicely active. At least with those that would like to be able to communicate long distances without touching the Internet, in case for example of natural disaster. In the States it's called ARES, amateur radio emergency system. Granted, HF can be more like chatroulette, but some like that for the surprise.
So yes, the advantages of the internet are information density, and consistent contact.
Re: Hamateur radio?
Had a jovial argument with my sister recently. Qualifications? Corporal in Royal Signals. For a laugh, we e-mailed each other in morse. (That's a dichotomy in itself!). First, try to type ..././.-../.-../---/ without typing the actual letter...
The argument was that I keep my Morse skills OK, but she said that, with the Bowman battlefield communication system, they don't need it. They do have an intermediate system, whose name I forget (SIGINT??) using one-time pads, I think..I may well need correction here.
Her argument was Bowman is far more secure. I was going to wobble on about R-GSM, but I wondered how useful that Bowman would be with a bullet in it.
The more I waited for her reply, the more it didn't come.
Point. Morse, and other forms (Semaphore - I learnt it from a Girl Guide, even though I was in the Boy Scouts...) are simply lifesavers in time of an emergency.
International distress sign if you're in trouble on the sea - hold your arms up in a Y shape (don't flap 'em about, can be taken as a cheery wave)
Knowledge of this kind of rubbish may save your life. More importantly, your families' lives. My kids know it.
YouView vs Windows Media Centre + TunerfreeMCE
A common front end user interface for ALL UK TV catch up services...... 1......... 1
The ability to do the above since 2008...................................................... 0......... 1
The ability to take your chances with WiFi connection............................. 0......... 1
Not have viewing habits data-mined for behavioural advertising............. 0......... 1
Choice of Freeview HD or Freesat HD for primary broadcast content..... 0......... 1
Freeview and Freesat carry on working if broadband is down................... ?......... 1
The ability to access US IPTV services over VPN................................... 0........ 1
The ability to purchase VOD content....................................................... 1......... 0
Ease of use for the technically challenged............................................... 1......... 0
So in short, I've already been enjoying the majority benefits of the YouView service for 4+ years thanks to a mini-PC under the telly. The question now is price. If YV STP's stick to the rumoured £300 ballpark, the challenge is to build a legit Win7 PC to go under the telly for a similar cost and I'm quietly confident that is achieveable. Sure I'll lose out of the premium subscription content, but I'm a freetard and wouldn't be buying any anyway. If I did fancy a Lovefilm or Netflix subscription, my TV has support for both integrated anyway.
The only thing I can see YV succeeding on is if they carry BT's new Premier League channel and it isn't wholesaled to other platforms - a killer app. But that's about it. How's the YV business model work anyway? Ok, there'll be a comission on any PayTV content, but the take up on the pay-for-extras remains to be proven, as BT already found out to their cost having first launched BT Vision as a subscription-free service, hoping that people would buy some premium VOD. Presumably they didn't given BT Vision changed to a monthly subscription model. A one off STB purchase isn't going to perpetually fund the infrastructure behind the service, so I have a running theory that YV will attempt to inject personalised advertising into your otherwise free and unfettered UK TV catchup viewing for a recurring profit, and charge the user £300 for the priviledge! No thanks!
Re: YouView vs Windows Media Centre + TunerfreeMCE
I built an Atom powered HTPC running W7 earlier this year for just under £300 including WiFi, TV tuner and remote control. So if the YouView boxes are £300 you can definitely build a more functional PC for the same price.
Re: YouView vs Windows Media Centre + TunerfreeMCE
Whilst I appreciate the effort that has gone into TFMCE it only really works for BBC content that can be streamed using wmv. I can't remember a time I've ever got it to successfully play a flash stream there's always a box you have to click on or a tick that needs placing in a box before it will open up full screen. I always end up grabbing the mouse and loading up a web browser. The other problem is that it never seems to be up to date.
Re: YouView vs Windows Media Centre + TunerfreeMCE
Those who want to build a small form factor PC, configure the software and have it under their television are always going to be a 'special interest minority'. So your PC is completely the wrong comparison.
The masses want something a low-hassle, off-the-shelf device. Its competitors are Smart TVs (walled gardens at the mercy of whoever made the device), game consoles, BT Vision, whatever Sky bring to the market, etc.
As for it's business plans, remember it's not a single monolithic identity. Youview LTD is not-for-profit so just needs to turn over enough to keep developing the spec and running the root servers. The expensive bandwidth-hungry-content-spewing-media-servers will be run by the respective content providers; so the iplayer servers will be funded by the licence fee, ITVplayer/4oD/Demand5 will be funded using the same adverts as they use to fund their websites, BT will be looking at some subscription system, etc.
Don't view it as a particular product from a particular company at a particular time. It's more of an attempt to create an ecosystem that can develop and grow. Only time will tell if it success or fail, but if it is the former, expect 'Youview Compatible' to slowly become ubiquitous in all TVs, Freeview and Freesat boxes.
"they are amateurs with some very dangerous opinions about what causes RF signal modulation and usually no training in proper testing and frequency analysis."
Never met a radio ham personally, but I think the average ham has a electronics degree, a room full of books, many years of experience and some serious intellectual horsepower, besides the ham certification. And if there was no issue with PLT, why would they raise it ?
Re: @dogged- HAMs
yo have never meta radio ham personally so you cannot comment on what your saying , if it was not for radio hams the mobile phone, tv satallite coms all this stuff would never have benn invented .
radiohams know a lot more about rf that you do . plus these guys have been ising radio without causing interference for a very long time and thye do know how to fix it , plts do not conform to the standards and devices severaltimes now suppied by bt have had to be removed form the market and changed deu to the problems they cause.
I f you get an ofcom visit because of your plt device causing rf spectrum abuse you can get fined and sent to prison , as there are other services using these bands as well ie cosatgaurd/police around 150mhz, airtraffic 118mhz to 130mhz all deivces could and can cuase problems there as well , you also have the miltary freq on hf whch means you may get yourself in alot of trouble.
Who knows what a "leaky feeder" is?
Do readers (including dogged) know what a leaky feeder is?
Take a bit of shielded coax cable. Coax is normally well screened (both ways); it neither lets much unwanted signal in, nor lets out much of the signal inside.
Strategically wreck the coax screening a bit and you've got a "leaky feeder". You can inject a signal at one and it will leak out to some extent depending on the damage (and external signals will leak in). This has valid uses, e.g. it allows broadcast of radio in tunnels etc; an RF transmitter is connected to a leaky feeder along the tunnel and enough signal leaks out for radios to work, all the way along the tunnel.
Now think about the same basic setup except with mains cable rather than leaky feeder. The PLT device is the RF transmitter, and its equivalent of coax with holes is unscreened unbalanced domestic mains cable.
How can it NOT splatter RF everywhere in the general case? There may be a few idealised special cases where the RF doesn't radiate as much as it might in real usage, and a few historic ones (lead covered mains cable?) but the general concept of HomePlug is defective by design, if you happen to believe that clean RF spectrum is a resource worth preserving (eg so VDSL has a chance of working).
Re: Who knows what a "leaky feeder" is?
Actually the hope is that typical cabling is more or less like twisted pair, and therefore shouldn't radiate to much. Again that highly depends on the quality of your cabling.
Re: Who knows what a "leaky feeder" is?
"typical cabling is more or less like twisted pair, and therefore shouldn't radiate to much. Again that highly depends on the quality of your cabling."
Really? There are people who genuinely believe that rubbish (with or without the caveat about quality of cabling)?
Anyone who seriously wants to believe that mains wiring (and connected kit) has any worthwhile resemblance to balanced twisted pair (with properly terminated connections), in terms of RF emissions behaviour, is either mad or financially benefiting from a PLT company. Possibly both.
There is plenty of independent experimental evidence to discredit the idea that mains cable == twisted pair at these frequencies.
In fact it's hard enough getting cheapo voice-grade phone cables to behave properly like twisted pair at the kind of frequencies in question here (the kind of frequencies, and maybe cables, which "superfast broadband" relies on being clean and low noise).
If you can find any plausible evidence that supports the theory that a few metres of (eg) 30Amp twin+earth mains cable in any way resembles balanced twisted pair at 0->30MHz rather than 60Hz (or 50Hz), I'd be very interested.
Re: Who knows what a "leaky feeder" is?
I wonder how many folks have been surprised that their iphone/fondleslab/Nokia-piece-of-history/whatever works fine in a metal Faraday Shield?
We call them 'Lifts' nowadays. (I'd say 'Elevator' rather than the British version, but given the date...didn't think I'd get a sober response)
Leaky feeders to the rescue! Actually you don't need to carefully 'damage' the co-ax for it to be 'leaky'.
Simply outsource the cable manufacturing. Job done!
Downvoting day, it seems.
I think it'd be nice for El Reg. to have an icon for a 'downvote' that displays a left-handed-website mouse.
Press that to downvote....Make My Day!
O£COM survey on PLT:
go to amaozon spend 30 quid on an ethernet to wifi i use that for sky pbox plt does cause nise problems as the devices are not always notch proerly and the trun the wiring of the house into a big antenna.
As a ahm and it eng i can say plts if causing interference have to be investigated now by ofcom/bbc but the wifif equivalent is jsut as good here is the entgear one on amazon (and you can plug a switch in if you ahve multiple devices to be fed off that one wifi
There are still radio hams?
Have to say I'm kind of in agreement. I don't know anyone that's a ham radio user or would admit to it.
I don't know any dodos or sabre tooth tigers either. I guess they all died out.
I do know many many folks that need to push their data round their houses so I guess they win over these mythical Hams.
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