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One of the technologies must be used to keep the electric power distribution system transformers from preventing the modular signal from going beyond them. Additionally, power lines have limited ability to carry high frequencies. One technology is called E-Line. It allows the conductor to function as a waveguide, allowing radio frequency signals and full duplex communications at transmission rates of many Gbps. However, without this technology or a similar one, transmission rates are limited to only a few hundred bps.
The circuits can be many miles long. However, for a LAN, shorter transmission lines allow operation at Mbps. This is sufficient for a single floor of an office building or a home and eliminates the need for dedicated cabling for data transmission.
Consumers may purchase powerline adapter sets to establish a wired connection using existing home wiring to set up their own LAN. Using an Ethernet port on their computer, many home entertainment devices may be connected using existing home wiring. These devices may include TVs, game consoles, Blu-ray players, and Internet video boxes. One adapter accesses an electrical outlet near the computer, while a second (and a third, fourth, etc.) accesses an electrical outlet near the TV, game console, or other device. A standard has been established for home adapter products by the HomePlug Powerline Alliance.
BPL, also known as power-line Internet, allows PLC technology for Internet access through ordinary electric transmission lines. This is often used in remote locations with little or no Internet access by cable or PDSL connections. Problems include lack of standards and dealing with the noisy environment of powerlines, which can result in pops or clicks in the line when devices are turned on or off.
As of early 2010, two different sets of standards apply to powerline networking. HomePlug AV and IEEE 1901 have been set up for homes. Another standard for smart grids and the use of BPL for data and telemetry is being used by power providers for internal and external communications. In North America, the IEEE standard group is supervising these standardization activities.