Powerline carrier

Powerline carrier – PowerLink IP

PowerLink IP – the PLC solution for digital transmission grids

Powerline carrier PLC systems utilize the high-voltage line(s) between transformer substations as a cost-effective communication path for data, teleprotection, and voice. Siemens power line carrier technology has been applied over decades, ensures extremely high standards of transmission reliability in network protection (such as protection signals), safeguards the transmission quality, and can easily be integrated into a wide range of communication networks. PowerLink IP has been designed for the Ethernet / IP environments of the new digital high-voltage substations and makes PLC systems today more attractive and efficient than ever before.

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Powerline Carrier PowerLink IP

Features & functions

The new PowerLink IP system has a pure packet-based architecture that is optimized to fulfill the communication requirements of modern substation devices. The integrated SWT 3000 teleprotection system provides binary I/O and Goose (IEC 61850) interfaces.

Expanded and efficient bandwidth utilization

HV powerline carrier systems typically operate in the frequency range up to 500 kHz. Classic HV PLC systems make use of bandwidth of up to 32 kHz per system, providing a maximum data rate of up to 320 kbps. In contrast to classic PLC systems, PowerLink IP utilizes a frequency band of up to 256 kHz, allowing a maximum data rate of up to 2 Mbps per transmission direction. In addition to the expanded frequency band, the efficient bandwidth utilization and simple frequency management are part of the core functionality of the PowerLink IP system.

Notched frequencies
Parts of the frequency band can be blocked (notched) within the channel band of a PowerLink IP system. This feature allows higher data rates because the PowerLink IP frequency band can be extended beyond blocked (e.g. radio) frequencies.

Channel spreading
In case a part of the PowerLink IP frequency band is disturbed, additional frequency bandwidth can be requested from other PowerLink IP systems, if available. This feature ensures the maximum data throughput for all PowerLink IP systems in case of external disturbances.

Asymmetrical communication option
The dataflow of digital substations is often asymmetric (upstream > downstream). The data upstream and downstream channels of PowerLink IP can be adjusted to these different bandwidths This option allows the adaptation of the data throughput to the special requirements of modern grid applications.

Smooth migration

PowerLink IP – the perfect solution for the smooth migration of classic to digital substations
In many cases, transmission utilities do not intend to replace all legacy devices in an HV substation at one go with state-of-the-art, Ethernet-based equipment. Instead, they prefer a smooth, phased migration of the affected devices. PowerLink IP offers two general options to support these requirements.

Integration of legacy devices via gateway/router
If PowerLink IP is the only PLC system in the substation, the connection of legacy devices like analog phone, IEC 60870-5-104 RTU, etc. takes place via a small gateway/router system, which converts interfaces like analog voice, V.24, X.21, E1, etc. into  Ethernet/IP protocol. All new substation devices with IP/Ethernet interfaces can be connected directly to PowerLink IP.

Co-existence of classic PLC and PowerLink IP
Furthermore, classic PLC systems can be used in parallel to a new PowerLink IP system on the same powerline. In most cases, the new PowerLink IP system can also be connected to the existing coupling capacitor, line trap, and coupling unit. The classic narrow-band PLC provides the communication link for the remaining legacy devices, while the new IP/Ethernet-based devices will be connected to PowerLink IP. PowerLink IP, and existing classic PLC systems will utilize different frequency bands, thus allowing undisturbed, parallel operation of all devices operated on an HV line.


Easy-to-operate – the PowerLink IP management system
Intuitive and easy-to-operate, PowerLink IP uses commercial web browsers for the system administration. Thus, no additional software installation is required for administration or operation. The administration of a remote PowerLink IP system can be easily performed from the local operator console or via the corporate LAN network. The state-of-the-art encryption technology for IP packet-based transmission is complemented with access restrictions to the device´s web-based administration portal by user log-in and password. This safeguards the PowerLink IP communication applications. This user interface is designed for desktop and mobile devices and is also suitable for touchscreen operation of the type available on modern equipment such as tablet PCs.

PowerLink IP – the cost-effective communication solution

Although the main transmission lines are usually equipped with fiber optic cables, there are many HV substations where the installation of fiber is not cost effective. PowerLink IP provides the requested bandwidth to replace or supplement alternative communication solutions (e.g. radio).

PowerLink IP – the backup communication solution

In this solution, the primary communication path is provided by Ethernet over SDH (synchronous digital hierarchy) or MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) systems.
PowerLink IP acts as a reliable back-up path for the most important grid applications.
This effective combination of fiber optic communication technology with broadband PowerLink IP provides the highest reliability for transmission needs of critical HV links.

Functions / Features

  • Bandwidth selectable from 8 to 256 kHz
  • Transmission rate up to 2 Mbps
  • Advanced frequency management
    - Non-contiguous frequency bands (notching)
    - Asymmetrical data streams
    - Dynamic transmission rate adaptation (channel spreading)
  • Integrated spectrum analyzer
  • Integrated teleprotection system
  • Packet-based architecture
  • Web-based user interface

The strengths of PowerLink IP – your benefits:

  • Highly efficient utilization of scarce bandwidth resources
  • Smart frequency management
  • Simplified network planning, system commissioning and operation
  • High availability and reliability
  • Optimized for packet-based architecture of modern HV substations
  • Seamless integration into existing PLC infrastructure
  • Cost-efficient consolidation of traditional PLCs
  • Alternative communication channel for video, high-quality service telephony, or even data exchange
  • Transition to packet-based substation at own pace through flexible migration scenarios (integration of legacy devices)
  • Be prepared for future software applications and utilize the trendsetter in modern PLC technology – now and into the future

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