Active line impedance stabiliser improves power line communication

Schaffner has introduced the world’s first Active Line Impedance Stabiliser (ALIS). The ALIS is designed to improve the SNR for power line communication between the public power grid and smart meters. It introduces an impedance ‘barrier’ between the smart meter and the household with no effect on the smart meter’s communication.

The new device delivers advantages to every part of smart meter rollout. Key features for systems developers incorporate no losses at main frequency, no reactive power losses, no galvanic connection in power line, no contact reliability risk, which ensures safe usage and fail-proof operation shielding the system, and very low extra energy costs giving cost saving compared to passive solutions. The device is small and lightweight compared to passive solutions, can be DIN-Rail mounted and is safe for service engineers to work on.

Programme managers and buyers will welcome the decreases in meter reading costs, increased KPI with 24hr availability, and increased meter availability with 15-minute snapshots of consumption sent once per 24 hours to network planners giving information of how the network is functioning. Comprehensive support from the company and flexible supply with audits and product tracing are offered.

Holger Urban, head of product management at Schaffner, comments, “The new Schaffner ALIS is set to become electricity companies first choice to clean the G3-PLC networks after smart meter roll-out and is ideal for troubleshooting in PLC networks. In the event of communication being influenced by load side machines with low impedances, for example, solar inverters or lifts, the Schaffner Line Impedance Stabilizer can help to re-establish communication. The ALIS can optionally also help in noisy situations caused by defective or not EMC compliant products connected on the load side.”

The product is generally employed by grid operators to better PLC after a smart meter roll-out. If the smart meter cannot be reached, and the reason is low impedance problem on the customer side, the device is an ideal choice. It will introduce up to several tens of Ohm of impedance in the frequency range, enhancing the signal-to-noise-ratio for more reliable power line communication. It supports G3, as well as other CENELEC A band standards.