Renesas Electronics’ PLC enables voice communication over power lines

Voice and data communications are integrated over a building’s power distribution network using the Renesas power line communication (PLC) software, and RX651 microcontroller. Renesas Electronics claims that the voice over PLC system reduces wiring costs.

The voice-over-PLC solution enables both data communication and voice communication capabilities over existing power networks, says Renesas. It reduces the amount of internal wiring required in buildings, enabling reduced implementation and maintenance costs for public address (PA) systems and security systems.

It combines Renesas’ PLC software modem (R9A06G037), which manages the power line communications, and the RX651 microcontroller, which controls the audio codec processing. The combination enables system manufacturers to enhance security systems by incorporating voice capabilities to an existing installation at low cost. For a new installation that includes various sensors as well as voice communication, wiring costs can be reduced by approximately 60 per cent while installation and maintenance costs can be reduced up to 40 per cent, reports Renesas.

Facilities such as office buildings have a variety of management systems installed including climate control systems, lighting, sensors of various types, building PA systems, and security systems. In the past, each of these systems would have required dedicated wiring. Now, the industry is moving towards using existing direct current (DC) power lines in configurations where these communication lines are shared with the power system.

Previous attempts to use power lines for voice communication have led to poor audio quality, due to fluctuations in the delay time, explains Renesas. To resolve this issue, the new voice-over-PLC solution uses priority control during audio transmission to virtually eliminate delay fluctuations in voice communication, even in cases where signal control communication and voice communication operate over the same power lines. This ensures stable audio quality at all times, says Renesas. There is also the combination of the audio priority control feature with Renesas’ low-bandwidth PLC technology, optimised to allow the use of signal lines exceeding one kilometer in length without using repeaters.

The solution is scheduled to be available from October 2017.


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